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Altered Carbon

fBB5EUTAOlNYFJyJQkF4lNdgoz3 Altered Carbon

In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen.Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats “existence” as something that can be bought and sold.

This is the first series I watched from beginning to end in the new 4k resolution. It’s a pretty series and Netflix has a stable enough compression and broadcast system that I have no complaints about the technology itself. The series is amazing as well, with some pretty fun concepts that they use to build their world, taking them to their logical conclusion. There’s several universes out there (lookin at you Star Trek) that have technology in them that would mean the literal end of the universe if used incorrectly (time travel, nanotech, et al) but they never really address it. It’s more window dressing for the story than it is the story itself. Not so much in Altered Carbon, which has just a single new piece of tech that has changed humanity: the ability to spiritually live forever. They explore what this means, how the meaning changes, and how the world changes in relation to the new tech.

It’s absolutely amazing to watch. There’s some problems, but most of those are the result of needing to tell a visual story due to the medium. I’ve never read the books, but damn if I want to now.

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