I’d been looking forward to this for some time, as I rather enjoyed the first season. I’ve been a fan of Heavy Metal since my younger years, if only because it often provided a raw view of Sci-Fi in visual medium. I do have a heck of a passion for long-form sci-fi, but truth be told, the short story format is often much more enjoyable. LD&R is all about short form stories, with 10min average duration for each short.
Season 2 is only 8 episodes, whereas season 1 was 18. It’s also much less excessive. You’re not going to find Aquila Rift’s 2 minute sex scene here. One short in particular is impressively violent, and another is a very difficult watch given the context.
Automated Customer Service
A humorous short and a killer automated vacuum cleaner. The pacing is good, and the context somewhat surreal. It lacks the larger questions of most sci-fi. I found it the weakest of all.
This one has very unique art style – in line with Zima Blue from prior season. It has a decent concept, about teenager social acceptance, this time through the lens of ‘modifications’. The final action bit feels like you’re there, and look brilliant. I think the art choice here is better for it, as it focuses on contrasts.
This is a very hard watch the first time through, as you’re lacking the context for the first few minutes. It’s the longest of all the stories, and I’m going to avoid spoilers beyond. I enjoyed this story the most as it asks some fundamental questions and leaves plenty of room for discussion.
Snow in the Desert
A merc is hunted for his biological abilities. The themes here are more complex than the other stories, or at least appear so to me. The art here is photo-realistic, and makes it all pack a lot more punch. I find it has good pacing, but certainly has a sterotypical romance sub-plot that feels tacked on. Those should be earned, which is all but impossible in a short story.
The Tall Grass
This is the horror episode and I don’t quite follow why it’s here. I do enjoy the art style, and the panic within the story. But it’s based on multiple bad decisions, and then luck at the end. I don’t enjoy stories that depend entirely on crutches.
All Through the House
What if Christmas had a horror tinge? The shortest and most surreal stories in the anthology, it asks the simple question ‘what if you were naughty’ for Christmas…It’s frankly surreal and I ended up confused as to who the target audience is for this one.
So if you want to see a Michael B Jordan likeness in a sort of prison room, this is up your alley. With shades of a larger storyline, this one suffers greatly with editing. Take the crazy robot from Red Planet and you have all you need to know about this story. Too bad, cause the backstory here seems infinitely more interesting.
The Drowned Giant
Now here’s an interesting one on the concept of major events, impacts, and longstanding memory. You’re never quite sure if this is a fever dream or real. How the larger un-answered questions remain – like are there other giants? It begs to ask what really is meaningful and how unique events eventually become integrated into local legend. This is a real black sheep episode as it had no external conflict, it’s just a journal of an interesting event. I found it captivating in its simple portrayal.
With only 8 episodes and less hard sci-fi theme, it was quite a bit different than season 1. As with that, there are some stories that will hit harder than others, some where you want to learn more, others where you need to watch again, and then some that you can do without. Same with any short-story book really.
I will say that it reinforces the concept that great sci-fi is about the people in sci-fi settings, not a plot for plot’s sake.
I am hopeful for a season 3!