Just Watched …

AlteredCarbon

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 …

 

9 comments

    • PORTER
      ORTERP
      RTERPO
      TERPOR
      ERPORT
      RPORTE

      !!!

      Hi hun. 😉
      what you mean with watch it till end?
      Will I get some bad surprises?

      I noticed some, maybe significant changes to the novel, but nothing that would change the whole plot of the franchise, like they did in GItS. What I don’t like is that they obviously merged the two greatest influences on Takeshi, the elusive Quellchrist Falconer, and his bosslady at the Envoy Corps, Virginia Vidaura, into one character. A bit questionable since Quell was long shot out of the sky over Harlan’s World and ded before Tak was even born! Far as I know they’ve never met. And if they met it would’ve been on opposing sides of the battlefield. Tak, as an envoy of the Protectorate, tasked with suppressing Quell’s Uprising. Enoys are like the CIA of the future, you know? Enemies of humanity, tools of the rich and mighty.
      You read the third novel? In Woken Furies, they all come and fight together against the elite of Harlan’s World.

      I have no idea what Netflix plans to do with that franchise in the long run, if they want to make series of the whole trilogy. They next two books are much more space opera than the little crime show Altered Carbon and looking to be VERY expensive productions.

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      • no Orcsie my dear. neither did i read any of the books or even knew about them, nor am i watching it with your analytic skills. For me it just went from WOW awesome….over omg serious?…..to ok thats annoying…..to YAAAAAWN. and for sure it is made to have several seasons what ruins every good serial. And thats actually the point. A great great story, more and more poorly told and stretched to hell to get ready for season 6,7,8

        Liked by 1 person

        • \o/ Hoohoo Potty! \o/
          Listen hun, I don’t know the plans Netflix might have with the Kovacs trilogy. But if they go on like this, althought it’s gonna be hard to film the next two books – coz of SPAAAACE! and nuke annihilation n stuff – anyway, if they go on like this the whole thing will have 30 episodes. 10 for Altered Carbon and 10 for each, Broken Angels and Woken Furies. So no endlessly spinning tale, like an American soapie or so.
          Oh well, Morgan might feel inspired to give us some more Kovacz novels … you never know. 😉

          But following this universe’s logic we won’t see the same actors again, since Tak is in different sleeves and on different planets in every book. In broken Angels he’s switching sleeves in the middle of the book since the first part they spent in an area that was just freshly nuked 2 weeks prior. See, this whole thing grows by multitudes, we’re even supposed to meet the ghosts of a past Martian civilisation and visit one of their ships! Whoa, exciting!

          Well, we’ve watched 5 episodes by now, I broke down in the middle of 5, still not 100% auf’m Damm, and I can’t find any scenes that were stretched. They are keeping up a good pace while also sticking remarkably close to the source material. Of course the budget shows in the choice of always the same studio locations and replacing the San Francisco bay and Pacific ocean with a little pond in the studio’s backlot. That gives the whole thing a rather claustrophobic feel.

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    • Oh whoa!
      You’re so right, after epi 5 it starts to fall apart rather rapidly. Needless plot changes, flashbacks to Tak’s past as it never happened in the novels, total misrepresentation of Tak’s probably greatest influence ever, his envoy corps instructor/drill sargeant Virginia Vidaura as part of Quell’s rebel forces, which were in itself totally misrepresented as well. She had totally different goals, the uprising was aimed against oppression be the protectorate, not against the resleeving program, and many other things.

      In the Altered Carbon novel the villain is another woman going by the name of Reileen Kawahara, in Netflixen’s adaptation they gave Tak a sister called Rei who’s a meaniepooface as well … and kills Quell (a job that would be done by Martian sentinel satellites in the novels and was more or less an accident). Well, it’s all over the place.

      The whole “The 100”-like story arc in episode 6 is just a confused mess. No wonder, I’ve just learned they borrowed half the cast of this scene is from The 100. 😦 Yikes, a neighbourhood you don’t wanna be seen in. Too much stuff tried to compress into a 10 minutes segment, info dump with lots of action but we’ve learned nothing. This excursion into the distant past didn’t help Tak with his current case. It only explained something that wasn’t even supposed to be in the show!

      Richard K. Morgan wrote 3 pretty engaging, nicely structured and very clever cyber punk novels around the Takeshi Kovacz character. The books were top notch. Why did that Laeta Kalogridis woman think her changes would make it any better?

      After episode 5 the whole show undergoes a total shapeshift and becomes inconsequential and aimlessly meanders thru a less and less thrilling story. It really starts to look and feel like The 100, a show so bad nobody should ever watch it.

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  1. told ya, Orcsie, told ya. From episode 7 it really gets worse, and 10 is a total anoyance. And there are single scenes that really made me go: jeeeeesus. This scene at the beach with his love the drill sergeant, she is sleeping after sex and he writes a bloody POEM in her book of dead soldiers.He is not only a big fighter but although a poet and real romantic, AND both are 50 yard away from camp and dont get infected by the virus because “too far away”. Come the fuck on. Or his sister, who killed a army of fighters alone with a sword but needs 7 Avatars to quiet Sergeant Ortega. Nope and NOPE. But till episode 6 a decent serial anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even if it’s “decent”, Potty, that’s not good enuff. I am not alone in regarding the orginal source as some of the wildest, most intelligentestest and bestest of what the scifi genre has to offer, and so I think it would deserve a better adaptation. Ms. Kalogridis changes stuff around just for change’s sake, and brings all the characters down to the new Hollywood trend of acting dumb. I guess listing Mr. Morgan as “consultant” is just a title and he has never been asked about shit.

      Anywayyyyys, the stuff that you describe isn’t in the novel, and I guess not suposed to be in the movie neither. It’s just a quick – not a fix but a – crutch to dump some info on us in the most stupid way. As I said Kovacz and Falconer have never met, they live in different centuries ffs. And now they are lovers???

      And his sister? The original Kovacz has no siblings of any kind. All these figures are conglomerates of various other, better fleshed out, characters in the novel. The way Falconer dies in the series is a bit how Reileen Kawahara dies in the book, killed by Kovacz. Falconer and Vidaura are not acting personal but only appear as quotes, as mottos for Takeshi to live by. They both appear in the third novel, which plays for a huge part on Tak’s home of Harlan’s Planet and brings the whole thing to a satisfying end by closing the circle.

      Anyhoo, I guess with all the nonsensical changes Kalogridis introduced by now, this franchise isn’t supposed to find any end but might as well go on for 100 seasons. You’ve been absolutely right, Bärchen. 😉

      Like

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