Noob Reviews: Altered Carbon (Season 01)
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included helping explain specific points.
"Your body is not who you are. You shed it like a snake sheds its skin. Leave it, forgotten, behind you."
Quellcrist Falconer | Episode 01
What is Altered Carbon?
Altered Carbon is a leap forward in time to the year 2384 in which humankind has developed a technology with which they can indefinitely prolong human life through the use of sleeves (effectively interchangeable human and synthetic suits). And stacks (a form of technology that allows the person's memories and consciousness to be stored and swapped between sleeves). There is still the threat of 'real death' to some, though, depending on their line of work. Should a user's stack be irreparably damaged or destroyed, anything stored on it will be lost. And only the wealthiest and most influential social class (known as Meths) can afford to back their consciousness up to satellites, should the worst ever happen to them.
The tale that unfolds within Altered Carbon is one that crosses into many genres (action, adventure, mystery and crime). It follows our protagonist Tak, a former special operations operative that worked for the government and then went rogue and became a freedom fighter (referred to as Envoys). Who has been 're-sleeved' and brought back into action from a dormant state in storage, to investigate the attempted assassination of one of the most powerful Meths (a man by the name of Bancroft). Having lived over 300 years, Laurens Bancroft has accumulated quite an array of people wanting to see him dethroned or killed.
In addition to the investigation:
Tak (full name Takeshi Kovacs) must not only find out what happened to those he knew in his past life pre-storage (effectively a prison sentence). But uncover a plot that wishes to see his current sleeve destroyed.
Tak comes across a young girl (Lizzie) whose mind was shattered after she was brutally murdered and her sleeve discarded in an alley. Luckily though, her stack survived, and with the help of an AI version of Edgar Allan Poe, Tak can set about healing her and seeking justice for her.
Those with power and influence rule 2384, but behind all of the public faces, there are darker forces at work - whether it be a sex industry run by secretive figures and shady AIs. Assassins who are also religious zealots. Or corrupt police chiefs. Many threats are lurking in the shadows that pose a danger not only to Tak. But to those he allows himself to get close to too.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- Teaser Trailer -
When did it come out?
Altered Carbon season one was released in February 2018 as a Netflix exclusive. Season two will be released (again on Netflix) later this month on the 27th February.
How many episodes are there?
In total there are ten episodes, with each running around fifty minutes. With the occasional episode been both longer (over sixty minutes). And shorter (just over forty minutes).
Who are some of the actors and actresses in the series we might know?
Adam Busch (Mickey)
Ato Essandoh (Vernon Elliot)
Dichen Lachman (Reileen Kawahara)
Hiro Kanagawa (Captain Tanaka)
James Purefoy (Laurens Bancroft)
Joel Kinnaman (Takeshi Kovacs)
Kristin Lehman (Both Miriam Bancroft and Naomi Bancroft)
Martha Higareda (Kristin Ortega)
What did you think of Altered Carbon (Season 01)?
Altered Carbon I thought to be a fantastic detective series in which Tak meets many colourful and unique characters in the search for Bancroft’s would-be assassin. The story is excellent, easy to follow, and I thought to be super engaging. I know that there have been quite a few reviews of Altered Carbon that gave it less than favourable reviews, but I felt it pulled together nicely.
When it comes to the choreography of the fight scenes, the actual locations used for the series itself and even the way the story arcs are interwoven, providing many surprising twists, turns and losses. Everything appears to have been done with a bigger picture in mind and set a solid foundation for Tak to go out and explore other populated worlds. On that note, I would like to slide in that I thought the actors and actresses picked for the various characters was very well done. I am a huge fan of so many of these actors, whether it be James Purefoy for his work in The Following, or Joel Kinnaman for his work in Hanna, Suicide Squad and many other films and shows. I thought they were great. The actors gave their roles a high level of enthusiasm, energy and grit that really sold them and made you want to be interested in what would become of them. Unfortunately (spoiler here) not everyone survives the first season but I look forward to finding out what adventures await those that did.
When it comes to the negatives of Altered Carbon, I can honestly say there are very few. The show does really tackle some rather complex and hard-hitting topics like rape, slavery and organised crime. Admittedly some of these are explored in a lot more graphic level than others, but they are handled tastefully and respectfully. There are scenes of nudity and violence that some people may find disturbing, such as various torture scenes and rather brutal kills.
Overall though I thought Altered Carbon was highly enjoyable, entertaining and I am excited for the 27th of this month when season two is released.
What overall rating would you give Altered Carbon (Season 01)?
I would give Altered Carbon (Season 01) 5 out of 5 bananas.
As mentioned above, Altered Carbon is entertaining and quite action-packed. It balances the main story and subplots well with some fantastic acting off of the cast. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for either the Sci-Fi or crime genre as it does have a lot on offer. So much so I am confident it will have something for everybody.
Thank you very much for checking out the review, and if you are interested in Altered Carbon (Season 01) and would like to check it out for yourself, to form your own opinion, you can check it out here.