Why ‘Altered Carbon’ is the Netflix sci-fi series you need to binge-watch now
Can a show that wears its sci-fi influences tattooed on its sleeve actually be good?
Spoiler alert: Yes.
“Altered Carbon,” a new 10-part series on Netflix about a rebel fighter awoken after 250 years and “resleeved” into a new body to help solve a murder, dropped on Friday, Feb. 2. Based on Richard Morgan’s 2002 novel of the same name, this version pulses with elements of “Blade Runner,” “The Matrix,” “Star Wars,” “AI,” film noir and detective films, video games and more. Plenty more; we’re pretty sure we didn’t catch half its influences the first time around.
And all this unbelievably adds up to a compelling, binge-worthy show. Starring Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs, he’s yanked up from his imprisoned sleep to work for James Purefoy’s character, a creepy rich guy who’s hired Kovacs to figure out who tried to kill him. (Actually, they did kill him, but he had a backup body ready to go). There’s more to the multi-layered plot, but we won’t spoil it here.
Smarter than most series, “Altered Carbon” presents interesting ideas – humans find a way to save their consciousness onto a disc that can be implanted into a fresh new body, say – and then takes that idea further. If that can happen then, who but the super-rich could actually enjoy it? How could religion change if you no longer have to die? What if Alexa or Siri got smart enough to power, staff and protect an entire hotel – and was really into the work of Edgar Allen Poe and possibly Richard Gatling (the latter of early machine gun fame)? And if there’s income inequality now, what would that look like in the future?
The above description risks making “Altered Carbon” sound too derivative, smart or preachy, but the freewheeling series is […]