What Altered Carbon Says about Humanity

Are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes even with advanced technology?


I fell hard for this one at first sight. Season 1 came out of the gate ready to play ball. It was the perfect setup for a great first season between the acting, complexity of the plot, and the setting. Now, I’ve heard rumblings about the second season but for this review, I’m going to look at season 1 in a vacuum.

Many of us think that we would love a plot that gives us everything when we want it. However, Altered Carbon dares us to put that aside and let the story come to us. In the beginning, we are filled with so many questions: Who is Tekashi Kovac, what is this whole reincarnation technology, and mainly what in the heck is going on? However, the complexity of the storytelling adds to the allure of its plot. I love a plot that doesn’t give you the answers when you want them. Instead, it begs you to follow along to find the answers. That’s what makes the story worth telling as well as notably “binge-worthy”. On top of the multi-layered plot, it’s the acting that really sells this show. Starting with Joel Kinnaman, who plays Takeshi Kovac so well that you forget he’s even really acting at some points. He is equally matched in his acting abilities by Martha Higareda, who plays Kirstin Ortega the detective. While these two are certainly rounded out by a stellar cast, I think Joel and Martha are the ones who really bring it all together. They really make you believe it when there’s a crisis or they’re mad at one another to the point that you feel the tension between the characters. This show drives home the idea that good acting with a good script goes hand in hand to make a show worth your time. Without both working in tandem to create the story in an elaborate and defining way, you might as well be filming a hallmark tv show.

Den of Geek

I’ll leave you with one last point that I think lies underneath the main storyline here. Behind all of the dazzling futuristic cities, technology, and awesome action scenes, what I mainly enjoyed about this futuristic dystopian setting is what it says about human nature. We see similar problems in the Altered Carbon universe that we do in our world today. So at its root, it begs the question: Has human nature doomed us to continue making the same mistakes no matter what technological advances humankind creates?



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