I just got finished with the latest Netflix Science fiction mini-series Altered Carbon.
*NOTE* I am assuming that this series is going to go a miniseries. Or at the very least a limited one-off series. You’ll find out why.
The show is based on the 2002 Novel of the same name by novelist Richard K. Morgan. Like the novel, the show is set in a version of our future where the discovery of ancient alien technology has allowed humans to store their consciousness onto small chips known as “stacks.” allowing interstellar travel and immortality for those who can afford it. People who die can simply have their stacks transferred into another body A.K.A sleeve, and carry on life as normal.
The story centres around Takeshi Jovac. A man who gets re-sleeved two hundred and fifty years after his death to solve the murder of Laurens Bancroft, a wealthy meth (Very rich person with lots of sleeves) who cannot find the culprit of his latest death.
At first, I was a little bit sceptical of the tone of the show. It had the same level of cynicism as shows like Black Mirror with the same gritty, dystopian aesthetic as films like Blade Runner and Dredd. I felt like it was going to be a formulaic and redundant sci-fi series that won’t have anything new to offer. Was I wrong? Yes.
Altered Carbon isn’t the most original look show in the world. It sits very comfortably in the Sci-Fi genre and adheres to all if not a large number of the tropes you would expect. That being said it tells a very human story that is made even more potent by it’s provocative and compelling setting. It not only plays with the themes of immortality and morality but it tells a story about how humanity may struggle to prevail in the future.
As I mentioned before, the aesthetics behind the show aren’t particularly original. Despite that though, I would be remiss if I didn’t comment how beautiful it was at the same time. Everything from the props to the visual effects making up a large portion of the setting seemed flawless and well polished. It’s a show that has plenty of moments that are both seductive and naughty. It truly is a version of our future where sin is king. And you do find yourself willing to take a ride into the seedy underground of human society. It makes a comment on how there are people amongst us who aren’t what they say they are. and the very nature of our virtues can be based on something as trivial as our fortune.
With striking visuals and a character arch that takes you on a ride through time. Altered Carbon is an addition to the Netflix library that will keep you entertained, outraged, aroused and thinking throughout.