Netflix's cyberpunk epic, Altered Carbon


Netflix is bringing Richard K. Morgan's classic cyberpunk SF novel ALTERED CARBON (the first in his TAKESHI KOVACS trilogy) to the screen.
Shooting wrapped a few months ago and today the first images from the show leaked, showing some locations in and around Bay City.

ALTERED CARBON is one of Netflix's most expensive shows, rivalling SENSE8, MARCO POLO and THE CROWN in cost (not to mention being more expensive than early seasons of GAME OF THRONES). The cast includes Joel Kinnaman, Dichen Lachman, Martha Higareda and the legend that is James Purefoy.

The current plan is for Netflix to screen this in February 2018, but they may drop that back as the CG and post-production on this story is immense.

If the series is successful it will continue (presumably with a recast lead: Kovacs transfers his personality between different bodies in every story), with Netflix planning a five-season run incorporating original stories and adaptations of the later two novels in the series, BROKEN ANGELS and WOKEN FURIES.

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Already loving it.

Ooooo, ahhhhh...

Now I just need CD Projekt RED to finish their Cyberpunk 2077 RPG.

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Apparently it's starting to come together and they should start showing stuff from the game next year.

I'm certainly intrigued by it.

Netflix have released FIVE short teasers for the series. The first is an in-universe advert for the new "sleeves" (genetically-engineered bodies), the other four appear to be snippets from the series showing off the CGI.

All I can say is that these are, easily, the best visual effects ever created for television. The one of the car ascending through the clouds to the building above it is next-level stuff.

Also, shooting the guy through the head through the wall suggests they are really not going to be holding back on the violence and the adult content from the book.




Release date is 2 February 2018.

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Sounds great! Can't wait! :-D

The three novels are really different from each other, but the POV character is the same, even if his body (bodies?) isn't. So it's really neat.

I remember the first novel is different, noir-ish

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If I remember correctly, the first was noir, the second an alien conspiracy/abandoned spaceship exploration, and the third was a squad-level war/insurgency novel.

Second trailer.

This trailer is from the POV of Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) and explores the backstory.

Behind the scenes video.

This is pretty good. It explains a bit more of the backstory and the underlying premise of consciousness transference.

Netflix's final "big" trailer.

This one outlines the premise and shows the level of action in the series as well as the massive scale of the cyberpunk backdrop.

Also, Nine Inch Nails soundtrack because they're cutting it old-skool.

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The pilot is being directed by Miguel Sapochnik who also directed the episode ‘Battle of the Bastards’ in HBO’s little indie art house series, Game of Thrones.

Netflix doubling down on the marketing (especially for the Latino market) with a feature on Martha Higareda.

Early reviews are a bit mixed. Everyone seems to agree the first episode is the best, but some say the show falters for a bit and then comes back strong in the back five. Others say the first half is better. Different views on the pacing as well. Interesting to see the final result.

If you're planning on watching Altered Carbon, also keep an eye out for Doug Jones's Mute on Netflix premiering February 23rd. It's a sci-fi cyperpunk-ish sort-of successor to Jones's Moon (which is also definitely worth a watch).

Moon is one of my favorite suspense films. It's so good.

Seen 1 episode, very interesting start, lot of familiar things too mostly from a game called Eclipse Phase, which may have gotten them from whatever books this is based on.

Gonna be interesting to see where this goes.

I consume shows way too fast sometimes... I just finished it.

Overall I liked it, but the first half of the season was better than the second half IMO.

I'm four episodes in, and greatly enjoying it. They've built upon the original story beautifully, especially in exploration of transhumanist themes. Loving the visual nods to Bladerunner as well.

Greylurker wrote:

Seen 1 episode, very interesting start, lot of familiar things too mostly from a game called Eclipse Phase, which may have gotten them from whatever books this is based on.

Gonna be interesting to see where this goes.

It's based on the novel "Altered Carbon," by Richard K. Morgan. Publication date about 7 years prior to Eclipse Phase, and likely a primary inspiration point for it.

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Richard K. Morgan has a couple great trilogies.

Eclipse Phase cites Morgan as an influence. Specifically the Takeshi Kovacs novels.

The Exchange

Wow. This show is awesome.

In the first part of the series it brings up a lot of heady topics of self, identity, and reality. It uses the technology to highlight the fragility of what we consider "identity" and how this can be manipulated and shattered. Up through around Episode 6-7, it keeps teasing these ideas and manipulating them in interesting ways.

Then episode 8 happens. The family drama with Kovacs sister was already building, but now it takes center stage. It becomes this ultra simplistic "power corrupts" narrative, surrounding extremely base desires of sex and power. Essentially the show's narrative is that identity is this super complex and fragile illusion that we build ourselves... in order to justify how we have sex and kill people. Basically it threw out everything it had built and said it didn't matter, because we're just primal creatures who want to f$+$ and murder.

Then, the season ends. Bancroft gives up without a fight, and the hero rides off into the digital sunset.

And Bancroft gives up in a way that makes him seem almost sympathetic, like he was a victim in all this. While his wife gets portrayed as this conniving b%&~# who yells at everyone. It just felt so passe and cliche. It felt like towards the end of shooting they realized they wanted a clean wrap up of the story, so they had it all tied up in a neat bow, but it was too neat. They're a bunch of rich freaks who can body swap at will, but they just let the cops put handcuffs on them? They've been warping society and bribing cops to cover up their crimes for centuries, but one murder pushes him over the edge? Then, having his memory of that murder destroyed leads him to want to give it all up, when he's created his whole life in order to perpetuate his existence forever?

The first 4-6 episodes are great. I'd almost recommend stopping there... maybe stop at episode 8. 9 and 10 kind of ruined it for me.

Also, the praetorians looked cool, until you realize the costume designers made it so they can't turn their heads. STOP MAKING SOLDIERS WHO CAN'T TURN THEIR HEADS.

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I just finished it too.

It was pretty good. They should keep a copy of your genome on your stack, so they can clone your body for you.

Binge watched it yesterday. Since I had never read the books had no basis to be critical. All I know is that Mark Anthony from Rome was in it and he is glorious to watch..he's an amazing presence. But I have to say that all the actors go way beyond phoning it in, so for me the acting made this show far better than it might have been.

Definite;y some slow parts but I enjoyed it overall and would watch a second season if they made it.

I dunno, I felt some of the acting wasn't very good. Sometimes the actors were good, but there were periods of inconsistency at best. Kinnaman way okay, but bland at times. Purefoy was fine, but kind of a limited role, his character was kinda of one dimensional, but he played it well. Higareda was awkward early, but got better IMO. Lachmann was boring IMO.

None of it so bad that they ruin it. The worst bits of acting weren't hard to gloss over, but I wouldn't hold this show up as an example of even above average TV acting.

Well, from point of view they took a genre I generally don't like and held my interest for 10 hours, which was something.

Have to agree that Kinnaman was bland, and the weakest actor. Which being the lead was a bit of a drag. I did think Higareda did a very good job, the character arc didn't surprise me but she held my interest the whole way through. Purefoy, maybe I am just a fanboy but he totally sold me on the character.

I spent half the show trying to remember where I had seen Lachmann before, and finally dawned on me ...Dollhouse.

I guess I am more enthused about the bit characters, for example, Higareda's grandmother..I thought the supporting cast did better than they they needed to be. Poe, the Police tech guy..

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I watched the first episode last night and I'm not impressed.

I'll give it one more episode before I decide whether or not to bail.

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Some of the actors really sold the different characters they were playing, particularly the tattooed guy who played Ortega's grandmother (among other people) and the dude who played Ava Elliot for awhile.

The actress who played Ortega, on the other hand, couldn't seem to lose the accent when playing someone else...

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Not everyone can be Enver Gjokaj or Tatiana Maslany!!! ;-)

The actress who played Ortega, on the other hand, couldn't seem to lose the accent when playing someone else...

Apparently she'd only recently started learning English, so in that light she did pretty well.

I spent half the show trying to remember where I had seen Lachmann before, and finally dawned on me ...Dollhouse.

She was also in THE 100 and AGENTS OF SHIELD.

Ortega... oh... Ortega! :) :) :)

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SmiloDan wrote:
Not everyone can be Enver Gjokaj or Tatiana Maslany!!! ;-)

Ooh, Enver-as-Topher, or Tatiana-as-*everyone* were just great!

So, thinking on the Envoy notion of casting into a new world, assembling a team of loyal locals, and then kind of using them and discarding them to further the Envoy mission leads me to think of how that concept could fit into a D&D/PF type setting. Outsiders, and not just evil dick outsiders, but even lawful or chaotic 'extremist' outsiders, could see mortal worlds like Golarion much the same way, and be willing to 'inspire and discard' mortals in their much bigger and longer-term 'big picture' battles over the future (and souls) of mankind.

The situation in Andoran, at least partially inspired by the actions of an Azata, could be analogous. Talandor sort of 'cast in' to Golarion, inspired some heroes and set up a revolution to promote the kind of government he thought should be in charge, and then left the locals to clean up, returning to the upper planes (Elysium?).

And he's a fairly benign example, I could see a Psychopomp or Protean or even Archon (and certainly a Devil or Kyton!), being much less concerned about notions of a 'greater good' or how many mortal eggs get broken in the making of this omelet.

And, digressing from my own Golarion-tangent, and back to the show, I find it interesting that Tak has this ideal of what kind of person the Envoy founder was, when, ironically, his *sister* is more accurately living the same sort of 'local people don't matter, take what is offered, use them to accomplish your goals and don't get attached' ethos the Envoy training focused on. He says that she's betrayed everything they stand for, and yet, she's embracing it in all it's callousness, and *he's* the one who is getting attached to the locals and veering away from his training.

Obviously his sister has also completely abandoned 'the mission' and joined the dark side, but it's interesting that if Tak fully embraced his training, and formed no attachments to the Elliots or Ortega or even Poe, he'd be more like his sister, in outlook, if not actions.

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Ortega is my new official crush.

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Hama wrote:
Ortega is my new official crush.

I always liked her attitude (except when she would refuse to dial it down and came across as crazypants obsessed to her co-workers), but once she got the arm and started totally abusing her new 'super-power,' I was officially in love. No angsting. No 'wah, I lost my arm!' Just badass dialed up to eleven.

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Also she is drop dead gorgeous.

Her bod is to re-sleeve for! :P

ALTERED CARBON renewed for a second season.

Anthony Mackie (from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where he plays Falcon) will play the re-sleeved Takeshi Kovacs. It's unclear at the moment if this season will adapt the second novel in the series, BROKEN ANGELS, or will tell an all-new story.

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