Altered Carbon. A No BS review

Television is a uniquely hard medium for sci-fi.
Hard to write, script, directing and acting mess-ups can cause irrevocable damage
Frequently, to fake a cult popularity, the show embeds too many coded self-references to. It makes for good fan blogging but it devalues the audience intelligence by creating unneeded complexity and click bait.
It has to be ‘new viewer’ friendly so every episode is burdened with explaining itself
Many different ‘types’ of viewers want many different types of shows. Some ppl like visuals and the plot is secondary. Some ppl want constant action, a frenetic experience. Some ppl just want to see pretty people in space
When done right, sci-fi should be elegant and economical, time is scarce. The viewer’s creativity is indulged to ‘fill in the blanks’. But, sci-fi in a bad form is excruciating (for me) – my mind stumbles on flaws. I am intolerant.
Sci-fi anthologies won’t hook a viewer to come back next week, that story they liked will no longer be there.
Black Mirror is good sci-fi. Each episode its own universe, throughout is a narrative string;
Dread of undemocratic technologies. Instead of tools being manufactured by people to achieve specific public goals, the technologies are introduced without any specific aim (besides making private money) & end up manufacturing the public that uses them by warping its behavior.
Altered Carbon. A no BS review
The featured image in this post is the marketing for Altered Carbon. It is a man looking out onto a sci-fi’d city. He is more puzzled about ‘this’ future than anybody watching this show. We’ve been here before.
The show begins with a voiceover explaining its present. It’s insulting to the (this) viewer because it doesn’t do me the courtesy of allowing me to ‘figure it out’.  Its opening moments have cheated me.
There are many examples of its nutritional deficiency.
People can jump bodies. Bla, so what? That in itself is just some future novelty. Their minds are backed up unto this gelatin material in the back of their neck, if you stop that device, that person dies forever.  Why is it such a large storage device and, why do these very ordinary people have the privilege of owning it?
Oligarchs have a different storage system, their ‘self’ gets backed up into the, ahem, cloud. An oligarch is murdered. It just so happens that it occurred in that small 10 MINUTE lapse while being refreshed. The future is indeed an idiocracy.
The show settles into what it is, lazy visuals, sets that look familiar and lighting seen in every Saw movie.
Even the costumes have been seen before. The star wears the retro black, collar up. Oh, and how did they choose this men’s fitnessy leading man?
There’s this long torture scene, hero is on table, villain has thick Russian accent, and the evildoer two-tone hair. Hero breaks free and, like every violent scene before it, does the John Wick.
Worst of all is that the show has no nucleus of a belief about the future, about how people are/interact/touch their environment. If I can have one storage of ‘me’, can I also have thousands? How does that change our humanity? Do we all become Mr. Smith’s of the Matrix. This show will never ask the fun questions.
“Give us money, we’ll give you a show”
Altered Carbon is a sci-fi without an operating system. All hardware, no instructions.

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