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Western Animation / Love, Death & Robots

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"These machines were otherworldly and alive. They felt akin to magic."
Liang, "Good Hunting"

Love, Death, and Robots is an animated sci-fi and fantasy Anthology series produced by Tim Miller and David Fincher for Netflix. The first season premiered on March 15, 2019. The second season was released on May 14, 2021, with a third season slated for release in 2022.

The episodes vary in animation style and tone and are usually between ten and twenty minutes long. Episodes tend to be about, well, love and/or death and/or robots, covering a variety of tales about humanity and technology. Most of them are adaptations of short stories from the likes of Peter F. Hamilton, John Scalzi, Alastair Reynolds, and Joe Lansdale. Be advised that many of the shorts are NSFW in content.

As all the episodes are self-contained and many rely on Twist Endings in the vein of predecessor anthology series like The Twilight Zone (1959) and Metal Hurlant Chronicles, beware of spoilers.


Please put episode-specific tropes on the recap page for the episode and keep general tropes on the main page.

Tropes found across the series:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The episodes range from a modern-day setting with a few pieces of technology more advanced than the present-day, to the deep future where intergalatic space travel and Cyberpunk is the norm.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: "Life Hutch" and "Automated Customer Service" entire premise is based on malfunctioning AIs that decide to go on a rampage as a result.
  • All There in the Script: A significant number of characters aren't named in the episode and are only listed in the end credits. Most of the time, they're very minor characters but sometimes important ones fall into this like Jennifer (the Femme Fatale from "Sonnie's Edge"), Eve (Melanie's mother in "Pop Squad"), Zakharov (the protagonist of "The Secret War"), Jeanette (the protagonist of "Automated Customer Service") or Laird (the protagonist of "The Tall Grass").
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  • Alternate History: Episodes set in the past or involving real-life events and people often delve into this. Such as "Alternate Histories" (obviously enough), along with "The Secret War", "Good Hunting", and "Shape-Shifters".
  • Animated Adaptation: With the exceptions of "The Witness" and "Blindspot", the episodes are all adaptations of short stories by various writers.
  • Animated Anthology: The episodes don't have any connections to each other.
  • Art Shift: The series runs the gamut of CGI both stylized and photorealistic, 2D animation and even live-action.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All but one non-comedic shorts end with those.
  • Black Comedy: Whenever the copious amounts of graphic violence and gratuitous sexuality aren't being played straight, they get humorously exaggerated instead. "Alternate Histories" is a prime example, where Adolf Hitler is killed in increasingly bizarre and improbable scenarios.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Subverted, if not outright defied consistently in all shorts with firearms present. Regardless of story, characters routinely end up reloading or running completely out of ammo.
  • Breather Episode: The episodes "Three Robots", "When the Yogurt Took Over", and "Ice Age" are completely devoid of the violence and sexuality found in most of the other episodes, and have more of a comedic vibe to them. "Alternate Histories" and "The Dump" aren't completely devoid of violence and sexuality, but it is totally humorous to the point of being a goofy Black Comedy that doesn't take itself seriously at all.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror:
    • The Soviet soldiers from "The Secret War" are just tired of fighting off the ghoul infestations
    • Similarly, farmers from "Suits" are with their alien neighbours.
    • Reaching this by Thom is the entire point of "Beyond the Aquila Rift".
  • Continuity Nod: The Ipswich Collectibles store from "Pop Squad" briefly appears in "The Drowned Giant".
  • Double Standard: Male nudity is predominately for squick (with only one short not trying to disgust viewers with the male body), while female nudity is predominately for fanservice. Even if a naked female might end up turned into disservice, the sheer amount of nudity for the sake of it outweights anything else.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Love, Death & Robots. There's love, there's death, and there's robots. Each short has at least one of those three.
  • Fan Disservice: There is no shortage of fan-servicey scenes, but many of them are subverted, and decidedly non-sexual.
  • Fanservice: The series doesn't proclaim itself NSFW for nothing. Almost every short has nudity in some form, though in some cases you may wish there weren't.
  • Fantastically Indifferent: Don't expect most characters to have any sort of surprised reaction towards the sudden appearance of supernatural things, be it vampires, demons, or a mini-civilization developing in their fridge.
  • Genre Roulette: Each short has varied genres and moods on which it focus. You basically can never know what you're dealing with it until you're already watching it.
    • "Sonnie's Edge" is a gritty, monster filled and action heavy Cyberpunk Rape and Revenge story.
    • "Three Robots" is a light hearted comedy where robots learn and comment about human habits.
    • "The Witness" is a trippy and surrealist thriller.
    • "Suits" is an action packed mix of country scenery and Mecha Anime.
    • "Sucker of Souls" ditches Sci-Fi elements in favor of a Dark Fantasy action-horror tinged episode about monster vampires.
    • "When The Yogurt Took Over" is a light hearted and odd Sci-Fi comedy.
    • "Beyond The Aquila Rift" is a strange thriller that turns into a Cosmic Horror Story.
    • "Good Hunting" is a Myazaki-esque Steampunk story of colonized China.
    • "The Dump" flips the switch often between Dark Comedy and horror elements.
    • "Shape-Shifters" is an action oriented, military story with werewolves and little to no comedy.
    • "Helping Hand" is a Life-or-Limb Decision, done by a space janitor as she's busy fixing a satellite.
    • "Fish Night" is a trippy animation about a Ghost Story and lots of dead fishes.
    • "Lucky 13" is a Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane story about the "unlucky" dropship, its new pilot and their bond.
    • "Zima Blue" is an In-Universe deconstruction of True Art Is Incomprehensible.
    • "Blind Spot" is a Heist Episode with cyborg thieves and a Traintop Battle.
    • "Ice Age" is a comedy featuring life actors and a nuclear war in their fridge.
    • "Alternate Histories" is about progressively more ridiculous alt-history predictions made by a phone app.
    • "The Secret War" is about brave Soviet soldiers defending motherland from ghouls summoned in Siberia.
  • Gorn: The series also doesn't shy away from showing violence to comedic and horrific degrees.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Out of 18 shorts from Volume 1, four have Taking You with Me moments (some of them more than once) and there are countless more situations where characters are aiming for a sacrifice, but luckily for them circumstances prevent it. For comparison, Volume 2 has just one instance of this.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: In many of the more realistic-looking shorts, the characters are modeled directly after their actors. For example, Cutter in "Lucky 13" is basically Samira Wiley as a Space Marine, and Greta of "Beyond the Aquila Rift" is Madeleine Knight with short hair.
  • Lighter and Softer: Volume 2 is significantly lighter than the first one. All the shorts end up with an upbeat note (and most of them even with a clear-cut happy ending), while there is just a single instance of a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: More than half of the shorts feature male frontal nudity, and all but one are for squick factor.
  • Military Science Fiction: Oh yes
    • "Lucky 13" deals with a rookie pilot, her dropship and their misadventures during a conflict on some distant planet.
    • "Shape-Shifters" is about military application of werewolves.
    • "The Secret War" is a borderline example due to trading straight "sci-fi" for "occult", as the creatures the soldier fight are explicitly summoned in a ritual.
    • Volume 2 adds a straight example with "Life Hutch", where a space pilot has to deal with being stranded and then trapped in a pod with a malfunctioning robot.
  • Murderous Malfunctioning Machine:
    • "Three Robots" hints on this premise, but ultimately subverts it beyond few visual jokes and references to Terminator.
    • "Automated Customer Service" is a comedic story of a vaccuming robot that goes territorial and starts hunting its owner and her dog.
    • "Life Hutch" is more serious take on the concept, with malfunctioning robot trying to kill everything present in a rescue pod.
  • Scenery Porn: Between photorealistic, to hyper-stylized, there’s no shortage of beautiful and well-animated scenery.
  • Science Fantasy: Every episode is either Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, or any mixture of the three (though most of the time it's Sci-Fi Horror).
  • Spiritual Sequel:
    • To Heavy Metal, of which it started off as a new installment.
    • To The Animatrix in being an animated anthology aimed at adults featuring various animation styles. Some shorts in particular mirror each other in a variety of ways: "The Witness" and "A Detective Story" are both high atmospheric, stylised city stories based on crime narratives, while "Good Hunting" and "The Second Renaissance" share a very similar artstyle, disturbing imagery and similar themes of oppression and revolt against the oppressors by mechanical entities.
  • Tamer and Chaster: The second volume has significantly less nudity and fanservice than the first one, a very brief sex scene in "Snow in the Desert" and a giant penis nonwithstanding.
  • Time Skip: Various shorts apply them for just as varied durations, ranging between few minutes to few years.
  • Thematic Series: For a show titled Love, Death & Robots, the theme is exactly that. Episodes tend to cover themes like human nature, our place in the cosmos, and our relationship with machines and technology. And then some are just trippy.
  • Twist Ending: Half of the shorts rely entirely on this trope. Some use it for drama, others for comedy.
  • Weird Historical War: This is done a few times with Alternate History episodes that are set during a real-life war.
  • Working-Class Hero: A recurring theme of various shorts, including Suits, Sucker of Souls, Beyond the Aquila Rift, Good Hunting, The Dump and Helping Hand, but being probably most prominent in The Secret War.


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