Last week saw the release of Netflix's new TV show Love, Death & Robots. Amongst the huge variety of shows and movies on the streaming service, it can be easily overlooked. Especial with a title as generic as Love, Death & Robots. But do so and you'd be missing out on one of the best and most original new shows of the year. For Netflix's experimental sci-fi anthology show is entirely unique and definitely not one to be missed. Produced by Deadpool's Tim Miller and auteur director David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, Gone Girl) there's arguably something in it for all fans of sci-fi. Whether your thing is kaiju style monster fights ("Sonnie's Edge") or psychological space-horror ("Beyond The Aquilla Rift", "Helping Hand") or Pacific Rim style mech suit battles ("Suits") or even just all out gore ("The Secret War") Love, Death & Robots has something for you. But what about when it ends?
What do you turn to when the 18 episodes are up? Well, read on for some suggestions on what to watch if you like Love, Death & Robots.
10 Heavy Metal
Love, Death & Robots started out life as a sequel to the 1981 cult classic, Heavy Metal. If you haven't heard of it, Heavy Metal is a one of a kind science fiction fantasy film produced by Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman. Based on the magazine of the same name, the Heavy Metal movie adaptation included all of the graphic violence and gratuitous nudity that made the original magazine such a cult favourite. Like Love, Death & Robots, Heavy Metal is also an anthology film, meaning that it's made up of a lot of wildly different, genre-spanning short films. The film spans from subversive to steampunk and like Love, Death & Robots, different writers and animators worked on each segment, meaning they each have a different feel.
This comparison might not seem particularly obvious straight away. Futurama wasn't exactly known for its gratuitous sex, violence and nudity. But when thinking about shows that offer similarly self-contained stories to Love, Death & Robots, often addressing wildly different and often mind-bending science fiction concepts, Futurama was the first one to come to mind. The underrated show asked big sci-fi questions about things like the ethics of time travel ("The Late Phillip J Fry"). It realistically represented loss through a sci-fi lens ("Jurassic Bark"). It even had an episode questioning the existence of God ("Godfellas"). And anyone who's seen Love, Death & Robots' episode "When The Yogurt Took Over" can attest to how much it felt like a Futurama plotline. Or how the what if Hitler story "Alternate Histories" feels
8 Event Horizon
The 1997 space-horror Event Horizon is the very definition of a cult classic. Critically panned upon release (holding a miserable 27% on Rotten Tomatoes) Pauls W.S. Anderson's science fiction horror movie nevertheless found a fervent fan base after being released on home video. Its blend of horrific violence and religious imagery is certainly unique. And despite Anderson's reputation as a terrible director, Event Horizon still holds up today with its creepy set design, over the top performances and its still-horrible gore. If "Beyond the Aquilla Rift" was your favourite episode of Love, Death & Robots, with its space madness plotline and Lovecraftian horrors, then definitely check out Event Horizon.
7 David Fincher films
One of the biggest influences on Love, Death & Robots comes from its executive producer David Fincher. Fincher is perhaps best known for classic films like Se7en and Fight Club and, more recently, the controversy-prone House of Cards (also on Netflix). Fans of Fincher can see a lot of his usual themes in many of the Love, Death & Robots episodes; from the darkly lit, seedy sex club in "The Witness" to the general screwed up nature of many of the episode's worlds ("Sonnie's Edge"). His trademark narcissism can be seen throughout, even in the lightest and funniest shorts "When the Yogurt Took Over" and "Three Robots".
6 The Thing
On the face of it, John Carpenter's The Thing doesn't have too much in common with the stories in Love, Death & Robots. But the classic 1982 horror is tonally very similar with the very best of Netflix's anthology series. The constant threat of dread and the body horror can be seen throughout "Beyond the Aquilla Rift" (and did anyone else get vibes of Carpenter's Starman with the alien having the look of a past lover?). The score for a lot of the episodes is reminiscent of John Carpenter's own synth scores too. Executive producer Tim Miller isn't a stranger to movie references however, having directed the hugely referential Deadpool.
5 A Scanner Darkly
It's clear a lot of the writers and directors of the stories in Love, Death & Robots are huge fans of influential science fiction author Philip K. Dick. The whole series feels like one of his short story collections like We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (which was adapted twice into Total Recall). But the one Philip K. Dick story Love, Death & Robots is most reminiscent of is A Scanner Darkly, specifically the 2006 Richard Linklater movie adaption.
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Starring Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr, A Scanner Darkly feels like an extended episode of Love, Death & Robots; an adult-oriented, science fiction adaptation all gorgeously animated.
4 Cowboy Bebop
Apart from the NSFW promise of profanity, violence and nudity, the appeal of Love, Death & Robots is mainly within its distinct animation styles. Each instalment has a different style, each uniquely gorgeous. If this sort of science fiction animation is right up your alley then you owe it to yourself to check out the daddy of sci-fi animation; Shinichirō Watanabe's Cowboy Bebop. Even though the show follows the ongoing adventures of the crew of the spaceship Bebop, each episode is usually pretty standalone. It draws on everything from westerns to noir films to hardcore sci-fi stuff like space operas and cyberpunk. The music is fantastic too, as is the voice acting. But unlike with most anime, where you would naturally start with the original Japanese dub, with Cowboy Bebop you'll want to watch the English dub first.
3 The Alien series
A quick heads up before we get into it; 'The Alien series' of course only includes the first two films. Controversely, Alien Covenant is also going to be counted in the list of good Alien movies. All these films are a must watch if you liked the particular brand of science fiction horror that a ton of the Love, Death & Robots episodes offered. Episodes like "Sonnie's Edge", "Suits" and "Beyond The Aquilla Rift" owe a huge debt to the Alien franchise with their weird creature designs (although they are not a patch on H.R. Giger's creepy phallic monsters of the Alien series). The franchise is a must watch for science fiction fans and film fans anyway, but definitely check it out if you liked the creature-heavy episodes of Love, Death & Robots.
2 Electric Dreams
On the subject of Philip K. Dick, if you like the anthology series style of Love, Death & Robots then definitely check out the recent Channel 4 science fiction show Electric Dreams. Being directly based upon Dick's stories from almost 60 years ago, the show may not at first seem as revolutionary or unique as Love, Death & Robots but stick with it as it gets weirder and wilder as it goes on. Episode 2 ("The Impossible Planet") and the Bryan Cranston starring episode 6 ("Human Is") are the series' episodes best and closest to the trippy feel of Love, Death & Robots. It's hit or miss but as sci-fi anthologies are quite thin on the ground, it's worth a watch.
1 Black Mirror
Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror may not be the first science fiction anthology series of it's kind, but it's almost certainly the greatest. The trippy anthology series is similar to Love, Death & Robots in that each episode tells a different, trippy sci-fi tale. Starring big names like Jon Hamm, Hayley Atwell and Daniel Kaluuya and directed by a range of directors from Jodie Foster to John Hillcoat, each episode is a treat. Like Love, Death & Robots the series, of course, has its ups and downs. That's the very nature of an anthology series. But with themes ranging from political satires to war stories, from soul-crushing nihilism to heart-warming humanism, each episode offers something. It may not be animated like Love, Death & Robots but it will hook you all the same.