Altered Carbon: Netflix’s New Series Is Frighteningly Real
Get ready for a look into your future
Today, Netflix debuts an all new sci-fi, slightly dystopian and absolutely ambitious series: Altered Carbon. An adaptation of Richard Morgan’s cyberpunk novel of the same name, it brings its audience to a world where human minds are stored in stacks and transferred from one body (aka sleeves) to the next. Theoretically, the idea of death–or, at least, the natural means of it--is lost among the ever-living.
Takeshi Kovaks (Joel Kinnaman) was a violent mercenary whose sleeve was “killed” 250 years ago. Suddenly, he finds himself awake in a new one and soon discovers that the world is not how he left it. He’s then given a choice: Spend the rest of his life behind bars or solve the “murder” of Earth’s wealthiest man, Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy).
While the dialogue leaves a lot to the imagination and those who are averse to more sexual scenes need to brace themselves, there is plenty that Altered Carbon does do well.
The visuals of the series puts everything else that Netflix has released almost to shame. The world that it created is a technological masterpiece brought to life by CGI, with every frame as spectacular as the last. In contrast to recent sci-fi material that go straight to the small screen, Altered Carbon does not disappoint and in fact matches up to its big screen competition.
Visually, it’s quite Blade Runner-esque and it’s quite obvious that the cyberpunk features, which jump out of the screen, undoubtedly cost a pretty penny.
On the surface, Altered Carbon is all sci-fi and mystery. Takeshi searches for clues, butts heads with certain individuals and exciting action scenes ensue. We’re given glimpses of his exciting yet dangerous past, as well as hints as to why his allies become his allies. They’re interested in him for a reason and we quickly become interested in what that is.
But beneath the surface, Altered Carbon discusses two things that are so much more complex: Morality and immortality. There’s Barcroft, who has held on to his fortune for centuries, discarding sleeves as he saw fit or necessary. There were those belonging to the lower financial classes that “died” because they couldn’t afford to live longer. There were those like Takeshi whose minds were imprisoned and brought to life again for a single purpose not of their choosing. And then there were those on the streets, rallying against the idea and practice of immortality altogether.
Altered Carbon is definitely not without its flaws, but the watching experience it still provides far outweighs any negative aspects. It’s thrilling, captivating, available on Netflix and we’re already hoping for a second season.