Review: “Altered Carbon” is binge-worthy, but lacking

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“Altered Carbon” is Netflix’s latest original series, based on the cyberpunk sci-fi novel of the same name written by Richard K. Morgan. At its essence, the show revolves around a murder mystery, and if you can get past the sometimes-confusing plot twists, the show has a lot to offer.

First and foremost, the world inhabited by “Altered Carbon” is sci-fi gold. Being set hundreds of years into the future, it is reminiscent of the “Blade Runner” or “Total Recall” ambience. Although Netflix won’t disclose its production costs, the show is its most ambitious project to date. The sets are beautifully designed and include a noir touch to them, a perfect complement to the show’s twisted setting.

In this future world, humans have developed revolutionary technology that allows for consciousness to be preserved in stacks, small implants that can be passed on from body to body, called sleeves. Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman), soldier-turned-rebel-turned-mercenary, is released from his 250-year prison sentence and is hired by Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy), one of the richest men on the planet, to solve a murder.

The story, however, is the show’s biggest flaw. Each character featured throughout the 10 episodes has a highly complicated back story, and it can be hard to keep up with all of them while still trying to figure out the murder. Things can get very confusing at times, and the writing does not necessarily manage the cohesiveness of each storyline very well. The cast delivers good performances, but Kinnaman stands out as he perfectly encompasses a warrior seeking the truth.

Viewer beware: this show has plenty of adult content, including copious amounts of nudity and sex that don’t always contribute to the story.

Verdict:

While the show is visually and aesthetically pleasing, the storyline was confusing. The show needs more than 10 episodes to allow viewers the opportunity to follow along. I personally don’t think it warrants a second season, but it is definitely binge-worthy.

7.0/10