Damson - What we're watching #23
A second series of Altered Carbon was never the plan for showrunner Laeta Kalogridis, but Netflix went and renewed it anyway after a pretty well-received maiden series. It wasn't exactly a surprise. There was no way Netflix would let this one slip through their fingers.
Season 2 is nearly here (finally) with a release date of February 27th. By the look of it, Anthony Mackie has replaced Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs, but we should imagine you'll have a better idea of just what the hell is going on if you've watched Season 1.
We absolutely loved Season 1, and so will you. Here's why you should watch it.
Altered Carbon is ambitious, flashy, a little flawed but mostly great fun.
So how do we explain It? Here goes...
It's an adaption of the Cyberpunk novel by the same name. Set in the future, our minds are stored on "stacks", which are discs that are stored in the back of our necks. This means that the body is no more than a "sleeve", so when you die a traditional death, you just move from one bag of flesh to another. Our lead character, Takeshi Kovacs is a violent mercenary/freedom fighter who wakes up 300 years after his sleeve was "killed" and finds himself in a very different world, and body. He's quite notorious as a criminal and is given the option to solve the murder of the Earth's wealthiest man or spend the rest of his life in prison. Simple, right?
It's hard to fault the sheer ambitious scale of Altered Carbon. The set definitely has more than a whiff of "Blade Runner" about them. If Blade Runner was written by Paul Verhoeven that is.
The "Sleeving" dynamic presents some pretty interesting ethical questions. If you need to interrogate a murder victim that hasn't agreed to being brought back to life, what do you do? It's a bit of a moral quandary, especially once you throw religion in to the mix. It makes for some pretty fascinating debates between characters.
Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is a part of everyday life in the world of the show. In a nice twist, instead of being cutting edge, the robots are slightly outdated. One Character called Poe who runs a hotel called "The Raven" (smart literary reference there) is an A.I., and is also one of the shows stand-out performers. He's great when it feels like the show takes itself a little too seriously.
Along with Chris Connor's Poe, the supporting cast are brilliant. James Purefoy is about as hammy as you would expect him to be as the main protagonist Laurens Bancroft, and Martha Higereda and Dichen Lachman are great as Lieutenant Ortega and Reileen Kawahara respectively.
Sometimes the show does get a little too tied up in its own mythology, and the intricacies of the investigation become a little too convoluted at times, but for this most part this Steampunk Sherlock Holmes is a riot, and so binge-able.
It's hard to say how many characters will be back in season 2 and how much the storyline will follow up, but if it's anywhere near as addictive as the first series, we'll probably end up watching it all in one weekend!
February 21, 2020