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2 reasons you should watch Netflix's new sci-fi anthology: space Marines and GWOT werewolves
Netflix's new science fiction animated series, Love, Death & Robots, wasn't at the top of my list of military shows to check out when it premiered on March 15. But after watching most of the series' 18 episodes, I feel like it belongs on there now. Why? Because it has superstitious space Marines, and MARPAT-wearing werewolves in Afghanistan.
Let me explain.
The anthology is a collection of sci-fi shorts similar to The Animatrix, or Black Mirror, with a mostly dark tone, but depending on which episode you watch, there's a healthy dose of humor tossed in (like the eight-minute short that shows all the different ways Adolf Hitler dies in alternate realities.) The two standouts, for me at least, were Shape-Shifters, and Lucky 13.
Set in an alternate reality, Shape-Shifters follows two Marines deployed to Afghanistan. They patrol arid roads searching for IEDs with their feet, take shit from SNCOs at the chow hall, and question why the hell they're even out in the desert in the first place. But these jarheads are different from their peers in one key way: They're werewolves.
Shape-shiftersLove, Death & Robots/Netflix
They're not particularly welcome by their fellow Marines, who pejoratively call them "dog soldiers," "animals," and "unnatural," even as the humans rely on them to sniff out bombs and spot enemies. However, as the main character points out: "I can stalk my prey by scent alone. I can run for miles while you need to ride in a stinking Humvee all day. I can see clearly on a moonless night while you cling to your flashlight as soon as the sun goes down. You ask me, there's not much natural in that."
Unfortunately for these literal devil dogs, they're not the only predators roaming the desert. You guessed it: the Taliban has werewolves, too.
In Lucky 13, we follow Lt. Colby, a rookie pilot in some futuristic space-faring Marine Corps who gets assigned to fly a dropship with the ominous name Lucky 13, and the equally dubious serial number 13-02313, which not only "started and ended in 13, but adds up to 13," Colby remarks at the episode's start.
Lucky 13Love, Death & Robots/Netflix
For its part, Lucky 13 lives up to the superstitious hype: Its last two crews died, while the ship remained intact, a miraculous (or sinister) feat, depending on which way you look at it. Whether or not Lucky 13's unlucky streak will hold is something you'll just have to find out by watching.
The two shorts — and they are very short, 15 or 16 minutes apiece — have a distinctly military vibe, and nail enough of the in-the-know details and major visual elements that they both feel somewhat believable, or as believable as stories about possessed-spaceships and lycanthrope Marines can be.
Lucky 13Love, Death & Robots/Netflix
The series as a whole is a great distraction if you've got a few minutes free on your lunch break, and I'd certainly recommend it if you want to see a bunch of wolf-men go to war, or watch space Marines duke it out on alien worlds as dropships and fighters clobber each other in the sky above.
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A memo circulating over the weekend warning of a "possible imminent attack" against U.S. soldiers in Germany was investigated by Army officials, who found there to not be a serious threat after all.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Comedian Jon Stewart has joined forces with veterans groups to make sure service members who have been sickened by toxins from burn pits get the medical care they need, according to the Military Officers Association of America.
"Quite frankly, this is not just about burn pits — it's about the way we go to war as a country," Stewart said during his Jan. 17 visit to Washington, D.C. "We always have money to make war. We need to always have money to take care of what happens to people who are selfless enough, patriotic enough, to wage those wars on our behalf."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Editor's Note: A version of this article originally appeared on the blog of Angry Staff Officer
This morning, the Virginia state capitol in Richmond saw dozens of armed men gathering to demonstrate their support for the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution – the right to bear arms. These men were not merely bearing arms, however; they were fully accoutered in the trappings of what one would call a paramilitary group: helmets, vests, ammunition pouches, camouflage clothing, and other "tactical" necessities, the majority of which are neither tactical nor necessary. Their weapons, too, are bedecked with all sorts of accessories, and are also in the paramilitary lane. Rather than carry rifles or shotguns that one would use for hunting, they instead carry semi-automatic "military grade" weapons, to merely prove that they can.
This is not an uncommon sight in America. Nor has it ever been. Armed groups of angry men have a long and uncomfortable history in the United States. On very rare occasions, these irregulars have done some good against corrupt, power-hungry, and abusive county governments. For the most part, however, they bode no good.