The first season of LOVE, DEATH, AND ROBOTS (Netflix) wowed me with its anthology of stunning, action-packed, and titillating animated stories. Season 2 upped the production quality though at the expense of story, and I feared the show had become nothing more than a series of self-promo resume reels for its creators. Season 3 put all those fears to rest, delivering a really terrific series of animated shorts that fire on all cylinders. I loved it.
In “Three Robots: Exit Strategies” (written by John Scalzi), three robot tourists from the first season revisit Earth to learn about its apocalypse; this time, we learn it was climate change that killed everyone, and we see how different strata of society reacted to the end, with the have-nots fighting each other and the haves secluding themselves until they died out. Poignant, funny in a harsh “haha, we’re a really stupid species” kind of way.
In “Bad Traveling” (David Fincher’s animation debut), a massive shark-hunting sailing ship runs afoul of an intelligent sea monster, forcing the crew to make a decision about whether to save themselves or a nearby island full of people. Brutally satisfying.
In “Night of the Mini Dead,” we see a condensed zombie apocalypse from a bird’s eye view, looking down at tiny people and cities. Funny and quirky.
I intended to only describe the ones I really, really liked, but I’m now realizing that’s almost all of them. I was really impressed with the consistency of quality across the entire anthology this season. I’ll skip the others with a recommendation to just watch if it you have the chance, but I should talk about the finale, “Jibaro.” In this fantasy story, a squadron of warriors and priests pauses to rest by a lake in the wilderness, only to draw the attention of a local siren. The catch: Her charms don’t work on Jibaro, who is deaf. Thus beings a game of attraction and repulsion between the two, a tale of violence and greed. It’s simple with frenzied, exquisite action and visuals, and it’s quite beautiful and stirring to watch. Even if you discover this season of LOVE, DEATH, AND ROBOTS isn’t for you, I hope you’ll at least give this episode a crack.
Overall, I found this season brilliant, different, and giving me plenty of reasons to hope for a fourth season.
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