Altered Carbon: An Innovation in Streaming


Courtesy of Netflix

Ashton T. Livingston, entertainment section

Altered Carbon is Netflix’s newest and biggest show. The ten-episode season takes up some great Sci-Fi ideas and settings and tackles some big ideas. The idea of the show is that in the far future we can live on forever by downloading our conscious onto a stack that slides into a new body that’s called a sleeve. The more wealth you have the better sleeve you have and if you’re poor you’re either “left on ice” or get a used body. With this idea of transferring through bodies it tackles ideas of race, age, and gender. It asks the question; if are you still the same person even if you aren’t in your own body. Along with all of these ideas comes an interesting mystery. Who killed Laurens Bancroft?

The show has a huge budget as evident by its impressive sets and massive CG landscapes. The landscapes are extremely impressive and play well into the show giving an idea of endless possibilities. The show Itself has a very simple premise, it’s a detective story. But the way it’s done is so well planned out. Small clues and ideas are planted in the first episode that you might forget about but the show doesn’t. The show’s writing is so smart and thats in part to the novel its based on. The dialogue feels real to this world and it brings up many questions about us as humans.

The shows sci-fi elements are very hardcore. The show often expresses ideas of religion and the idea of bringing someone back from ‘the dead’. It explores ideas of class and the constant grip it has on people. The rich see the poor as their play things. This idea in the show makes for an interesting conversation in the real world. If you love the ideas of a hard sci-fi like Blade Runner 2049 than this show is right up your alley.

The visuals are very impressive as I’ve stated before. The CGI (Computer Generated Images) can be a little cheesy at times but are more often than not, they’re pretty good. The design of San Francisco 300 years from now is grim and full of neon. The show takes obvious inspiration from Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner in its set design with so many shots incorporating neon lights in some way. The character design even takes large ques from Blade Runner.

Altered Carbon may be full of beautiful scenery but it’s also full of splendid action and gore. The show goes hardcore with its violence. It doesn’t shy away from showing blood and the nitty gritty of gore. With this gore /often comes a lot of nudity. Like immense amounts. This show doesn’t shy away from anything. It is extremely adult. Hence the TV-MA rating.

Altered Carbon is a great show. It incorporates everything I love about Sci-fi and more. Whether it be the themes, the visuals, or the technology this show is pure sci-fi. This season was amazing, i hope to see more. Altered Carbon is an innovation in streaming. I give it a B+.