Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
This week the first trailer for Season 2 of Netflix’s award-winning adult animated science fiction anthology series Love, Death & Robots. And if this doesn’t get you excited, then you likely haven’t seen the first season of Tim Miller and David Fincher’s epic show with its mix of animation styles (each episode was animated by different crews in a range of countries) and decidedly mature storytelling. With lots of profanity, graphic violence, tonnes of nudity, and multiple sex scenes this is definitely a NSFW show.
As we gear up for the eight-episode second season on May 14 it’s the perfect time to look back on the 12 flavours of awesome sauce that was the first season. Now while all the 18 episodes are worth watching some are better than others and so it’s ranking time. With a SPOILER ALERT let’s get to it:
#18 When the Yogurt Took Over
Quirky story with quirky animation. Story could have used some flavouring, though, especially the ending.
#17 Lucky 13
Actress Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black, The Handmaid’s Tale) shines as a combat pilot but the plot never truly takes flight.
#16 Helping Hand
Space is scary and it will kill you. Actress Elly Condron carries this one well and that hand-ripping scene is always a tough watch. Glad she made it though.
#15 Ice Age
This is the sole episode to mix live action and animation. Topher Grace and Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a cute couple and the tiny world is imaginative and visually interesting. It’s a fun, whimsical story.
#14 Alternate Histories
Who doesn’t want to see Hitler get killed repeatedly in increasingly ridiculous ways? Show of hands? Wow. There’s actually a few hands. Anywho, this one is good for a few chuckles.
This one felt like a throwback to 80s action cartoons. Lots of adrenaline-pumping action, cool-looking characters and a surprisingly hopeful twist. Good time.
#12 The Dump
When a giant dump monster that becomes whatever it eats is adopted as a junkyard dog by an old man it is a wonderful mix of adorable and horrifying. And it was so satisfying seeing that uptight and condescending city inspector get chewed up.
Several of these episodes feel like mini-movies, and there are a few I wouldn’t mind seeing turned into full features or series. And I would love seeing more of these likable farmers in mech suits battling vicious aliens. And the twist that the farmers are the actual invaders and the story is set on an alien planet? That was a good twist.
This is another entry I need a full-movie version for. Scorned werewolf soldiers in the US Army fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan is just such a thrilling concept. And the werewolf-on-werewolf action here is a gore-filled extravaganza. The atmospheric music here is also very good. Whose leg do I have to hump to get more of this world? Asking for a friend.
#9 Fish Night
This is one weird story with some mind-blowing visuals. The fish ghost effects are stunning and mesmerising. And that sad and shocking end is one that sticks with you.
#8 Sucker of Souls
I had an absolutely blast with this action/horror/comedy. This one delivers on the big laughs, big scares, big gore, and big, explosive action. I hope mercenary Flynn and his crew escaped from Dracula’s minions because I want to see them go up against more classic monsters. Think of it like Scooby-Doo but with much more guns and f-bombs.
#7 The Witness
With its effulgent, frenetic animation and highly charged sexual content (hey crazy clown person and gimp girls!) this one feels like a drug-fueled sex dream. Or rather a nightmare. The plot of an exotic dancer running from a man she saw murder someone, and then realising she is stuck in some type of time loop where they see each other murder each other, is an interesting if not revolutionary spin on the Groundhog Day trope. You may not remember all the details of the story but the neon-drenched images here will sear themselves into your brain.
#6 Three Robots
While I had a couple laughs with When the Yogurt Took Over and a few more with Alternate Histories, Three Robots is easily the funniest episode of the season. The trio of Josh Brener (The Big Bang Theory), Gary Anthony Williams (Undercover Brother) and Chris Parnell (SNL) make comedy magic as foul-mouthed robots on a tour of a post-apocalyptic earth where humans are extinct. There is so just much clever, meta humour here and the ending with the cats is just inspired. And what a crazy idea. Cats becoming sentient. That’ll never happen. Umm, Mr Whiskers, why are you looking at me like that?
#5 Good Hunting
This one is as terrifically beautiful as it is terribly tragic. The story of Yan the shape-shifting fox-like Huli jing is just heartbreaking and the scene where her legs are cut off is one of the most difficult watch in a series with a lot of graphic content. Even though she gets her fox form back in the end through the “magic” of technology and can hunt once more it is still a bittersweet close to the story. And it is a story which shows in the end man is the true monster.
#4 Beyond the Aquila Rift
If there is one episode likely to haunt your nightmares, then it is Beyond the Aquila Rift. Even before the twist is revealed there is the feeling that something is off with this aborted space journey and Thom miraculously being reunited with his gorgeous old flame Greta. But ignorance truly is bliss and when Thom sees the horrifying truth it is enough to stop a heart cold. And the design of that arachnid-like alien? Oh my goodness! That is a factory full of nightmare fuel is what that is. Just stick with the sex-filled dream there partner.
#3 Zima Blue
This one is just a world of pure imagination. Here the story, though deep and thought-provoking, takes a back seat to some gripping animation and beautiful imagery. And it was a perfect way to end the first season.
#2 The Secret War
When Red Army soldiers battle demons in the Siberian forest you have one fantastic action horror spectacle. And though we don’t get to know them for long, you feel enough of the camaraderie to mourn the soldiers when they are torn and eventually blown away. Sleep well comrades. Sleep well.
#1 Sonnie’s Edge
If you want to give someone a feel for the first season of Love, Death & Robots then just let them watch the first episode, Sonnie’s Edge. You get everything here. Super cool and intriguing characters? Check. Awesome monster-on-monster action? Double check. Lots of cussing, sex, and one clincher of a twist? Check, check and triple check.
I absolutely adored this episode, it holds up well upon repeat viewings, and it is the world I most want to see more of. When it comes to Season 1 episodes of Love, Death & Robots this is this story that edges the rest out. You see what I did there, and you liked it!
So that’s my ranking. Which episode is your favourite? For more adult animated fare you can check out my review of Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1 by clicking here. Or for Senior Writer Sommer’s review of animated horror film To Your Last Death you can click here.
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. I can also be found posting about TV and movie memes, news and trailers on Facebook at Movieville. And to stay on top of all Redmangoreviews articles you can like and follow us on Facebook here.