I love me a good sci-fi pilot. Sadly, Altered Carbon is a whole lot of style with very little substance.
Truth be told, this isn’t just a pilot review. I was so intrigued by this show that I bingewatched five episodes before giving up. Even though I made it halfway through the season, I honestly couldn’t force myself to watch anymore. It’s that disappointing!
Altered Carbon‘s premise is ripe with potential: 300 years in the future, technology allows humans to download their consciousness into new bodies, thus making death far from permanent. It’s a brilliant idea, and it’s one that brought to life through gorgeous production values that blend eye-catching CGI with outstanding set design. Unfortunately, the show’s scripts are supremely bland. The dialogue is basic, the plotting is predictable, and the cast is TEDIOUS to watch. Yes, there isn’t a single memorable performer here and I can’t tell if that’s due to the dull scripts or the actors themselves who are unable to rise above the material. I’m learning towards the latter former because I found the show’s lead, Joel Kinnaman, to be pretty charismatic when he guest-starred on House of Cards. Sadly, he’s far from magnetic here and it makes for really forced viewing.
The bright side? The above-mentioned visuals are fantastic. Netflix poured MILLIONS into this show and it shows. In addition, there are a couple of action set-pieces in the first five episodes that are inventive and memorable. Sadly, they aren’t enough to salvage the show from a clunky narrative.
There are some bright spots, but not enough to make this lackluster series a worthwhile watch. Try again Neflix!