Love, Death + Robots is a worthy successor to Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, which is coming back for a third season run, promising the start of something new and exciting, albeit ominous, with an impressive directorial line-up.
Created by Tim Miller, the programme has two seasons to its name, which abounds in blood, violence, gore and sexual undertones set against an outlandish, dystopian premise.
From robot invasions and alien apocalypses to other insane cataclysmic and often sinister events, the episodes are rife with socio-political commentaries with wide-ranging themes, including feminism, capitalism, revenge, poverty, friendship, and love.
The ten upcoming animated segments will each be directed by a separate director, including the acclaimed filmmakers David Fincher and Alberto Mieglo, Emily Dean, Jerome Chen, Carlos Stevens, Patrick Osborne, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Emily Dean, Andy Lyon and Robert Bisi.
With 26 episodes, the show has become a favourite among cyberpunk aficionados. Here are the ten best episodes of Love, Death + Robots:
Ranking 10 best ‘Love, Death + Robots’ episodes
10. ‘Good Hunting’
Set in the steampunk world, the episode is brutal, vivid and haunting. One can only hope for this episode to be developed into a film or a show. A mixture of traditional Chinese tales and steampunk elements, the story involves machines and robots while revolving around a spirit hunter’s son and his relationship with Huli jing.
9. ‘The Secret War’
Well-animated and intense, this explosive shot is scary and enjoyable. The episode sees the Red Army and their elite soldiers battle an ungodly evil within the cold forests of the Siberia tundra amidst gory violence and a fascinating plot.
8. ‘Helping Hand’
With CGI that seems almost real, the animated segment is perhaps one of the goriest episodes in the series. An astronaut is stranded in space after a routine job on a satellite takes a disastrous turn, and she has only a few minutes of Oxygen to last her while she gets back to the ship.
Grim and gloomy, the story is a bit haunting, especially when someone asks her if she needs a hand, moments after she loses one of her hands for survival.
7. ‘Snow in the Desert’
One of the best-animated episodes in terms of high-quality CGI, ‘Snow in the Desert’ seems to cement the legacy of the series in terms of top-notch animation.
It revolves around a bounty hunter who is being hunted by the elusive Snow. He comes across a talented woman assassin who turns out to be a humanoid and fights for him, breaking into his heart through the impregnable barriers.
6. ‘Three Robots’
Three robots tour the ruins of human civilisation while talking among themselves about humankind. Oddly satisfying and funny, the tinge of dark comedy makes the episode one of the best of the lot. With voice-overs from Josh Brener and Gary Anthony Williams and an actual computer-generated voice, the episode is set in a dystopian future after the fall of humanity and is politically charged.
Expect to be surprised by a cheeky appearance from a cat towards the very end.
5. ‘The Witness’
As a sex worker is getting ready to go to work, she sees a man allegedly committing a murder; it turns out that the man who is holding the gun is looking at the woman he has killed. As the woman runs through the surreal and futuristic (and surprisingly empty) streets of Hong Kong, being pursued by the killer, she finds herself in a continuum that ends with a pretty surprising ending.
The episode is particularly tantalising due to the chaotic mingling of culture and dystopian elements.
4. ‘Sonnie’s Edge’
Set in a dystopian cyberpunk future, a young woman, battered and scarred by violent sexual and emotional abuse, takes part in gruesome fight-to-death sequences with engineered beasts to entertain rich and sadistic people.
She is seduced by the mistress of a man who bets on her before getting betrayed. However, the gory, twisted ending makes the 17-minute animated short one of its kind.
3. ‘Pop Squad’
The best episode of volume two, ‘Pop Squad’ has a dystopian premise where people can be immortal as long as they don’t have children. One such child hunter is shown to be merciless; however, a single encounter with a child leaves him shaken and makes him question the propaganda they are made to follow.
Touching on some of the darkest themes and incorporating scenes of child murder, the episode is a great commentary on the human ego and the strife for immortality. It also hinted at the one-child policy law implemented in China, which was used to curb the population and takes it one step further by eliminating children from an ideal world itself.
2. ‘Zima Blue’
Based on AlastaiReynolds’s’ short story, the episode is beautiful and profound. Extremely philosophical, the clever use of imagery and hues make it seem stylish and artistic. The idea of deconstructing the meaning of art and artist and their co-relation is achieved with utmost perfection.
This unique creation seems to be a way more evolved version of sci-fi art, presenting an allegory via the titular artist who wants to achieve the pleasure of making his ultimate artistic creation before bringing the episode to a satisfying yet unexpected ending.
1. ‘Beyond the Aquila Rift’
The most mind-boggling episode in the history of the show, the 15-minute animated segment feels like a feature-length film. With top-notch animation and an equally sinister and gripping story, the episode involves the use of illusion and other sci-fi elements like humanoids and space travel within the web of cosmic horror.
The episode revolves around the protagonist, who wakes up to discover themselves travelling in the wrong direction. Based on AlasReynolds’olds’ story, the short sees the lead protagonist engage in a relationship with a woman who later turns out to be a grotesque arachnid-like creature.