So, I finally got the chance to sit down and watch this series. Netflix has become one of the best places for Original Series in recent years. Taking some story or idea and giving it form in a way that only HBO and Showtime seem willing to try and match. Occasionally SyFy will get something truly special like “The Expanse” but even then, it’s few and far between. New and Interesting are always welcome in my opinion.
And “Altered Carbon” is definitely a new and interesting take on an idea that has been discussed in many different movies and books over the years. The question of what defines an existence. The idea of what makes a man a man has been asked in many films and stories over the years, including Blade Runner, Dark City, Frankenstein, and many others. Is there some metaphysical core that exists at the center of our being. Or are we nothing more than a collection of memory and events, lost to time when the end comes.
In Altered Carbon, the technology behind it is made clear in Episode One. Every human in the galaxy is implanted with a cortical stack at the age of one. This Stack records and collects everything a person is over their lifetime, and when the time comes can be used to transfer that persons conscious mind into a new Body.
The Story follows Takeshi Kovacs, a former rebel turned mercenary who spent two hundred and fifty years on ice, where his mind was locked away and inactive. He is only released through the influence of an extremely wealthy person by the name of Laurens Bancroft for one reason, discover the identity of Bancroft’s murderer.
The series goes from there, leaping back and forth across time, memory, and virtual reality to show us a world where The Extremely Rich no longer fear Death. The thing is that much of that which caters to the needs and cravings of these people are shown to have robbed them potentially of something that defined them as human long ago.
There is a lot of metaphysical, religious, and philosophical ground for one to run around in. Thing is it always comes down to one thing. What defines us as Human? How long is too long a life? Are we nothing more than the sum of memory? Or do we have a soul which leaves this realm at the moment of death?
I say watch the series and enjoy it as it is… But be warned that there is a TON of full frontal nudity and it’s all in on all sides. There is one season on Netflix right now, but I’m not sure if there will be another. It is certainly set up to where a new season could be developed.