Netflix’s “Altered Carbon” makes a great binge for any sci-fi fan


Courtesy of

On Feb. 2, Netflix released one of its newest original series, “Altered Carbon.” The 10-episode series follows the book under the same title by Richard Morgan.

Sylvie Croteau, Staff Writer

On Feb. 2, Netflix released one of its newest original series, “Altered Carbon.” The 10-episode series follows the book under the same title by Richard Morgan. The series starts out with Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) being torn out of a plastic storage bag 250 years after his consciousness was taken away and put into storage. In a new body, Kovacs learns that Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy), a billionaire businessman, has chosen him to solve a murder — his own. Along the way, he meets all types of people like Detective Kristin Ortega (Martha Higareda), artificial hotel manager Poe (Chris Conner) and estranged father Vernon Elliot (Ato Essandoh).

During the season, Kovacs collects information about Bancroft’s death whilst helping Elliot save his broken daughter Elizabeth (Hayley Law) and struggle through flashbacks depicting him in his original body (Leonardo Nam) and Quellcrist Falconer (Renee Elise Goldsberry), the leader of a rebel group called the Envoys. Towards the end of the season, Kovacs reconnects with his sister Reileen (Dichen Lachman) and discovers that there are darker, deeper problems than Bancroft originally told him.

The series is rated TV-MA for a reason — sexual situations, murder and torture are involved in most of the episodes, and none go without a truckload of swearing. But, the violence fits right into the cyberpunk-noir setting of the Protectorate, where the poor live on Earth in dull, unsanitary conditions and the rich live in massive towers that pierce the clouds. The neon-infested cities and futuristic technology create an atmosphere unlike no other.

I personally enjoyed “Altered Carbon.” Part of it was the anticipation from the trailers Netflix released on the website and app that drew me close to it. When I watched the first episode, I was instantly hooked. The atmosphere, coupled with the music and the acting, makes for an engrossing, interesting binge or an intriguing, nail-biting slow burn.

One of my only problems with the show is the problem of whitewashing — the concept and process of putting a white person into a person of color’s spot for no apparent reason other than to cater further to a white audience. Showrunner Laeta Kalogridis touched down on the subject and told The Hollywood Reporter that “[whitewashing] isn’t a problem we solved.” Another argument against this is the fact that the show is as true to the book as possible — Kovacs also is “re-sleeved” into a white man’s body after living in a Korean one for 250 years.

As of now, “Altered Carbon” does not have a second season in motion — yet. The 90% audience approval on Rotten Tomatoes and the 8.4/10 from IMDb prove that there might just be another one. The only downside to that is the fact that you’d need to wait at least a year in order to see it return to the small screen. All in all, “Altered Carbon” is a show worthy of the time of those who enjoy detective noir murder-mysteries with a shot of supercharged fighting and awesome futuristic elements.