The current state of Science Fiction on “TV” is pretty… miserable. What a change from a decade ago when there was at least an attempt to make decent SciFi, if at times corny. So it is nice to see that Netflix manages to put out an anthology series that is not only entertaining and, mostly, well written but also shows us what Computer Graphics are capable of these days.
So let’s dig into Season 3 of “Love, Death and Robots”.
Episode 1: Three Robots Exit Strategies
This is probably the weakest of all the new episodes. We follow a bunch of Robots around as they commiserate over the way humanity met its end. It’s well animated and the robots are “likeable” but the writing is very much on the nose. This shouldn’t really surprise, it’s written by John Scalzi who…. You either like or not.
Episode 2: Bad Travelling
Now here is a high point of what the show can do and what good writers can deliver. Bad Travelling was written by Neal Asher and for all the graphic violence it is also an engaging story about the hard choices you sometimes have to make.
Episode 3: The very pulse of the Machine
This was not what I expected. I got some Heavy Metal vibes there, though it stays away from that craziness. The story is engaging though and the ending is not quite what I expected. It is based on a short story by Michael Swanwick, who I have to admit I do not know or have read anything of.
Episode 4: Night of the Mini Dead
This, is just fun. There is utter violence and chaos, but because of the way it was / is presented it is also incredibly funny. It is short, sweet and funny and was written by Jeff Fowler and Tim Miller specifically for the show.
Episode 5: Kill Team Kill
Watching this I initially thought it was probably written by Garth Ennis, though it is “too comical” to be really his writing and it wasn’t. It was written by Justin Coates who has written quite a bit of horror by the looks of it and it is a bit Rambo meets crazy science. Entertaining for sure.
Episode 6: Swarm
Another highlight, with extremely good animation and an interesting question: Are we really top-dog? The ending actually had me wanting more. I actually do want to know how it ends / continues. At this point I feel teased and really hope they continue the story.
It was written by Bruce Sterling and it shows in the themes and set-up. More please.
Episode 7: Mason’s Rats
Wallace and Grommit meets Adult Swim is probably the best way to describe it. A farmer has a rat problem and tries all kinds of technology to get rid of the pest. Until….
Funny, with a heart. The story was, like “Bad Travelling” written by Neal Asher, but totally different in tone.
Episode 8: In Vaulted Halls Entombed
A Lovecraftian story, with animations that have you wonder a lot of the time if it is actually CGI or real action. The ending is also true to Lovecraft. The whole episode was surprising in a few ways. It is based on a short story by Alan Baxter.
Episode 9: Jibaro
Jibaro, together with “Bad Travelling” is the highlight of this series for me. Both the story itself, the visuals and the overall presentation. Like with “In Vaulted Halls Entombed” the visuals really have you wonder if it is real or not.
Jibaro was written by Alberto Mielgo who also wrote “The Witness” in the first season. Both episodes are at the top end in regards to story and execution.
Season 3 of Love, Death and Robots is definitely worth a watch. There are no bad episodes in this season. My dislike for Scalzi’s writing has probably the most to do with me not really finding a lot of joy in the first episode. But otherwise this is a highlight in the SciFi desert we currently live in.
I do hope that Netflix gives it another series, but we’re talking Netflix here and I have my doubts.