Tickboxing Screen SF: "Altered Carbon" by Laeta Kalogridis

 

It's a shame they've spent so much money on it as it isn't anything new, the only thing that is new is that you see a couple of willies (even though the willie count is going up generally, we always get an almost embarrassed shot which says look there's a willie in this but lets move back along to the tits, phew) along with the many, many boobs, bums and really as you get closer to the end, stomach churning sexual violence. There is a line spoken by one young actress which made me think that the thirteen year olds watching it (and there will be) will be off kilter for days if not months or years. And of course the scene where one actress fights naked. She seems to be fighting naked because she is a new clone and if she had been born from a vacuum pack I'd have gone with it, but she'd been reclining on a nice comfy chair which could have gone with some nice comfy sci-fi- sweatpants or even a slinky pair of pjs...but no she's naked. Some of the totemic cliches of the first two episodes are part info dump but are mostly faithful to the book. And unless I'm remembering the novel incorrectly, there's at least one Chekov's Gun lying in plain view that had to be there. There is a degree of lingering soft porn that's been overdone (e.g., the Bancroft clone vault scene), and the screenplay and acting are awkward against the expense and complexity of the effects. But I'm four episodes in and so far it's not even close to my expectations. Richard Morgan's novels are heavily invested in violence and sex. They do contrast the violent, casual decadence and immorality of the Meth's vs the street. It's the dark side to privilege that, say, Bank's Culture didn't always address with the same visceral ugliness.

 

 

If you're into good SF, don't read on.