New Netflix Hit “Altered Carbon”: Moody, Action-Packed and Unoriginal

Do your body and physical appearance play a big role in your identity, and how you see yourself? Well, in Altered Carbon, people have to scrap that kind of thinking – there are no true deaths, and our bodies are just “sleeves” or sacks of skin which house the true person within. Instead, consciousness can be transferred between bodies, with an easy upload.

In terms of originality, the plot has some shining moments, but the aesthetic is a borrowed and outdated dystopian take on Bladerunner’s with it’s moody and neon-lit Chinatown ambiance, so there could have been some more innovation there.

The show could have probed beneath the surface and made the investigative aspect of the show more engaging, where a lot of it just came off as derivative detective talk. By throwing class warfare into the mix, trying to find the true focus and aim of the show is a blurry journey.

Some found it to be a dilemma of context. If this were on an alternative network like SyFy, or CraveTV, the numbers probably would have been impressive. But with the roster of Netflix originals that have been churched out (without sacrificing quality. This release seemed like more hype than actual substance.

Nonetheless, many of the performances were still riveting, with  Martha Higareda as Detective Kristen Ortega, giving us  Lara Croft-esque vibes at times, and Takeshi Kovacks who meanders between a few “sleeves”  but is mostly played by “Suicide Squad” actor Joel Kinnaman, channelling a relentless intensity. And the seductive Kristen Lehman, who plays the ultimate cougar, with an added dose of immortal wisdom.

Conceptually, it’s a provocative and unique premise. But for some reason, we feel a lot of this would have been better transformed within our imaginations, and perhaps this work would have done better as a novel instead of a TV series.

There was no shortage of actions and lasers, so if that’s your thing, you’ll probably binge the whole thing, but there was a lack of depth in much of the storyline and character development. 

Overall, it wasn’t too revolutionary and badly paced 10 hour-long episodes seemed gratuitous, especially when you put it up against other Netflix originals that many viewers desired to be a few episodes longer. But in the realm of noir sci-fi, packed with ultra-violence and production value, it didn’t necessarily fall flat. It just didn’t soar to the heights that we wished it would have.

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