In the future, bodies are mere sleeves for our existence. What really matters is a small disc inserted into our spines that carry our entire conscience outside of the brain. When we die, we can just slip into a new body. Thanks to generous advances in cloning technology.
Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) used to be an outlaw, a famed “Envoy” with blown out of proportion superhuman abilities. He’s been in sleep jail for 250 years. But when a rich man is murdered in his own home, he wants to bring back the best to figure out who killed him. But there’s a lot more going on here, and almost all of it has to do with Takeshi’s past.
Part Blade Runner, part Ghost in the Shell, part every sci-fi movie you’ve ever seen, Altered Carbon feels surprisingly familiar. But there’s enough unique that you don’t immediately feel like it’s just a slick remake. I was extremely hooked after the first episode. Joel Kinnaman is a really great leading man. The Edgar Allen Poe based A.I. was a delightful lighthearted choice. The action is fun, gory, and gruesome. And the bad guys are appropriately bad.
Complaints are few but I’m sure you’ll find some as you delve into the deeper episodes. There is a lot of nudity. And I mean a lot. Way more female than male, of course. Just feels exploitative at a certain point. And the sex crimes nature of the later episode made it feel like a futuristic episode of SVU. When the show takes a turn to really delve into Takeshi’s back story, it starts to feel more like a sci-fi channel original movie than a Netflix series.
But! I still loved it. The originality and blending of familiar tropes worked for me. I liked the story and I enjoyed the world. I’m tentative about a second season but if you like sci-fi this first one is a great watch.
3.5 out of 4 stars.
P.S. it is a dumb name for a tv show though.