TelevisionTalks: Love, Death, + Robots
Time to talk about the newest Netflix show, this time the anthology series, Love, Death, + Robots. It’s an interesting experiment in show making an anthology series, but not just an anthology series, but a completely animated one.
Let’s start out by talking about what an anthology series is, since the term might not be familiar to everyone. When you think of a television show, you generally think of something that has the same characters throughout the whole season or series, and possibly there will be a plot going through the whole season. An anthology series is just short stories with completely different characters, completely different plots and settings, and in this case, completely different animation styles. They do, however, tend to be around a similar subject matter, in this case, love, death, and robots.
So how does it work to watch a show?
I think that it’s an interesting idea for a series. There are some of the episodes that are extremely well done, there are some that are just okay, and there are some that a pretty poor. However, in all of them, the animation is very strong, even in the more basic animations, and they tend to match the animation style very well to the story for the episode. Some of the stories have hyper realistic animation, while others have a more stylized feel or a sillier feel. And that’s the case with the subject matter, some of the episodes are silly, some of them are just lighter feeling, while some others try and be extremely heavy.
For me, that’s the issue with some of the episodes. They try and act like they are deep and clever, and while they might have very good animation, they tend to actually be pretty flat and heavy handed story telling. Overall, I would say that the anthology suffers a fair amount from that, there are just enough scattered throughout that you feel like it’s trying to beat you over the head with an idea, that isn’t particularly well presented, in hopes that it will be considered smart. This is often a weakness in the short film/short episode format though, because you don’t get a chance to develop characters, and you’re trying to condense an idea into a short period of time. And that’s something that short films really lean into.
But with the storytelling, there are a number of the episodes where I want to see more of what is going on. There are some worlds that are created which are very interesting and you feel like there is a lot more to the world to be explored. This is a positive and a negative, because you know you aren’t likely to get more ever, but you definitely want to have more, and those stories feel the strongest. I guess the best way to describe it is that the those episodes felt like they had a living world around them versus just this one static slice of the world that was cut out to make the point they are going for.
I do want to add in a disclaimer that while this is an animated series, it is not a kids series. It’s not even the Simpsons, it’s much more adult than that, and there is a lot of sex, nudity, language, violence, and gore throughout the show. So be careful when you watch it and who you watch it with, because, it does use a pretty heavy hand on some heavy subjects.
So what do I think of the show?
It’s a hit or miss show for me. There are some worlds that I definitely want to explore more and stories that captured me, there are other parts that are too heavy handed. I can recommend it for appreciating the various animation styles as some of the animation is amazing, and all of it works with the stories being told. But there are a number of the stories that are just too much and feel a bit like a waste of time to watch, because you get the point they are beating you over the head with at the very beginning, and after that it’s just the stuff in the disclaimer.