Altered Carbon - Myth-Weavers


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Altered Carbon

Altered Carbon

Just finished the first season! What'd you all think?

Personally, I found it to be the perfect B-movie-style sci-fi show. It had lots of fi, a little sci and a ton of nudity. Not bad for a show I wasn't expecting based on a novel I never heard of

I really enjoyed it. I think it's very likely that we'll see another season. They seemed to set it up for exactly that. I think it's well-set to explore some of the same scenes as that Bruce Willis movie, Surrogates, but better and deeper, since it's got more time to maneuver around.

I could see a really great three-season arc that goes something like...

I'm torn - I'm a fan of the original book series and the changes made in the adaptation I feel smack of unnecessary meddling in a lowest-common-denominator sort of way? In particular the toning down the harsher edges of Kovacs' character and re-stamping him into the classic Hollywood antiheroic mold seemed counterproductive. It's arguable that emotional arc of the three books in the series end with him at that point whereas he starts as a badly damaged burnt-out sociopath occasionally mystified by the few good impulses he has left . . . all of which makes for a more interesting and compelling protagonist than Antihero 2.0, y'know? Throw in the rewrites of the story background making even semi-faithful adaptations of either Broken Angels or Woken Furies as written impossible and I end up very, very conflicted because, well, the thing of it is, it's not bad. It's enjoyable, mostly well paced with gorgeous visuals for a TV series and some killer musical selections to go along with the fair-to-good action setpieces. Had I not known the books first my complaints would have been a
Kinnaman is capable of great work, if the Killing is any indication, but the writing doesn't really let him stretch except for episode 4 and he feels largely wasted in the role. Again, the fight scenes averaged out to OK with the null-gravity one being the worst of the lot. It also leans on Bladerunner a bit too hard for it's visual vocabulary at times. Then again, I might just be burnt out after 2049.

Oh, and the opening credits. It worked once or twice but seriously Netflix needs to dial back the artistic pretensions on their series credit sequences a notch or two as it's starting to become a noticeable Thing They Do. It was aiming for the sort of visceral symbolic minimalism of Westworld and managed to muddle the matter until it became pretty but uninteresting.

What's worse is it's a missed opportunity. Compare it to the other sci-fi juggernaut in the room, The Expanse. It's opening credits provides a visual grounding in what the world of the story is while setting an emotional tone. Seems like a wasted opportunity here when so much of the setting does need a bit of explaining . . .
bit minor and otherwise I would have gone away from watching it happy. Unfortunately, knowing what I know and having read what I've read I finish the last episode and find myself unfulfilled and mildly irritated, despite it being an otherwise enjoyable ride.

Now, on the unmitigated plus side I'm kinda thrilled to see the Quellcrist Falconer in the flesh, even if she's been changed a bit. Her dialogues are some of the best fictional quotations around.

Yeah, having not read the books seems like a rare positive this time around for me.

Originally Posted by Raistlinmc View Post
Yeah, having not read the books seems like a rare positive this time around for me.
After reading Cirlot's post, I was thinking the same thing. I'm enjoying it. I guess in some cases ignorance is bliss.

Honestly, I'm probably being too harsh - I mean, off the top of my head there were changes I did like: the
they were maybe a bit on the nose with the final shot of him this season but, well, Poe. It's nice to see gothic romantacism alive and well.
hotel/Poe is treated with much more verve and character in the series than he is in the books, and there's a very visceral awfulness to what's going on in Clouds that while present in a form in the books takes on a very real disquiet when put onscreen. Like I said, taken in isolation it works.

I think I might have been spoiled by The Expanse, honestly: that series managed to look at the whole body of work and weave the best of several books together in each season building to the next whereas Altered Carbon focused on building a self contained narrative for Season 1 from the source material. Which makes sense, Season 2 wasn't a sure thing and the other books are divergent enough that the level of groundwork and foreshadowing required for even one of them would be stupid expensive for a payoff that wasn't anywhere near guaranteed.

To bullet point it, I think my big objection here is that I feel like this could have been great - the sort of once a decade thunderbolt of a TV show that strikes out of the blue and changes the shape of it's genre. What we got instead is a darn good story and ten hours worth of entertainment. That's not exactly a crime against the source material so much as me just being an over-entitled media consumer

Fair enough.

I never compare a book to a tv show/movie, or vice versa. Luckily, not a problem with AC as I never read the books.

I found Reileen's arc to be a little too convenient, but needs of the story and all that. Mickey's arc also somewhat vexed me- why'd he bother appearing in the final episode at all?

Otherwise, I quite enjoyed it. Poe was delightful. Grandma visiting was a lot of fun. How the stories wove together at least surprised me a bit.

Agreed on Poe. He was fantastic.

I've only seen the first episode so far so I might go not read this thread until I'm done.

Having played Eclipse Phase, which draws an awful lot on the book, it's a teeny bit surreal seeing that in film form. I've not read the book itself though so I've nothing to compare it to. It's pretty cool to see people resleeving and popping stacks "for real" on TV though.


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