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Netflix Show: Altered Carbon

27 Feb

I liked it.

A scifi show produced by Netflix based on a book. I believe, anyway. Classic high concept science fiction. The kind I enjoy the most. Basic world concept is thus: Far future. Mankind has spread across many worlds. Never made clear how many except ‘lots’. Flying cars. Cybernetics. The whole nine yards. The most important scifi device is something called the Stack. Which is basically an electronic soul. It’s a piece of tech they put in your spine at the base of your skull/neck that is where your brain is. As long as the stack is intact you are fine. Can swap bodies, get a new one if your current one gets killed, etc. Digital brain upload, basically. Meat bodies are called sleeves. More money you have, the better sleeves you can get. Rich people live forever, poor people don’t. Economic inequality kind of a big facet of the story. Body swapping is easy as changing clothes. It is a cool concept that the show pokes at in several different ways. I think the story in general doesn’t do as much as it could with the concept, but a lot of the places it falls short are very human ways that people in general would not be comfortable with.

Basic premise of the show is that a terrorist from 200 years ago is popped out of prison (which is basically a locked drawer for his stack in a high security facility, given a high-quality sleeve, and then brought to one of the rich and powerful who needs a job done. Needs his own murder solved. Twists and turns and lots of interesting bits and pieces. It seems pretty complicated but at the end it actually all turns out to be pretty simple. Well, at the most basic level. The trip is certainly more important than the destination is what I’m saying. I can some up the solution to the big mystery in a single paragraph but that would skip all the nuance and backstories and emotional depth the story winds its way through from start to finish.

I plan to pick up the book sometime soon. It was a good story and I hope the book goes into more details about certain things that didn’t get much coverage in the show. Like the artificial intelligence hotel and other AIs he interacts with once or twice. Or the source of the main character’s super-detective powers. The show focuses more of the emotional and personal parts of the main character’s background when I wanted more of the nuts and bolts of the cool training and ideas touched on there.

So, final thoughts? I would recommend it for anyone who likes science fiction. Would I call it great? Nah. Still it does some interesting things with the various bits of worldbuilding and the characters almost all have nuance and at least a bit of depth to them. So at no point did I feel bored by anyone on screen. Except maybe the rich and powerful guy that wakes up and ‘hires’ the main character. He’s more or less a stereotype.

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Posted by on February 27, 2018 in TV Shows

 

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