The Netflix Sci-Fi Thriller Dystopia Series Doesn’t Deserve To Be Forgotten

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

The sci-fi thriller dystopian series Altered Carbon is streaming on Netflix. Created by Laeta Kalogridis, the series first premiered on the streaming platform on February 2, 2018, and ran for two seasons before getting canceled, despite receiving positive reviews. While the series didn’t get enough viewership for the streaming giant to keep it running, this pulpy cyberpunk series deserves to be remembered.

Based on Richard K. Morgan’s novel, Altered Carbon is a cyberpunk fantasyland that delves into a dystopian future where consciousness is transferable and mortality takes on a whole new meaning.

Altered Carbon Embraced Weird Sci-FI

Set 360 years in the future, Altered Carbon introduces viewers to a world where consciousness can be stored on cortical stacks, implantable devices located in the vertebrae. Death becomes temporary as individuals, known as “sleeves,” can transfer their consciousness between bodies. Takeshi Kovacs, a former soldier and sole survivor of the Envoys, finds himself pulled out of prison to solve a murder—a task that leads him down a rabbit hole of conspiracy and intrigue.

Netflix’s Most Expensive Series At The Time

Altered Carbon was a long-anticipated adaptation of Richard K. Morgan’s novel, first optioned for a feature film before finding its home on Netflix. Kalogridis helmed the project, tackling the complexities of Morgan’s R-rated material and crafting a visually stunning and narratively intricate series. With a budget rumored to surpass even that of Game of Thrones, the show spared no expense in bringing its futuristic world to life.

The series was produced in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, utilizing a diverse array of locations to portray the sprawling metropolis of Bay City. From the University of British Columbia Rose Garden to the iconic Marine Building, each setting was creatively designed to bring the world of Altered Carbon to life. 

Story-Based Re-Casting That Makes The Show Better

Altered Carbon featured a talented ensemble cast, with Joel Kinnaman portraying the brooding and complex Takeshi Kovacs in the first season. Anthony Mackie took over the role in the second season, creating a unique interpretation of the character. Alongside Kinnaman and Mackie, standout performances include Martha Higareda as the determined detective Kristin Ortega and Chris Conner as the enigmatic AI hotel manager, Poe.

A Hit With Ciritcs

Altered Carbon received generally positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, with praise for its ambitious world-building, stunning visuals, and thought-provoking themes. However, the series also faced criticism for its sometimes convoluted plotlines and excessive violence.

Despite its dedicated fan base and critical acclaim, Altered Carbon was canceled after two seasons—a decision that disappointed many fans who had hoped to see the story continue. Netflix cited viewership versus renewal costs as the primary factor behind the cancellation.

The Anime Spin-Off

While the series was canceled, the Altered Carbon universe continued to expand with the release of an anime film titled Altered Carbon: Resleeved. Serving to deepen the mythology of the series, the film explored new storylines and introduced audiences to a different artistic interpretation of the cyberpunk world.

The World Of Altered Carbon On Netflix

With its richly imagined universe, compelling characters, and thought-provoking themes, Altered Carbon is a cyberpunk series that deserves to be remembered. While the journey of Takeshi Kovacs may have come to an end on screen, the legacy of Altered Carbon lives on as the series is still available to stream on Netflix.