Altered Carbon is the kind of gritty, post-cyberpunk science fiction series I really enjoy. Unfortunately that means it's exactly the kind of series that rarely makes it to network television. Thankfully, this is a Netflix original series.
Maybe in the near future I’ll do a full review of the series. I don’t do episode recaps anymore. For now, I found something awesome and I just wanted to share the experience with you. You should be watching Altered Carbon right now. RIGHT NOW!
I vaguely remember seeing a few teaser ads for Altered Carbon some time ago. Sure the advertisements looked interesting, but after a few weeks I had all but forgotten about it. I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but my twitter feed was exploding with people who were really excited about it.
I didn’t know that Altered Carbon was based on a book. The 2002 novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan is the first in a in a series (the Takeshi Kovacs trilogy). I had no idea these books had such a following - a lot of my favorite SFF authors cited these books as some of their favorites!
Protagonist Takeshi Kovacs is portrayed capably by Joel Kinnaman. Yes … THAT Joel Kinnaman. I know Robocop and Suicide Squad were both spectacularly bad. This is the first time I've found Kinnaman a fitting (or even acceptable) choice for a lead role. I had never read the novels. I didn't have any ideas about who would or would not make a good Takeshi. Maybe that’s why Kinnaman quickly grew on me despite my initial belief that he was a really bad actor.
The entire cast is outstanding. What do you mean “Who else is in it”? This isn’t IMDb. Go look for yourself. Or better yet, just start watching the first episode right now. RIGHT NOW!
Fine. It’s got James Purefoy, Hiro Kanagawa, and Dichen Lachman. I promise you, if those names don’t ring a bell, you will recognize these actors from other projects as soon as you see them.
The industrial design for Altered Carbon really reminds me of Blade Runner. The world has a really dirty, lived-in look to it. The exact opposite of what you might expect from a space opera like Star Trek where everything is perfect and pristine. There's more than enough to stimulate your visual cortex here. That visual style is only part of the experience. Thematically Altered Carbon feels like a classic hardboiled crime-noir detective story.