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Review: 'Altered Carbon' joins an old-school detective mystery with action-packed sci-fi

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Altered Carbon

Friday, Netflix released a new original series titled “Altered Carbon.”

I had seen the trailer for it beforehand on Netflix, but it didn’t really explain much of the premise of the show other than it looked like a cool sci-fi action series.

The series is based off of the 2002 novel with the same title, by Richard K. Morgan. At this point in the distant future, humanity has been able to program the human consciousness into something called a stack, which is surgically implanted at the base of the neck when a child is 1 year old.

The story begins when Takeshi Kovacs, the last of an elite terrorist group, is given a new body, or sleeve as they are called in the show, after serving 250 years in prison for his crimes. He is hired by the richest man in the universe, Laurens Bancroft, to solve a murder. The murder, coincidentally, is Bancroft’s murder.

With his freedom on the line, Takeshi takes the job and is launched into a roller coaster of a mystery with gun fights, an AI named Poe after Edgar Allan Poe, a virtual sex club, religious radicals and the cost on humanity after living for centuries.

“Altered Carbon” is amazing. It really is a binge-worthy show. The plot grabs the audience by the throat and pulls it into the world the characters live in. The main characters are three-dimensional with human motives such as greed or survival, and all of the characters are diverse in both appearance and personality.

There are times when the plot did get a bit confusing due to the fact that at a certain point, Takeshi is working the case assigned to him, as well as another case he thinks will help solve the first one. It took about half an episode to make that connection, but there were no other moments of confusion that I had through the rest of the season.

I was prepared for some violence, but there are some pretty graphic scenes of a guy being shot with so many bullets all that remained was pulp, to a virtual torture session as Takeshi is tortured for information. There is also full frontal nudity, both male and female (yay, equality), and a few graphic sex scenes.

With such a great buildup of suspense and action, I was worried that the ending would be disappointing, and while it wasn’t the ending that I wanted, the ending left the audience satisfied yet ready for a possible Season 2.