Short films can find it hard to attract a wider audience, so it’s cool to see Netflix promote a big, splashy showcase of animated sci-fi shorts. Sadly, Love, Death & Robots feels much less cool and boundary-pushing when you take a closer look. Curated by Tim Miller (Deadpool) and David Fincher (Fight Club), this anthology is full of gratuitous onscreen sexism—and blatant gender discrimination behind the camera.
I did watch this on Netflix, and I actually enjoyed a few of the shorts featured as they were written by one of my favorite authors, John Scalzi. John Scalzi is not known as an especially “edgy” type of writer. In fact, he’s very progressive, so those shorts seem incongruous next to some of the other, more violent, shorts in the anthology. But this article is correct in stating that in every short that featured violence, female sexuality and nudity was associated with it, and in every instance of female nudity or sexuality, there was an extreme amount of violence involved in that story. In some of the stories the two occur simultaneously.
In all fairness though, not all of the short films feature either topic, and some of them are actually worth watching. Most notable were:
The Day the Yogurt Took Over was written by Scalzi from his anthology titled Miniatures. It’s hilarious.
Ice Age was very interesting. I enjoyed it a lot.
Fish Night is a story I remember reading, in another anthology, a couple of decades ago, and the story just stuck with me.
Lucky 13 was one of the better Scifi stories, and has a Black woman as the lead character.
Three Robots was really cute and it has cats, so some of you will definitely like it, and Suits was frantic and suspenseful.
But the story that affected me the most was Zima Blue, which I consider one of the best stories in the entire anthology. It was emotional and though provoking.
The Wired is a lot more damning of the show than I am though:
Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots is sexist sci-fi at its most tedious
It’s not just a male gaze that ruins Love, Death & Robots, it’s an adolescent male gaze. The sex scenes are so bad they’re funny. At times, the dialogue is borderline farcical. All too often the series leans precariously on visual tricks – and while the worlds created here are vast and vivid, the plots are often non-existent.