Monday, February 12, 2018

Altered Carbon - Out of the Past

Adapted from the science fiction novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan, the new Netflix series Altered Carbon introduces us to super-solider Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman, and played in flashbacks by Byron Mann) awoken 250 years after his death in the new body paid for by a wealthy degenerate (James Purefoy) who expects his recent acquisition to solve a murder attempt on the billionaire's life. You see in the future, a body may die but the memories (housed in a "stack" at the base of the spine) can be plugged into a new "skin" allowing those with enough money to effectively live forever, as long as the stack itself is never compromised. The concept proves to be a little goofy is spots, but there's enough here (at least so far) to keep my interest.

The first episode introduces us to Kovacs and the new world around him which we see through his eyes. The are some obvious pulls from various sci-fi sources (Firefly, Demolition Man, Elysium, and others), but there's a strong enough spin to allow the first couple episodes of Altered Carbon to feel like its own unique world. Despite his initial disinterest, our mercenary (regarded in the future as a terrorist like all his long-dead allies) decides to remain and accept his new lease on life. Martha Higareda co-stars as Police Lietenant Kristin Ortega whose distrust of both Kovacs and his employer will be a common theme in the first few episodes as she continually inserts herself into their affairs. It will take a little longer than necessary (basically half the season) to explain her interest Kovacs and why she cares so much about what happens to him.

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