Altered Carbon: Netflix’s New Flagship Sci-fi Show
We’re in the Golden Age of television, with some of the best shows ever produced currently airing. Big-budget shows are no longer reserved for the premium networks like HBO and Showtime. Each network now has their flagship show: HBO and Game of Thrones, Syfy and The Expanse, and now, Netflix with Altered Carbon.
Netflix has been sinking billions of dollars into producing their own content, and this one is their biggest foray into the science-fiction genre. Altered Carbon is shaping up to deliver all of the goods of a well-produced, hard hitting show, with a story that is intricately woven that details some of the more unsettling aspects of mankind. The show is based off the 2002 novel written by Richard K. Morgan, which details a dismal cyberpunk future where technology has evolved to allow people to transfer their consciousness from one body to the next. However, it can only be utilized by those who can afford it, giving the wealthy a disturbing amount of power.
The show follows the story of Kovacs, who finds himself woken up after being killed by soldiers in a distant battle. He quickly discovers his consciousness has been transferred to a body not of his own. He is given the opportunity to work for a very wealthy man who wants to uncover his own murderer. Keep in mind, in this story, the wealthy can die and be reanimated many times. In exchange for his services, Kovacs will be granted a large sum of money, and allowed to go free with his new life. Kovacs is played by Joel Kinnaman, a Swedish actor that has starred in several other Netflix shows, including The Killing.
Altered Carbon does not seem to shy away from the graphic material that is common in other flagship shows like Game of Thrones and American Gods. It is full of stylized science-fiction action that is sure to catch the eye of any sci-fi lover. The world that is created in the show depicts a dense and overpopulated place marred by extreme violence, wide socio-economic divide, and extreme technology that has shaped every aspect of life. The show has a clear message that parallels this cyberpunk world with that of our own, and details the oppression faced by people in today’s reality.
So far, reviews have been good among the critics. Kimberly Campman, a TV show review critic, said “Altered Carbon has done what few others shows in today’s age have done with the genre: innovate. It explores a dark and untouched side of the human psyche, and how technology can be the harbinger of consolidating power in the hands of a wealthy elite. This, coupled with the incredible martial arts scenes and high production value, makes Altered Carbon a must watch for all science-fiction lovers.”
While this show is being released as a 10-episode season, there are hints that have been included that could call for a second season, if it is renewed by Netflix. The 10 episodes wrap up into one self-contained story, but the show definitely has the potential to be Netflix’s next big budget science-fiction show.