Sci-Fi Altered Carbon (Netflix)

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
Altered Carbon is a new Netflix series that dropped a few weeks ago and is based on a 2002 novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan. Set in an alternate future in year 2384 humans are able to easily move their consciousness between bodies using "stacks", devices inserted at the back of the neck. Bodies, or clones and synthetic bodies, are called "sleeves" and a person is able to easily have their stack moved to a different sleeve. When a body dies a person can arrange to have their stack put into a different sleeve, effectively living forever if they can afford it. Stacks are able to be backed up in case of emergencies or even copied. A stack can also be put on "ice" meaning it's in storage with no sleeve; only when the stack is in a sleeve is the person awoke. Takeshi Kovacs, a former government agent turned rogue, is awakened 250 years in a new sleeve and is given a choice of solving a crime for one of the world's wealthiest men and receive a full pardon or to have his stack put back on ice to serve the rest of his prison sentence.

The series is a cyberpunk adaption that feels heavily influenced by the original Blade Runner movie. If you visualize the dark & steamy street scenes and wondered just how depraved it could get and thought what the 'Vice Squad' would look like that in that world then you've got an idea of the setting of Altered Carbon. Surprisingly the subject matter still isn't as dark as the HAPPY! series on SyFy. Altered Carbon is explicit with its nudity, sex, and violence but subject matter wise, HAPPY! is worse.


I binged watched all 10 episodes over the course of a few days and while I could pick apart some things, it overall wasn't bad. The biggest thing that kept bugging me was that Kovacs was in storage for 250 years and the technology he awoke to was essentially the same world that he left. Even in a dystopian future technology should have changed somehow over 250 years, instead Kovacs easily makes his way around the city as though it was just days since he was last in it.

Plot wise it suffers from the same mistakes as a lot of other movies. You have the main character meeting up with another character who ends up being his sidekick for the movie and, oh, by sheer coincidence, that character has a connection to the quest the main character is on. And, of course, the main character also has a personal connection to the quest he is on but doesn't know it until the big reveal that is supposed to be a surprise.

Getting past the usual tropes and plot issues there are some standout items that did make for some entertaining 'popcorn' watching while I was working. Is it something that I'll go back and watch again like some sci-fi movies? Not likely, but I will watch season 2 if it is made.
 
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Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
Season 2 of Altered Carbon on Netflix is set to premiere in the 2nd half of this year. Filming was started back in February of this year but no release date has been given yet. Due to the heavy special effects laden episodes it takes some time for each episode to be created.

 
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