Netflix's ambitions to be all things to all people is becoming clearer as they invest in ever-more niche entertainment. Last year, as well as being home to some of the most talked about television, film and documentaries around, they pushed ahead of other streaming platforms with innovations like the interactive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, as well as the triple Oscar-winning black and white foreign film Roma.
Landing on Netflix is another example of their ability to lure big name directors with the promise of creative control: a collection of animated short stories executive produced by David Fincher and Deadpool director Tim Miller.
The 18 episodes vary in tone and genre: in the thrilling chase of 'The Witness' a woman flees through the streets of a surreal city after seeing a brutal murder while 'Sonnie’s Edge' finds a different kind of violence in the underground fights between monsters.
'Helping Hand' is breathless too, as an astronaut stranded in orbit faces the choice between life and limb before her oxygen runs out.
Instead of mixing the series up with 'happier' stories like Brooker did with episodes like 'San Junipero' in Black Mirror, Love, Death & Robots leans into the surreal for lighter relief. 'When The Yogurt Took Over' conceives of a world where a super-intelligent yoghurt mutation hungers for world domination, and in 'Ice Age' a couple find a lost civilisation inside their antique freezer.
A couple move into a new apartment and find a civilisation in their antique freezer
One episode called 'Alternate Histories' plays with the sci-fi convention of reimagining the past and posing 'What If' scenarios. In the episode, audiences can watch Hitler die in a variety of comical ways, a hint at the kind of controversy the show might court.
There's no neat thread that strings the collection together. Instead, it's rendered like a series of mad fever dreams that Netflix says are "intended to be easy to watch and hard to forget."
A woman escapes a brutal murder scene in 'The Witness'
Speaking of the genre material that inspired the project, Miller has said that it "combines my love of animation and amazing stories. Midnight movies, comics, books and magazines of fantastic fiction have inspired me for decades."
These bold and bright inspirations are clear in the tone and visual style of the series which is awash with futuristic neon blues and dingy reds that look like a warning light. The core themes of the stories are not exactly new - threats from an unknown enemy, life in a post-apocalypse city - but are twisted in a way that makes it feel very much like its own thing.
'Love, Death & Robots' is now on Netflix.
From: Esquire UK