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Herc’s Seen Netflix’ Body-Swapping Sci-Fi Actioner ALTERED CARBON!!

I am – Hercules!!

Adapted by screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis (“Birds of Prey,” “Alexander,” “Bionic Woman,” “Shutter Island,” “Terminator Genisys,” “Alita: Battle Angel”) from the 2002 science fiction novel by Richard K. Morgan, “Altered Carbon” depicts a far-future universe in which everyone’s mind is digitized and stored as software “stacks” that can be stored in available bodies described as “sleeves.”

The plot follows one Takeshi Kovacs (played by “RoboCop” remake star Joel Kinnaman, among other actors), an elite soldier pulled out of storage after 250 years and plugged into a new body by the world’s richest man (“Rome” vet James Purefoy) to solve the murder of the same world’s richest man. (Everybody’s brain is copied into The Cloud so nobody really dies if they can afford a new body.)

Dichan Lachman, who starred in Joss Whedon’s thematically similar Fox series “Dollhouse,” turns up as Takeshi’s sister.

Early episodes are watchable enough, but I can’t say I found this series compelling enough to power through the remaining first-season installments. Your milage may vary.

USA Today says:

... When Carbon focuses on Bancroft's murder, it's most successful, unspooling a mystery entwined with vice and riches. But more often, it gets lost in extraneous subplots and characters. Visually, the series is so dark you can't see the action. …

Uproxx says:

... The dialogue is incredibly cheesy, and the porny-ness of it all so high, even Cinemax might roll eyes at some of it, particularly a fight scene where naked clones of one female character keep smashing through windows to fight one of the good guys. What’s meant to titillate instead becomes cringe-inducing as the clones run, jump, and even full body slide across a floor covered in shards of broken glass, never once troubled by it. And, like nearly every Netflix drama, it’s got more episodic sleeve than narrative stack: half the reason the story feels so exhaustingly convoluted is because Kalogridis and the other writers have more time to fill than the mystery can sustain, even as their curiosity about the world around the case ebbs and flows.…

The New York Times says:

... If it were on the Syfy channel, where it belongs, it would look above average. You’d think, yeah, not bad. On Netflix, where its 10 episodes will be available Friday, it still looks like an above-average Syfy series, which just makes you think, what the heck is this doing here? … The violence in “Altered Carbon” is only marginally greater than what you’d find on basic cable. But there’s one significant, in-your-face difference between it and the sci-fi shows it otherwise resembles: the copious nudity, mostly, though not exclusively, female. …

The Boston Globe says:

... What isn’t so thrilling about “Altered Carbon” is the complexity of the story lines set within the carefully imagined cosmos. The more we learn about Kinnaman’s Takeshi Kovacs, the more slippery the show becomes. …

CNN says:

... Netflix has taken more than a few flyers on big, splashy, time-wasting projects, and "Altered Carbon" -- a sci-fi experiment gone awry -- joins that pantheon of the quickly forgettable. …

Variety says:

... slow-building but satisfying …

12:01 a.m. Friday. Netflix.

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