Altered Carbon review

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Altered Carbon (2018)

review & opinion

season 1

Altered Carbon is a Netflix Original series.  There are 10 episodes over 1 season (Netflix has ordered another season).  Each episode is around 60 minutes in length.


The spoken language is English, and Netflix offers dubbing and/or subtitles in several other languages. There may be more language options available in your area.


Altered Carbon is rated TV-MA.  This series contains scenes that viewers may find disturbing, including nudity and graphic violence.


Altered Carbon in short, is a science-fiction series set in the future where your inner-self, your awareness, everything that makes you, you, is digitized, stored and given a new body...for the right price.

Screen capture from season 1 of Altered Carbon

Screen capture from season 1, episode 9 of Altered Carbon. (Source: Netflix)

First thing you'll learn is that nothing is what it seems. Ignore your assumptions. Don't trust anything.

Altered Carbon, in short, is set in the future where your inner-self, your awareness, everything that makes you, you, is digitized, stored and given a new body for the right price.

Prisoner Takeshi Kovacs (a ripped Joel Kinnaman), is serving an indefinite sentence for a capital crime he claims he did not commit. Lying in a state of complete inertia for 250 years, he is awakened and purchased by wealthy businessman Laurens Bancroft (an awesomely creepy James Purefoy). Kovacs is promised a new lease on life, with a complete pardon for his crimes, if he can catch a killer. Bancroft’s killer, in fact. Sound trippy? It is. In this future, one never really dies if one can afford to buy a new “sleeve”, as it’s called, or a body. One’s consciousness, memories and all, can be stored and moved to a new sleeve should they face an expected and/or premature death. So in this world, one can be sixty-seven years old and look like a teenager, or they can have their mindfulness put into the body of their choosing – an enemy, perhaps, or even someone of a different gender or race. However, this “live, die, repeat” foolishness is under threat of being destroyed by a group who will undoubtedly surprise you.

Joel Kinnaman & Martha Higareda in season 1 of Altered Carbon.

Joel Kinnaman & Martha Higareda in season 1 of Altered Carbon. (Source: Katie Yu/Netflix)

The action and fight choreography is awesome and there's a great, eerie soundtrack that includes an excellent version of a Rob Zombie song.

Each episode is packed with valuable information that will slowly unravel the complex story. It’s told through present tense and by Kovacs’s flashbacks; it’s as layered as an over-sized onion. There is mind-bending plot twists and mind-blowing CGI worthy of a $200 million blockbuster. It’s well written, well directed, swell shot. Netflix’s first sortie into an original Sci-Fi series will leave you wanting more. I binge-raced through this one, because I had to. Altered Carbon is another addictive show and well worth the 3:00am wake up call to be among the first to see it on day one.

Two things you’ll LIKE about Altered Carbon: 1) The action and fight choreography is awesome. 2) It’s got a great eerie soundtrack and includes an excellent version of a Rob Zombie song. Can you guess which one before you hear it?

Two things you’ll DISLIKE: 1) You may feel like you have to take a break after the 5th episode because there is so much information to absorb. 2) You’ll have to wait at least a year for Season 2.

series & technical details


streaming on Netflix / renewed for season 2 (2020)


drama / action / sci-fi








approx. 50 to 60 mins /episode


536 binge minutes


2.00 : 1 (UHD)


Dolby Digital / Dolby Atmos (Netflix)


English (various subtitle languages also available)


ARRI ALEXA 65, 35mm ANA/SPHERICAL Lenses / Canon Cinema Prime Lenses / Cooke 5/i Lenses


ARRIRAW (5.1K) (source format) / Dolby Vision / HDR10

business details


Mythology Entertainment / Skydance Television




2 Feb. 2018



worth noting


 Nominated for 1 Golden Globe Award. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations

Altered Carbon Logo

Altered Carbon stars Joel Kinnaman; James Purefoy; Martha Higareda; Chris Conner; Dichen Lachman; Ato Essandoh; Kristin Lehman; Trieu Tran; Renée Elise Goldsberry; Hiro Kanagawa; Waleed Zuaiter; Adam Busch; Marlene Forte; Hayley Law; Antonio Marziale; Zahf Paroo; Will Yun Lee, and more!

About the Author

I used to be the guy who did that thing on the show you never heard of. Now I'm Head Nincompoop here, writing about binge-watching.


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