Netflix's "Altered Carbon" Final Review Opinion

"Altered Carbon" TV Review & Opinions

So I finally got through the first season of Netflix's Altered Carbon and to be honest, it was pretty enjoyable throughout while delivering a well thought out resolution to the first season's mystery.

The cast is also a decent, likable cast, with one of my faves, Joel Kinnaman in the starring role, along with James Purefoy, Martha Higareda, Chris Conner, Joss Whedon alumni Dichen Lachman, Ato Esandoh, Kristen Lehman, & Trieu Tran.


The world of Altered Carbon is one where people don't die, their personalities are stored in a chip in the neck and when they pass on the chip, or stack, as they called it, is installed in a new body, or what they would call a sleeve.

Poor people did not have many options for getting new sleeves while the rich can order up whatever they want. So it's your standard hierarchy of civilization.

In this story, a rich man named Bancroft (Purefoy) hires a soldier-like resistance fighter (Kinnaman) by raising him from a 250 year incarceration sleep (You can put a person's stack in a holding cell for x-years for their crimes), to find out who killed him in is last sleeve.

Kovacs is unhappy about being up and about because one of his last memories is of the love of his life being stack-killed (shot in the stack, thus, killing the person permanently), and he does not want to live without her.

But there are two complications to his resurrection. Since Bancroft installed Kovacs into the state-of-the-art battle-ready sleeve, it turns out this sleeve had a reputation with another personality in it. Then he's also hounded by a detective (Ortega) who is hounding him because she knows that he was some kind of a terrorist who was put on ice for the last 250 years.

And it gets even more complicated than that, not just between these three which I won't spill here, but then add Kovac's real sister (Lachman) from when they were actually children, who is still around, who has been looking and waiting for him all these years.

What's even more complicated is Bancroft's two hundred year marriage to Miriam (the gorgeous Kristen Lehman), and all his idiosyncrasies. I've never seen her look better than this in any other role she's played


The opening episodes are filled with information while developing all the characters, while the middle three or four episodes start to feel a little formulaic. But once you start wondering if it's getting boring or not, events in the closing episodes of the series gets things rolling towards closure and crap hits the fan where different people are forced to face very challenging and difficult situations and decisions.

We are also treated to back-stories from character's past lives in other or their original sleeves, which explains a lot to some folks motivations or behavior.

The show addresses the moral and religious issues of living forever or not, while those with more options than most (the rich) have more problems. Or different ones.

All in all, the story keeps you engaged as you keep learning about different aspects of this life, while we're treated to non-stop HBO-like situation of always having decent fight scenes, a quirky kind of torture you could only have when your personality is contained in a chip, nudity in every single episode, peppered with sex here and there.

The series ends on a note that leaves the door open if enough folks tune and and Netflix renews Altered Carbon. But it's not a blatant opening, but just enough of an opening that welcomes the potential for a second season. And if they don't renew the show, closure was done pretty well and loose ends all tied up, giving the show great closure. Just in case.


If you don't mind some nudity, a little bit of sex and are a fan of any of the players noted above, like Kinnaman, I think you'll love this futuristic, gritty, detective story in a creepy and yet alluring world.

They somehow shoved a classic, gritty gumshoe story into a technologically advanced society setting and pulled it off seamlessly.

- - -

{ } 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Follow Cinema Static on: