Altered Carbon. And what can I say apart from it being good. Very good even. Oustanding maybe not but better than expected. It’s nice to see the Americans haven’t forgotten how to produce great audiovisual entertainment. In these times of Hollywood fuking up more often than doing good, and even ruining big huge franchises with stupid ideas and decisions it’s the good old TV Series format jumping in to save the day.
I guess I said it before, lately many more cinema movies should have been produced as TV Series or at least mini-series. Look at the audiences, mostly binging a whole series over a single weekend, and still Hollywood probably claims our attentions spans are too short. Or what is keeping you from giving good material the lovingly applied serial touch?
So, Hollywood, don’t come to me, crying about Netflix and Amazon having more success than you. It’s because they are better than you. And you’ve brought it on yourselves, poor tossers!
Okay, back to Altered Carbon, one of my favourite novels of the last few years. I don’t wanna spoil any content so this ain’t a real review, just an observation. And as far as I could see from the first two episodes that I just watched, Netflix did almost everything right with the TV adaptation.
They stuck very close to the original novel and only changed details for easier filming. They didn’t needlessly change whole plotpoints or even the basic meaning behind the novels around Takeshi Kovacs. Very good.
I’d wished for not so very science fiction-y, overdone sets and locations. One can see it were obviously budget decisions to film most if not all of the story in studios, while the novel contains more outdoorish locations. But ok, this is Netflix, not big studio Hollywood. So I’m kinda happy with the outcome. This is as good as one can expect and production value is very high.
The next point is complicated and probably my strongest critique: I know Altered Carbon and the two other novels of the Kovacs trilogy by heart so I knew what was what. Maybe for an illiterate TV consumer the storyline was a bit TMI. It’s indeed a lot of stuff they throw at the audience to congest. And adding to the information overkill a lot of flashbacks, some even to a younger Takeshi in his original Japanese sleeve. I guess many, particularly older, spectators will be overwhelmed by Altered Carbon.
And I didn’t like how many “normal” looking actors they used. In a future were a Czech-Japanese character like our hero Takeshi Kovacz is the norm and the novels are overripe with the most abstruse body modifications, why is the TV production so cowardly clinging onto the girl/boy next door beauty image? Also other anomalies, like kids in adult sleeves, or the other way round, are just very briefly mentioned in Altered Carbon.
Didn’t the production designers not notice how already nowadays, in the very early 21st century, we have many many blue-haired young ladies running around? And they aren’t punx or photo models but bank tellers, technical assistants and nurses. Compared to a normal city of 2017, Altered Carbon’s Bay City is on one side technically totally overdone, on the human side rather boring. I really really wished for more freaks!
But anyway, I had a lot of fun and will probably download and watch episode 3 right now. Yes, I’m hooked, I’m addicted. Even better. Altered Carbon in the Netflix version is what GItS should’ve and could’ve been.
The cast is great. Joel Kinnaman (Takeshi Kovacz) and James Purefoy (Laurens Bancroft) are believable in their hired gun/PI and his boss relationship, Martha Hilgareda is the right type to play Kristin Ortega but she misses the certain Cyberpunk approach. Tamara Taylor is almost too beautiful and arrogant as Oumou Prescott, only Kristin Lehman, as Miriam Bancroft, is neither beautiful nor talented enough to fill her role with the needed creepy personality. She’s – like her hubby – supposedly a meth(usaleah), a billionaire, wearing the most expensive custom made designer sleeve with all sorts of sex pheromones built in. Come on Netflix, couldn’t you find an at least averagely pretty girl to play the role of a spoiled brat like her?
Netflix can’t set a foot wrong right now. They are doing exactly the right things at the right time. They take interesting material and produce TV series from it. Let’s be honest, in the 2000’s nobody likes to go to the cinema anymore, as they are always too cold, too loud and just general nuisances. Watching a well-done TV production, maybe even binging a whole season of a series in one weekend, in the comfort of our homes is the new way to consume audiovisual entertainment. And we have streaming services like Netflix to thank for supplying us with high class material on almost Hollywood value. Sometimes even better. Much better.
Ok, episode 3’s download is done now … cya laterz …