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Altered Carbon season 1 works great as a self-contained "miniseries". Do not watch the terrible season 2!
The universe painted is extremely engaging, from the cyber technology and philosophy to the architecture and design. However, one cannot get over the sub-par writing. The dialogue is absolutely cringy at worse and cliché at best.
While the premise is intriguing, there is little character development and when it happens, it seems to be more of a mutation from a stereotype to another: Kovacs remains the same macho guy that has sexual relationships with good looking women throughout the series. Ortega stays the same sexy, bad ass female that absurdly ends up having more authority than her boss at certain points in the series. . Almost all characters seem to be unmoved by ethical dilemmas and they advance in the plot mostly by shooting or torturing other people/AIs without showing remorse or thinking twice. That is a huge let down to people that were interested in finding out in what ways humanity would deal with ethical issues in such a complex and advanced technological era.
I would still recommend Altered Carbon to sci-fi fans, solely for the cyberpunk aesthetic and universe, but one should keep in mind that this is no Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell. Enjoy!
Altered Carbon, though based on an other book entirely, pretty much comes across as Blade Runner the TV Series. It has the same existential questions about the nature of humanity, a similar pulp noir plot, and the futuristic city crosses the line from homage into copy, but it does look gorgeous. I have to admit the premise at the crossroads of transhumanity and cyberpunk is a heady one, and the 10-episode series explores various permutations of the technology that has changed the world and humanity - the digitization of consciousness. I did feel like I needed subtitles at times, with various mumblers and thick accents giving long exposition. The plot itself is probably the weakest element is probably the plot itself, with its over-complex mystery and talky "solution" scenes, but the story nevertheless moves at a good, tense clip, has several memorable characters, and an engrossing, dark atmosphere. The book had two sequels, I see, so more seasons are possible. If not, then the story feels satisfyingly complete without them.
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