The Highlander

Altered Carbon lacks substance

Netflix's new show fails to live up to the hype

Video Produced by Netflix

Ross Oliver, Reporter

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In the sci-fi world of great shows like Star Trek and Dr. Who, Altered Carbon disappoints. With such an expensive budget, rumored to be around 200 million, and with Netflix promoting their show, you would expect the show to be good. Except it’s not.

Based off of a 2002 science fiction novel by Richard K. Morgan, the plot is centered around how human consciousness can be transferred between bodies with the use of “sleeves” in the 26th century. The protagonist, Takeshi Kovacs, is a former Envoy, someone who fought against the use of sleeves to only give people one life. He is resurrected by the use of sleeves after being “on ice”, meaning that his sleeve was intact, but died and his sleeve is stored away for life, because of Kovacs being an Envoy.

Laurens Bancroft is a wealthy businessman from the Bay Area who resurrected Kovacs, after 250 years. He gives Kovacs a chance at life again, if he solves a mystery, Bancroft’s apparent murder. After Kovacs is released, he is vigilantly watched by Kristin Ortega.

All these aspects should culminate in an interesting sci-fi murder mystery, but never come to fruition. The main problem with the show is it’s boring, I’ve never felt when watching that I have to watch another episode and binge the show.

A common complaint is that the acting is as hammy as pig roast. At times, it is so overblown that it takes me out of the show. It seems so unrealistic at times. The supporting cast is also pretty small, and there are none that really stand out as great characters. I don’t care about any of them, nor the main characters. They’re all just mediocre, which sums up how I feel about the show.

In addition, the show feels filmed in such a tight, small space. In the first episodes, you’ll be treated to wide shots of cities and Kovacs walking around a section of it, but fail to experience the expansiveness of the city in almost every episode afterwards. Most of the scenes take place in four places, Bancroft’s home, the police station, Kovacs’s hotel room, and Ortega’s apartment.

At least, one positive is how the visuals and art direction look stunning. It feels like I was put into a time machine and was set for the future. They pull off flying cars very well.

Altered Carbon is the pinnacle of mediocrity, not good, but not bad, just meh. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, even the hardest of hardcore sci-fi fans, because I feel like this would be a waste of your time. There a plenty of better shows out there in every genre, so why watch this one? There’s nothing special about it. Unless this show can pull off an amazing Season 2, I don’t see it coming out of the pit of mediocrity.

Rating: C

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