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Werthead

Richard Morgan + Netflix = ALTERED CARBON TV series

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5 hours ago, Zorral said:

Thank you for that vastly superior condescending and patronizing rebuke, in which you read objection to being condescended to as outrage.  Excellent demonstration of  reading and writing skills, o ya!

It's highly unlikely that I will watch this, based on my reactions to the Kovaks books. Nor did I find them awesome as so many sf readers did. Beyond not liking them because of the creep factor, by which I feel even more bombarded and overwhelmed after so many years of this stuff in the entertainment market place and real life now than when the books came out. Beyond that, to me they read as derivative of what some non-genre writer- had done before and better -- -- and particularly film and tv series makers -- and who knew and understood some of the locations at first hand, which Morgan clearly did not.  What he did more of than they did was the creepy violence for violence sake, and getting congratulated for it by his admirers.

What I did admire was his depiction of what the USA devolved into in his Thirteen / Black Man.  I thought it was a clear-eyed vision of this nation's divisions as seen from the perspective of across the Atlantic. Those divisions are even more obvious now than in 2008 when the book was published.

I did not care for his fantasy novels for All the Reasons.

Series such as Suburra and Gommorah and even Narcos roll for me much better because they seem, oddly, more real and not so self-consciously pandering -- despite, considering, for instance the writers of the books on which Suburra for instance are based on, that sense makes no sense even to me. But there you go.


EDIT: Double quote.

 

I do wonder whether my enjoyment of Morgan's early SF work was in large part because I was a lot younger? For example the reason I never read his last book might not be so much that I wasn't enjoying the fantasy series but possibly because my tastes have changed over the course of a decade? It's one of the reasons I often fear re-reading books I loved from over a decade ago. Sometimes you can't go back.

Thirteen/Black Man has definitely benefitted from recent events making things seem more plausible. I found this with market forces in the sense I read it while in London during the financial crisis and it gained a ring of truth in terms of where that city could go/was going.

That's a good point about Narcos - I think the fact it's based on actual events and reflective of that time and place makes a lot of the unpleasant scenes that feature in it work. It's a bit trickier in purely fictional SFF scenarios as such things don't need to happen or be depicted there.

Gomorrah is one of those shows I keep meaning to watch and I'm pretty sure I'll be asking myself why I didn't do so earlier. Everyone I know who's seen it has heartily recommended it.

Edited by red snow
duplication of quote

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The reviews i've read so far are pretty dire to be honest, i'll probably give it a whirl but not in much hope or expectation.

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12 minutes ago, red snow said:


EDIT: Double quote.

 

I do wonder whether my enjoyment of Morgan's early SF work was in large part because I was a lot younger? For example the reason I never read his last book might not be so much that I wasn't enjoying the fantasy series but possibly because my tastes have changed over the course of a decade? It's one of the reasons I often fear re-reading books I loved from over a decade ago. Sometimes you can't go back.

Thirteen/Black Man has definitely benefitted from recent events making things seem more plausible. I found this with market forces in the sense I read it while in London during the financial crisis and it gained a ring of truth in terms of where that city could go/was going.

That's a good point about Narcos - I think the fact it's based on actual events and reflective of that time and place makes a lot of the unpleasant scenes that feature in it work. It's a bit trickier in purely fictional SFF scenarios as such things don't need to happen or be depicted there.

Gomorrah is one of those shows I keep meaning to watch and I'm pretty sure I'll be asking myself why I didn't do so earlier. Everyone I know who's seen it has heartily recommended it.

Even though I admire these series a great deal for a series of reasons, I tend to avert my gaze from the torture -- and there are a variety of ways to torture and these characters seem to employ them all.

I don't know if it helps my acceptance that I've spent time in their locations too?  The consequences of these characters' actions isn't only suffered by each other, but many other real people and their society and nation at large, and inevitably the world.  It was so right that we see one of the characters in Gommorah spending an extended period in Colombia -- and then he brings the methods and attitudes of what he saw and learned there, back to Italy.  It's real.  And it's not good.  But it is fascinating.

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The reviews i've read so far are pretty dire to be honest, i'll probably give it a whirl but not in much hope or expectation.

General consensus seems to be that it's not as good as the book and it wastes a lot of potential, particularly because the first episode is really strong and the rest isn't up to the same standard, and the effects and fight scenes are outstanding.

Other than that the reviews are pretty contradictory. Some indicate that the first half is good and the second half falls apart. Others say the exact opposite. Some say that Kinnaman is too bland but others say that he embodies that disconnected ruthlessness of Kovacs quite well.

I can see this being a divisive one.

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9 hours ago, Werthead said:

General consensus seems to be that it's not as good as the book and it wastes a lot of potential, particularly because the first episode is really strong and the rest isn't up to the same standard, and the effects and fight scenes are outstanding.

Other than that the reviews are pretty contradictory. Some indicate that the first half is good and the second half falls apart. Others say the exact opposite. Some say that Kinnaman is too bland but others say that he embodies that disconnected ruthlessness of Kovacs quite well.

I can see this being a divisive one.

That sounds like a lot of netflix shows to be honest particularly the Marvel ones (which I guess is the kind of audience this show is geared towards). The Marvel ones are at least "cheap" to make though.

I'll take a stab in the dark at the contradictory reviews and speculate that the first half of the series spends more time on the setting and concept while the second is all about the action. Depending on a viewer's taste that could explain the divide.

Wert, will it be ep VIII divisive? Or do we need one of the Kovacs actors or Morgan himself to say "this is not my Takeshi Kovacs" ?

Radiotimes says it's an ambitious mess which is what many called Sense8. Seems like they may have switched out one massively expensive "flop" for another. I love Sense8 but it's clear not enough did.

 

Edited by red snow
update

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I just read the Radiotimes review and it does sound like they over-stuffed it by trying to cover too much ground in the first season. The flipside of the review's close -- that this stuff should have been reserved for the 2nd season -- is that perhaps by awkwardly running through it in the first season, they'll have it out of their system and can do a more focused follow-up.

Empire Online has easily the worst review of the show I've seen, but its negatives are in some respects on things no one else has remarked on -- either because everyone's focusing on the positives, or perhaps because the critic dislikes things other critics haven't really had a problem with.

Edited by Ran

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Thanks Ran for the overview, my expectations were already low but you helped me to manage them further. I will watch only for the visuals and if there is anything else to pique my interest i'll treat it as a bonus.

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Nothing in any of these reviews has made me think about not watching this. I'm pumped.

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the series has scores of 67 and 68 percent on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes respectively, with critics giving mixed verdicts.

The Guardian‘s Benjamin Lee wrote in a three-star review wrote that “while Altered Carbon might not be on par with, say, last year’s Blade Runner 2049, it’s an impressive step up from what we’re usually offered.”

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Tim Goodman called it “a complicated, intriguing, ultraviolent, sex-filled and compelling blast, a visual delight that periodically gets tripped up with its writing but never enough to detour the experience.” He added that the programme is “flawed, but also fantastic.”

 

Mike Hale from the New York Times was less complimentary, saying that it had “some interesting ideas about the wages of immortality”, but “the resources and technology of the future it depicts appear to be devoted primarily to the pursuit of sexual gratification and exploitation, in milieus that recall 1970s Times Square and contemporary Las Vegas.”

The Telegraph‘s Ed Power gave Altered Carbon a four-star review, writing: “To say Altered Carbon is indebted to Ridley Scott’s original “cyberpunk” masterpiece is a bit like suggesting Oasis may have listened to the occasional Beatles record … Yet far from suffering from overfamiliarity, there’s a case that these chunky tropes are Altered Carbon‘s winning component.”

 

Edited by AncalagonTheBlack

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Have seen the first episode. Visually, production values-wise, pretty spectacular. Digging all the actors.

Pacing is a bit problematic because of overuse of flashback material (not so much the material regarding his previous sleeve, which felt interesting as a way to establish Kovacs, but the Quellcrist material is heavy-handed in this first episode and would have been better served, I think, to have roled it out later). Also, yes, a handful of cringey exposition or lines that come off as corny (in one case because of poor editing decisions). But as a first episode, all in all, I think it's promising. There was actually rather less nudity than I had expected given everyone going on about the vast amounts of nudity, but there's nine episodes left. 

(Also, yeah, Joel Kinnaman hit the gym HARD. Jesus.)

Edited by Ran

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Binged the season pretty hard and done. I need others to finish and remind me of how the book went because I can't remember exactly how it played out to compare.

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18 hours ago, Ran said:

(Also, yeah, Joel Kinnaman hit the gym HARD. Jesus.)

But was still a little shy, if the number of "strategically placed obscuring artefacts" shots is anything to go by.

James Purefoy, of course, is still channeling his Rome attitude of "if my female costars have to go full frontal, so do I mofos. And no CGI needed."

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6 hours ago, RedEyedGhost said:

I'm on episode 5, and I'm really enjoying it so far.

Me too... I just finished the book, and I'm fine with the changes they've made to help it translate better into TV

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On episode 2 and I like it... Had no expectations given that I haven't read the book and was even surprised to hear that it was translated to Serbian. That said, I like it. Kinnaman is a solid lead but I feel as this is some weird version of his House of Cards character. The mannerism, the voice, everything, absolutely everything is same. He is good, I understand what they got when they cast him, but I can't be fully emerged in the story as I would prefer. Although, I do admit, everything that I would want it to be there is there. Alas, something is missing.

19 hours ago, Ran said:

(Also, yeah, Joel Kinnaman hit the gym HARD. Jesus.)

I had to check this and boy, were you right... This is not Pratt level of transformation but he had to work VERY hard.

1 hour ago, Werthead said:

But was still a little shy, if the number of "strategically placed obscuring artefacts" shots is anything to go by.

James Purefoy, of course, is still channeling his Rome attitude of "if my female costars have to go full frontal, so do I mofos. And no CGI needed."

LOL... Perhaps unintentionally, but Purefoy's nudity and Kinnamon's shyness kinda works for the two characters.

1 hour ago, Martini Sigil said:

Me too... I just finished the book, and I'm fine with the changes they've made to help it translate better into TV

I thought about buying the book and then watching it afterwards. But, I thought it would be interesting to go the other way around this time...

What's life without whimsy :D

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My full review.

It was pretty good. Not flawless, but some of the critic criticisms I found to be utterly non-existent. The pacing, I felt, was good throughout and there wasn't much differentiation between the two halves of the season. The biggest problem I had was the extremely mumbly dialogue, which I sometimes had to switch on the subtitles for.

On the pluses, the casting (apart maybe from Miriam Bancroft, who fell utterly flat) was absolutely outstanding. Kinnaman doesn't have great range but this role fell right in his comfort zone and he did well with it, even if Will Yun Lee was better. Martha Higareda was on fire throughout (apparently she had to learn English for this role - not sure if that's true as she's had a couple of Hollywood roles previously - which was impressive) and absolutely no actor on Earth can do "sleazy charismatic gravitas" like James Purefoy.

Some of the changes from the book were good, but I do wonder if they changed Kovacs a little too much. He emerges as more of a family man and less of a lone wolf. TV struggles with the lone wolf trope (you can't focus on just one character for 10 hours, like you can in a novel or movie) so maybe that was unavoidable. But making Kovacs an idealistic rebel who falls in love with every other woman he meets at the drop of a hat feels a little bit too much of a fundamental change.

Still, it was pretty good. Interesting to see where they go in the second season as I can't believe they're going to jump straight into Broken Angels.

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That's weird, my biggest issue with the show was the actress that played Ortega. More specifically that I felt she didn't do a very good job. The dialogue had some mumbling and otherwise wonky parts, but that didn't bother me much. Past the first episode I didn't really like the soundtrack either, but that's really a non-issue.

Other than that while not one of the greatest shows ever made, I think this was a fun ride. The visuals really were amazing. The rating the show stands at rottentomatoes is where I'd put it as well.

 

Edited by akh

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