TV Review: Altered Carbon
Updated: May 27, 2019
‘Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored, a prisoner returns to life in a new body and must solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom.’
IMDb rating 8.5/10 Metacritic 65/100 Rotten Tomatoes 62%
Now I happened to catch a trailer of this about a week prior to the show being released as I was perusing the interwebs and it really caught my eye. Gave me a cross between Blade Runner and Dollhouse kinda vibe.
And when I saw the cast in the trailer that gave me even more of a reason to watch it. You’ve got people like Joel Kinnaman (The Killing, Robocop), James Purefoy (The Following, Knight’s Tale), Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse, The 100), Kristen Lehman (Motive, The Killing).
Now the cast does a pretty solid job in the series and to top it off one of my favorites isn’t even on the list above. Poe was damn good and from what I’ve seen and read a fan favorite in general. There aren’t any major names but they are all pretty solid through the series. The overall negatives from the critics isn’t on the cast and I would have to agree that they do a great job with what is given but that it's the story that falls a bit short at times.
Upon further review I found that there was a trilogy of books that this show was based on by Richard Morgan and I have since grabbed a copy of them and will definitely be putting them onto my must read list which seems to be growing more and more weekly. Just what I need more things to read I’m probably up to a couple of dozen books I have to read at the moment not including all the movies I have in the bucket that I plan on watching in the near future. So we may be looking at a possible second season coming in the pipeline but at the time of writing this there hasn’t been any confirmation aside from Kinnaman saying that he wouldn’t rule it out. But the next novel takes place decades ahead of the first and apparently with a new sleeve so he may not be in the works for the next season after all.
The interesting part of this particular series is trying to figure out the rules of this particular sci-fi world that is thrust upon you. At times it is slow moving in figuring it out but then there are some scenes where it just goes apeshit crazy and the action really intensifies. Some critics have even said that it was just an excuse for sexualized violence which I can understand from a critics review not that I got that kind of vibe from the series. I was thoroughly enjoying the series but had to take steps back and look at it from a different perspective which at times I found rather tough. The main investigation part of the storyline manages on a staggered pace and at times is overshadowed by other plot points and backstories of the characters. It almost felt a bit like interval training so steady then all gung ho and back off then gung ho and back off throughout but for me it worked out rather well.
Visually the series looks great and does a great job with the camera direction, cinematography and set design. They manage to create a not so distant future dystopian society plagued by a struggle between the financial classes which almost everyone can relate to nowadays. The dark and seedy scenes in the show hammer the differences home when compared to the high class society scenery but both are put together in a solid way. For once I didn’t have any issues with the CGI portions of the series and probably the first time in a long time that I didn’t have to bitch or gripe about it. The fact that I enjoyed the series from start to finish may have blinded me to a couple of things here and there but nothing was outright staring at me in the face thinking that a first year intern worked on it.
If you are a fan of sci-fi in general you have probably given this a shot already when you saw the trailers or when you got the notification through Netflix. If you aren’t the greatest sci-fi fan I am pretty sure that it could float your boat knowing that it’s a short series of 10 episodes mind you it might get the hooks into you in preparation for a possible second season. I have recommended it to a number of my work colleagues and not one has been disappointed with it yet. Give it a shot and by that I mean give it the 3 episode rule if you don’t like it after the third episode drop it like a bad habit you’ve given it a significant amount of time to develop the story and characters or at least that is the idea. If it hasn’t hooked you by then I don’t know what to say but if you give it 3 episodes I think you will be finishing it off that week and leaving the DVR’d stuff until it’s finished.
4 Beards out of 5