Werthead

Richard Morgan + Netflix = ALTERED CARBON TV series

263 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, Astromech said:
  Reveal hidden contents

Yeah the Envoys were the Protectorate super soldiers. Quell died before Takeshi was even born. I wasn't a fan of them combining the Quellists and Envoys into the white hat rebels. Or Quell's combination with Vidaura. I found Takeshi more interesting in the books because he was an evil Envoy and hated. But I suppose the writers of the series wanted to hit a certain narrative theme and lay the groundwork for future seasons.

I enjoyed the series but felt there were many unnecessary changes from the novel. So a bit of criticism . . .

I wasn't a fan of Reileen as Takeshi's sister. The brother sister conflict really dragged for me those last three episodes. I was just waiting for them to wrap that up. Takeshi's internal struggle with his bat shit crazy sister was frustrating me. And how convenient was it that we didn't see Takeshi blow out her stack, but only heard the gunshot. I preferred book Kawahura.

No Trepp? WTF! Leung was a terrible villain even if he may have been based on Trepp. He even had his own unique weapon, which distractingly reminded me of the Beasts weapon in Kung Fu Hustle. I think another poster stated it best when referring to him as a Bond villain.

I liked Ortega but the writers must have hated her. They sure abused the hell out that character. And they introduced her loving family just so Leung could butcher them. I never really bought her love for Takeshi, or his for her.

The increased roles for rather minor characters only confused the narrative at points for me. The only increased role that worked for me was Poe, but it would have been nice for the AI to remain Hendrix like in the novel. I can't remember how large of a role Lizzy had in the novels, if any, but Vernon didn't add much to the series for me. I can't remember Isaac Bancroft from the novel either. I really need to at least a plot summary to refresh my memory of the novel.

The Bancroft murder investigation really got lost half way through the series. I almost completely forgot about it once Lizzy was brought in. And 653 was mentioned briefly in the first episode only to reemerge as important at the end.

 

 

I just watched the episode where Kovacs and Ortega get rescued from the Fight Drome last night and I was racking my brain trying to remember who saved them in the book because I didn't remember Kovacs having a sister. I forgot about Kawahara completely. Wow. 

I really don't like the Envoy/Quell change at all. I really like Poe though.

Edited by KiDisaster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked Kawahara mostly because I liked the actress. She came off as a viable threat in the last couple episodes.

Overall, despite some niggles, (like the status of envoys, and the "resolution" that is straight out of detective noir but felt unrealistic given the worldbuilding to that point), I really enjoyed this show, and look forward to future seasons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Up to ep 5.

 

Spoiler

Episode 4 was not great. I'm not feeling the longer Quellcrist flash backs at all. They're messing with pacing. The fact that episode 5 was easily my favorite to date -- and Linda's -- turned entirely on how much more tightly paced it was, and that's the episode with 0 flashbacks. Sepinwall remains right on that they tried to fluff things up to get 10 episodes when it would have been better served to make it lean and mean in the first season.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Astromech the change from Jimi to Poe was necessary due to not getting the rights to use Hendrix's image, so I don't think its fair to hold that against the show. I really liked how Poe worked anyway though, so I wouldn't hold it against the show regardless.

6 hours ago, Seli said:

Only at episode 3 so far, it is fine so far. Slightly weird that this is the 3rd series where Michael Eklund shows up with basically the same hairstyle/acting tics (Wynonna Earp, Dirk Gently, and now this).

I love Bobo Del Rey so I was fine with this, but he definitely had the same vibe going. Wynonna Earp is one of my favourite current shows, I'm surprised I haven't seen it mentioned here before now.

Edited by karaddin
Typo - Bobo is not a Fett.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, karaddin said:

@Astromech the change from Jimi to Poe was necessary due to not getting the rights to use Hendrix's image, so I don't think its fair to hold that against the show. I really liked how Poe worked anyway though, so I wouldn't hold it against the show regardless.

 

Oh I know they couldn't obtain the rights to use Hendrix. I simply would've preferred the AI as Hendrix. It would've been more fun imo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Ran said:

Up to ep 5.

 

  Hide contents

Episode 4 was not great. I'm not feeling the longer Quellcrist flash backs at all. They're messing with pacing. The fact that episode 5 was easily my favorite to date -- and Linda's -- turned entirely on how much more tightly paced it was, and that's the episode with 0 flashbacks. Sepinwall remains right on that they tried to fluff things up to get 10 episodes when it would have been better served to make it lean and mean in the first season.

 

I thought there were flashbacks in ep5? Just not Kovacs's? Or I'm maybe an episode out.

That flesh tearing gun/device was nasty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, red snow said:

I thought there were flashbacks in ep5? Just not Kovacs's? Or I'm maybe an episode out.

That flesh tearing gun/device was nasty

You're right. It's the Kovacs flashbacks that killed pacing in previous episodes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The big Kovacs flashback episode is definitely the weakest of the series. 

Is it just me or is Dichen Lachman's performance as Kawahara really bad? She just comes off as so stiff and wooden. I don't think I've ever seen her in anything else though so I can't say if it's intentional for the character or not. I've come around on Kinnaman as Kovacs and everybody else has been great but she's been pretty groan-worthy the last couple of episodes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, KiDisaster said:

The big Kovacs flashback episode is definitely the weakest of the series. 

Is it just me or is Dichen Lachman's performance as Kawahara really bad? She just comes off as so stiff and wooden. I don't think I've ever seen her in anything else though so I can't say if it's intentional for the character or not. I've come around on Kinnaman as Kovacs and everybody else has been great but she's been pretty groan-worthy the last couple of episodes. 

The concept of the episode was great, but man was some of that delivery just terribly cringe-worthy in so many spots.  Also

Spoiler

If they were supposed to convey in that episode how he fell in love and how they have some sort of everlasting love that can survive hundreds of years, it failed miserably.  It still felt like they were outsiders to the group by the time everything was destroyed and that love was just beginning to blossom; then he lived on for many years which I think could have withstood his beliefs about everlasting life; but it was hard to grasp the everlasting love part.

I finished it last night, and really enjoyed the ride.  Never read the books so this is coming from someone w/ fresh eyes and I think this is one of the best sci-fi shows I've seen.  Great job overall and can't wait to see where it goes next.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Ran said:

You're right. It's the Kovacs flashbacks that killed pacing in previous episodes.

The flashbacks felt more connected and appropriate in the context of the episode too which helped make it a strong episode. Some of the Kovacs flashbacks just feel thrown in at times.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Up through episode 7 now. 

 

Spoiler

Okay, they really made a complete mess with Quellcrist Falconer. The absurd romanticism of her paean to refusing immortality, with this bizzare notion they can limit everyone to 100 years -- fine, maybe you can get all current stacks, but someone's going to set up a new core and new stacks without the limitation, surely? -- is so at odds with Morgan's themes. There is nothing remotely utopian in Morgan's ouevre, and all Quellcrist Falconer really does is try to come up with a system that sees the flaws in humanity and tries to mitigate against it through a mix of anarchistic individualism, socialist support systems, and a bit of evolutionary biology-driven feminist thought.

But I thought a sustained period of time in Birth Takeshi's time was quite interesting, and worked well. Lee's great, Goldsberry is really quite good, Lachman's fun -- it worked fairly nicely. But it's not very well thought out at all.

 

Edited by Ran

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finished this yesterday and have to say I loved it. It hit a lot of my items for enjoyable watching. Sci FI, action, A.I., sex, great visuals.

I had never heard of this before seeing the thread here so totally fresh eyes on this.

I really liked the concept of "stacks" and "sleeves", it lets you imagine how you would live, would you choose your birth sleeve, enhanced sleeve, same sex sleeve, same race sleeve, etc. And the obvious problems that would come with it, making a unregistered sleeve and commiting crimes or other things while wearing it. Great defense in court, it wasn't me your honor, it was a clone...they would have to have a electronic uncloneable tag for each stack so you could positively identify who you are, soul wise.

I liked most of the actors and think they did good jobs with their roles, Kinneman especially. Totally crushing on the actress who plays Ortega. When the end happens, I feel like she would have been crushed by it all. That choice seemed wrong to me, to have her last scene like it was.

Loved Poe and the hotel. Loved every bit of it.

Elliot was a great side kick buddy to have and man when him and his wife are interacting it was really cool, since you know...

Spoiler

That scene really hits the whole sleeve thing home. How Elliots' love is for his wifes soul/stack and not the her sleeve/body. 

One other thing that is bugging me. The Envoys are whispered about and people were in awe when they met him, but then it seemed like they were very easily defeated. Didn't add up, seemed like a lot of build up and a deflating balloon sound of an ending to them.

All in all I really enjoyed this show and will hope a second season is as good.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that in part comes down to the double usage of Envoys. Look at when he first wakes from the interrogation and tells them he's a CTAC officer and they shit themselves - that's the other kind of Envoy. It's not clear what happened to them, presumably the Protectorate government decided they were a liability and killed them off, but I took that side of things to be as much where the awe came from. The Quellist envoys got brought down by betrayal and a bio weapon - hard to do much about that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I finished it last night. I liked it a lot even though the first 2-3 episodes were a bit rough and had to do a lot of exposition and worldbuilding. I haven't read the book so I'm judging it just from what I saw. And honestly the whole thing was just right up my alley, cyberpunk with noir flavor and great aesthetics, so I'm not surprised I liked it.
 

Spoiler

 

I though the acting was overall pretty strong, even if most acting was a bit rough at the start and had to take some time to really get warmed up. Joel Kinnaman was great, as was Will Yun Lee and Byron Mann in the same role. James Purefoy was fantastic, no surprise there, and really managed to bring a lot of humanity to a fairly loathsome character. And it was nice to see Adam Busch again, especially since I cant remember seeing him in anything since Buffy, and to see him play a good guy.

Some of the action scenes were a bit rough though. Especially the cage fight, both the one against the beast-men and the one against Russian-Byron Mann, they felt like they had a bit too much cutting and didn't feel natural enough. My favourite action scene was probably the first one with Byron Mann against the spec-ops guys in the apartment.

I have gathered that the envoys are very different in the novel as opposed to the show. I think they were also one of the weaker aspects of the story. Despite having an entire episode  almost exclusively dedicated to envoy flashbacks they still never felt well-defined enough and the whole thing about them and the rebellion felt to vauge. The same goes for Quell.

Poe was great.

And did Kovacs bust out the Highlander sword towards the end there?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 08/02/2018 at 11:00 PM, Ran said:

Up through episode 7 now. 

 

  Hide contents

Okay, they really made a complete mess with Quellcrist Falconer. The absurd romanticism of her paean to refusing immortality, with this bizzare notion they can limit everyone to 100 years -- fine, maybe you can get all current stacks, but someone's going to set up a new core and new stacks without the limitation, surely? -- is so at odds with Morgan's themes. There is nothing remotely utopian in Morgan's ouevre, and all Quellcrist Falconer really does is try to come up with a system that sees the flaws in humanity and tries to mitigate against it through a mix of anarchistic individualism, socialist support systems, and a bit of evolutionary biology-driven feminist thought.

But I thought a sustained period of time in Birth Takeshi's time was quite interesting, and worked well. Lee's great, Goldsberry is really quite good, Lachman's fun -- it worked fairly nicely. But it's not very well thought out at all.

 

Me too. I actually liked this episode because it provided something more concrete about Takeshi even if it was at odds with what I remember from the book.

One issue I'm still having is not connecting the two Takeshis as the same character - it just hasn't clicked for me yet and I'd really like there to be a case of someone in a different sleeve where i go "oh that's x". The reveal at the end of the episode

that Reileen was several characters we'd encountered. Not a single one "clicked" for me so unless Reileen was deliberately masking her personality (which is plausible given she was hiding her identity from her brother) it was another

The other odd thing is that I'm finding "original" Takeshi a lot more compelling than Kinnaman Takeshi. I've no idea whether they'll exhaust Takeshi's (that sleeve's) story this season but I'd welcome them including the actor in season 2 if not.

I found it a bit unnerving that

they placed a teens mind in a soldier's body. That's pretty dark and probably a bit confusing for a teen to suddenly wind up in an adult body

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Done with the series. All in all, spectacular production values, I enjoyed most of the performances, but the problem is that there's a lot of questionable decisions made by the writing team that basically betrays the underpinnings of Morgan's work and, frankly, just ins't that good even looking aside from that.

Spoiler

The ridiculous melodrama with Bancroft and Miriam being served their comeuppance, more utopian BS when you realize how things _really_ work in the setting. Why are they undercutting the dystopian aspects of the novel with this? I've no idea. And ghost-Quell's fairy tale, underscoring that the plan for the future of the series is that Kovacs will be a paladin questing forever for his lost love is just... wow. So lowest common denominator, so tone deaf. Deeply disappointed that this is what Kalogaridis and the writing team made of the novel.

Will watch the 2nd season, assuming there is one -- Netflix hasn't said, I think -- but it'll likely be as pure spectacle rather than as something that I've high hopes for. Perhaps they'll prove me wrong.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does feel like TV Kovacs and the Envoys are in complete contrast to book Kovacs thinking any group against stacks were luddites on the path to extinction. I guess they are going anti-establishment and the creators felt the 1% was more "in tune" with contemporary audiences? Although they maybe should have adapted Morgan's "market forces" if this was the angle they wanted to go for?

The in-development "Lazarus" comic adaptation does a far better job of the 0.001% seizing complete control in the future and their "immortality" works better within the setting. The problem with "altered carbon" having stacks for pretty much everyone with various options for low income people to have new sleeves levels the field somewhat more than the I feel the show's take. I could be easily be wrong.

One thing the show does handle well for me is how the megarich would essentially destabilise themselves in an immortality setting.

Our current model has generational wealth because that's the only option left to an individual in terms of what happens to their wealth/legacy. Remove that and the rich individuals will probably keep most of the money for themselves. What then happens when the offspring realise they'll never inherit that wealth and power? Bancroft keeping his children trapped as rich kids and their frustration at not being able to step up reflects this

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Ran said:

Done with the series. All in all, spectacular production values, I enjoyed most of the performances, but the problem is that there's a lot of questionable decisions made by the writing team that basically betrays the underpinnings of Morgan's work and, frankly, just ins't that good even looking aside from that.

  Reveal hidden contents

The ridiculous melodrama with Bancroft and Miriam being served their comeuppance, more utopian BS when you realize how things _really_ work in the setting. Why are they undercutting the dystopian aspects of the novel with this? I've no idea. And ghost-Quell's fairy tale, underscoring that the plan for the future of the series is that Kovacs will be a paladin questing forever for his lost love is just... wow. So lowest common denominator, so tone deaf. Deeply disappointed that this is what Kalogaridis and the writing team made of the novel.

Will watch the 2nd season, assuming there is one -- Netflix hasn't said, I think -- but it'll likely be as pure spectacle rather than as something that I've high hopes for. Perhaps they'll prove me wrong.

 

The book is never the movie. I watched it with that in mind and I avoided disappointment. I really do enjoy Richard Morgan's books but I don't ever expect them to be faithfully translated to the screen. As soon as a screenwriter takes the book and translates it into a screenplay it becomes her vision and not the writer's. Was it a good show? for me, I really enjoyed it. I have not read the book for quite a few years and details are hazy, but I enjoyed that too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I enjoyed it as well. It could have been much better, however.

Kalogiridis' vision was inconsistent with the material she chose to adapt, and shows. I don't really get why anyone heads out to adapt something if they then say, "Well, except I don't want to adapt X, Y, Z, I think I can do a better job." And it's even worse when you set out to do that and fail.

Spoiler

Per an interview, a lot of of the problematic choices relate specifically to her really wanting to have Quellcrist Falconer on the show, and everything -- flipping the Envoys around into anti-Protectorate guerrillas, making Quellcrist and Kovacs anti-stack (which in turn leads to a Kovacs who'll do the exact opposite of what the character did in the novel, re: Laurens and Miriam Bancroft), extensive flashbacks and Quellcrist focus -- is really the result of that. Kalogiridis suggests it's because she was terrified she wouldn't get more than one season, so basically she shoe-horned Quellcrist into the story by twisting parts of the story out of shape to accomodate it.

And, again, it shows. There's some real structure and pacing issues that are largely the result of these decisions. Which is a shame. Most critical reviews were mediocre and they may have been a bit better if they'd trusted Morgan's material (and themselves) more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now