Altered Carbon: Season 2 Full Season
February 27, 2020 5:47 AM - Season 2 (Full Season) - Subscribe

30 years later, Takashi Kovacs finds himself spun up again on Harlan's World.

Takashi is spun up to protect a meth in return for information on Quellcrist Falconer. But before Takashi can make good, the meth is murdered.
posted by miss-lapin (34 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is available fore streaming starting today on Netflix.
posted by numaner at 10:27 AM on February 27, 2020

Argh I'm sorry I forgot to add that. Thank you numaner.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:11 PM on February 27, 2020

Pilot only.

Dannnnng, Anthony Mackie got swole(r).

At first I wasn't a big fan of Poe, but warmed up to him, and now he's really grown on me.

Now - is the Poe AI part of Kovac's stack, or did he negotiate to needlecast Poe's AI along with his own stack? Anyway, like the excuse to port him along into S02.


Great hook. An old one, but competently executed. Then followed up with one my absolute fav things - seeing an alien (and fanciful) sky... and Poe agrees!

Bold and interesting choice to reveal the twist of that hook at the end of the episode instead of the season.

Harlan's World - I wonder if we'll get any gnarly surf scenes?
posted by porpoise at 7:38 PM on February 27, 2020

I want a companion AI like Poe.
posted by valkane at 8:48 AM on February 28, 2020 [5 favorites]

is the Poe AI part of Kovac's stack, or did he negotiate to needlecast Poe's AI along with his own stack?

He told Axley to have Trepp transmit the AI along with him in the VR meeting
posted by numaner at 8:55 AM on February 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

Is anyone else finding it noticeably dark, especially during action sequences? I've only watched the first two episodes, but I was having trouble seeing what was going on and I don't remember that being an issue in the first season.
posted by figurant at 9:19 AM on February 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

i remember it being visually dark in the first season too, but in this one it's plot related i think, like they're fighting in the dark with the only flashes of light coming from gunshots. But I'm only up to episode 3
posted by numaner at 9:35 AM on February 28, 2020

I thought the fight choreography was noticeably better in s1. There was also a lot less nudity and sex this time around.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:03 PM on February 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

They can do fewer takes in low light scenes. Whenever I see it I'm reminded of Jackie Chan demanding that all of his action scenes be well lit, and with clear costume contrast between the combatants. It can take up to 75 takes for Jackie to be happy.

I kept hearing that the budget had been significantly slashed, but so far I think the effects have been really well done. Harlan's World is just what I needed. Dialogue is decent with well restrained exposition. For whatever reason I'm not a huge fan of the Kel character. Takashi and Rei had better chemistry last season. Their relationship was more interesting. Good stuff so far (I'm on episode 4). I wish Takashi was a bit more subtle and mysterious, but Mackie is doing well.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:18 PM on February 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've stalled out in the middle of episode four because I feel like the writing is pretty bad. A lot of clichéd dialogue. I'm also annoyed with how Takeshi treats Poe. I wish this were better.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:43 PM on February 28, 2020

Poe does puppy dog really well, but he really did screw up big time by letting the bounty hunter inside, which was the most recent I've seen of Takeshi getting angry. Takeshi has never really been a friendly guy.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:53 PM on February 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm at episode 6 and I feel like in many ways this season is actually better than the last one? I suppose it might be because it's easier to follow this time around. I guess I don't watch a lot of TV and movies because the only cliche I really noticed was "all warfare is based on deception" which of course is not an original Falconer quote.
posted by some loser at 6:48 PM on February 29, 2020

It's more the kind of standard dialogue shorthand that screenwriters use frequently but people say much less commonly in real life. I've become sensitive to that sort of how I've become sensitive to the very unrealistic character of phone conversations (which goes beyond the "disconnectimg without anyone ever saying goodbye" thing).

I've seen enough good television and film writing that I don't think it's that difficult to avoid these kinds of things and the dialogue is much improved—probably because the writer has to actually think about it instead of leaning on these internalized clichés. For example, "you'll never get away with this" is very common dialogue in that precise formulation but in real life I expect people use many variations or, at least, are more specific. That's just one that comes to mind—there are very many. The more frequent they appear in writing, the weaker and less compelling it is, even though the audience isn't usually aware of this. And that's because they, too, aren't paying that much attention because it becomes a kind of background noise in its extreme familiarity.

I'm just very sensitive to this these days. It will cause me to just stop watching something when I hear one of these phrases one too many times. I'm not happy being this sensitivite to it, mind you.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:45 PM on February 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

The first display of Angelfire in action was an excellent shot. Fantastic!
posted by Brocktoon at 9:23 PM on February 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

So I decided against rewatching the first season and just watched the recap (and then a few more recaps) and I really regret that. Anyways.

I really enjoyed this! New Takeshi is great, and so were the supporting characters. I was a bit meh that they pushed the whole "the audience knows it before the protagonist" bit a bit too far, because we all knew she had an Elder in her had waaaaaay before they finally got to the reveal.

I love the AIs and I loved Dig/Annabelle and her relationship with Poe.

I really hope this gets a third season though I'm not holding my breath either.
posted by KTamas at 5:02 AM on March 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

third season

It's been a long time since I've read the books but this feels like it skipped 2 and is mostly book 3, so not sure if a third season will draw on extant story.
posted by porpoise at 10:16 AM on March 1, 2020

Yeah the Elder thing was obvious, but I liked the idea.

I finished the series and give it an A+.
posted by Brocktoon at 5:47 PM on March 1, 2020

I disliked Dig taking the name Annabelle. Annabelle is one of Poe's creations (not to mention also an idealized dead one at that). She should have a name that's her own identity.

I loved her as a character, but that detail pissed me off.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:53 PM on March 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Semi-binged this. It's a "good enough" mashup of books 2 and 3.

They did take the best of 2 and 3 and dropped a lot of stuff, and I largely agree with what was cut out.

But the show is really more of a fantasy treatment of science fiction, even moreso than the source material. I don't hold that against it, but it can't be critiqued against something like 'The Expanse.'

Appreciated the AI story arcs (not present in the books), mostly. Liked the Archeologue AI tons; especially when she was overridden by Carrera/ Jaeger and when Poe reset her but also her "desire" to be an acrhivist and an seeker-of-"truth."

Liked that they explored the existence of "synth" bodies; Lizzie in S01 learned combat skills in virtual and got transferred into a synth body. The "torture-execution" was a nice nod to the evolution of the "grudge match" from S01 and book 1. Not super well explained, though.

Really liked bringing Lizzie back for this season even though she's a bunch older but that's ok.

The motivation to win - to get an "upgraded (actual) combat mod" ie., a biological body wasn't explored as much as it could have.

But there is the existence of cloning - is there also advanced biomed tech that accelerates aging etc. - or do bodies need to "age" into maturity? If it's available (in S01, Rei had scores of peak-physical bodies around), is it just a matter of cost?

Practical immortality is a big problem, and not dealt with well in the books nor the show. Lots of stacks literring the ocean floor - but like the Tolkien LOTR "the one ring" nothing is off the table for a future return, just like the Martian/ "Elder" in S02.

Why don't we see a bunch of uniform "Chad" and "Stacy" bodies that are either open source/ non-royalty? Presumably, synth sleeves don't feel like "real" bodies, but if clone bodies are available, I'd expect to see more of them.

Even in virtual, Neal Stephenson thought about this in 'Snow Crash.'

The implication of people in generic Chad and Stacy bodies being able to afford reproducing... their offspring are limited with whom they can reproduce without running into inbreeding issues.

Though they did touch on this about "renting" a child body for an offspring to grow up in - but it wasn't clear why the kid had to (must have "died") use another one's body.

What happened to the original stack in the child's body? Do they have to "grow up" in a synth/ surplus crap body/ already grown up body?

How does this tech completely fuck up the social aspect of reproduction? Biological imperatives seem only available to the ultra rich.

Also - children from non-birth sleeves; that's going to be disruptive of the "having children" thing re: genetics and genetic inheritance. Huge deep dive hole here. Understand why they didn't go down it.

Jaeger and Kovachs talking in Latin/ whatever about old (current-ish day) phrases was a pretty neat way of showing that language has changed a lot, and that the English being spoken on the show is language 300 years into the future works.

Final thoughts;

- I loved the source material because of the implications, I don't expect Morgan to be able to do so well, was hoping that someone on the show writing team could sneak something through. Not sure there were any snuck-in home runs.

- the costuming was ok; I liked that motifs were chosen and were consistently used (ie., the asymmetric bras)
- the armor design passes the sniff test (torso cover, neck cover)
- there were "stupid stick" reasons for hand-to-hand combat far too frequently, a lot of big fights were way too underlit for timing/ budgeting reasons
- very disappointed with Harlan's World not being depicted as mostly archipelagos and a wicked tide system caused by the three moons
- hated the physical depiction of the Martian(s)/ "Elders"
- did like that they explored the singing trees some

- did really like the diversity of 21st century human phenotypes and I noticed a lot (more than usual) of biracial actors/ extras; wonder if this was a planned thing or because of the filming location and subsequent "oh hey, we have this pool of people, lets make use of it")


This was ok enough.

The 'Martians' was not done well.

Not a fan of the ending. The leadup was good enough, but... eh.

Looks like we're not getting a S03, unless its a reboot with a Tak who didn't experience S01 and subsequent and is 300 years out of date, so pretty much NOT "our" Tak.

The AI arcs were satisfying - that a DHF could be run on mechanistic computation equipment - but semi-contradictory, which, is why they made that that way.
posted by porpoise at 7:56 PM on March 1, 2020

The child needed a sleeve because he stepped on a mine, which also resulted in his PTSD.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:14 PM on March 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

Looks like we're not getting a S03, unless its a reboot with a Tak who didn't experience S01 and subsequent and is 300 years out of date, so pretty much NOT "our" Tak.
Isn’t the raw DHF Poe discovers he’s stored upon awakening (instead of his own memories) “our” Tak?
posted by Cogito at 11:39 PM on March 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

That's what I thought, but even if isn't the remaining Tak in a sleeve is sort of where our Tak was at the beginning of s1 e1. So I wouldn't be too thrown off by following him on his adventure.

There's a part of me that really likes that idea. That since kind of thing is possible in this world, why not? I mean aside from the fact that once our Tak is resleeved it's illegal.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:51 PM on March 1, 2020

I believe the showrunner confirmed that the DHF Poe stored was the OG Tak, via [Cinemablend].
posted by WedgedPiano at 8:59 AM on March 2, 2020

especially when she was overridden by Carrera/ Jaeger

She was overridden by Takeshi Prime, aka the clone Jaeger brought back, not sure I agree with the "prime" designation but that's what the captions used for him speaking offscreen.

I'm a little hopeful that they'll bring Takeshi Prime back, it'd be interesting to see if he sticks to helping Quell and the Uprising.
posted by numaner at 1:39 PM on March 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

I just read over a recap of last season, and we do get confirmation (via memory) that this season is "Head in The Clouds" Kovacs, and not "vacation" Kovacs.

Also "Annabelle" was Poe's last line in the previous season, so perhaps it's just a tie-in to that.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:30 AM on March 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

So... my normal attire much of the year for the last handful of years is a long-/ short- sleeved tshirt with a thin zip-up hoodie and a moto-style leather jacket (and cargo pants - ranging from trades tough to prestige fashion - can even swap out performance trail shoes with dress shoes for a bunch of situations where I need to wear "I paid too much for these pants").

I can't find hoodies with oversized hoods. It seems like it's a movies/ tv thing, oversized hoods.

I've found a bunch of them on ebay but they're, on reasonable experienced expectations, likely just Halloween costumes - the quality ranges from absolutely laughable to fast fashion (like, H&M, Forever 21, etc).

I've gotten some (other category) stuff from a seller supposedly based in LA specializing in cons and the quality far exceeded the price, and the the price was reasonable for the complexity. But the quality was still only marginally better than H&M, if not merely on par.

Anyone able to recommend any hoodies like the one copyTak wore at the end of the series under his leather jacket? I really love the chunky/ tall collar.

Loved the look of his leather jacket, too, but it's impractical.
posted by porpoise at 6:40 PM on March 7, 2020

I'm really disappointed with season two. In particular, I loved the personality tak had in season one, which was replaced by complete brooding and anger.
posted by rebent at 11:41 AM on March 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

Well, he has had an intervening 30 years of subjective since season one.

Probably a lost opportunity to explore that more with copyTak.

Perhaps for an off-books season three story? That copyTak is 300+ years out is a freebie throw-in.

... I wonder if there is a symmetric experience equivalent for AIs - presumably they need hardware to run on, if they can't afford to own/ rent equipment, are they effectively "spun down?" Or is public computing infrastructure something that's guaranteed for AIs, as part of an AI Rights Convention?

One major thing that bothered me about the books and the show is that while the idea of time differentials in construct vs IRL is brought up (as the other end of the spectrum of being spun down, they don't really explore the implications of that for AI entities, and neither takes either of the thought experiments very far.
posted by porpoise at 8:52 PM on March 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Altered Carbon: Resleeved [trailer]

Anime adaptation set in the Altered Carbon universe.

March 19
posted by porpoise at 6:20 PM on March 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Porpoise: Try Jordan. They have a few styles with raised collars (but not ridiculously so), and the stitching that widens and "squares" the top of the hood. Expensive yes, but I bought one in 2016, the quality is there, and I expect to wear it for several more years.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:05 PM on March 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

The first half of the season was a struggle, but the last half finally managed to get its footing and actually go somewhere - it was all right. Not great, but OK. I still think I liked the first season more, in a way because it really sort of considered the implications of a stack and sleeve, while it sort of felt like this time around it was anything goes, clones, synths, random sleeves, etc. Whatever was needed for story purposes, they sort of went ahead and did it.

I mean, I wouldn't say _no_ to a third season, but I'd prefer Tak to be more like S1 Tak and less just angry and brooding like S2 Tak. Or _any_ interesting characters, I think? Like S1 was full of things going on, characters with their own stories, and all those plot lines were intersecting. S2 was pretty dull until the gang got together and started chasing down what was happening to Quell.

S1 was also more interesting as a mystery or puzzle box. S2 was theoretically a mystery, but it apparently wasn't interesting enough to be written as one.
posted by Kyol at 8:01 PM on March 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

Just to note that Altered Carbon is canceled and there will be no season 3, unless I suppose someone else picks up the show.

Gotta admit that I wasn't really looking forward to seeing what the show would do without the book storylines around any more.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 2:57 PM on August 26, 2020


Season 1 was interesting, Season 2 was adequate, but I had hopes - but little expectation - that Season 3 would reverse the trend.

Better fate for the franchise than to end in ignominy.

The original material also floundered by book 3, the deeper and further-time-reaching implications of the technology is already a challenge to convey in literary format, successfully commercializing in on-screen is deeply in quixotic territory.

In retrospect, I love the visuals and found maybe half of the changes to be a positive (Kovac's hardback backpack*, Poe), the other half were more negative (Quelcrist Falconer) than neutral (Rei). So a wash, but an entertaining and visually exciting experience.

Good effort, externalities are a bitch in creative/ entertainment work.

*does anyone know if anyone is selling a reasonably priced and reasonably quality replica/ look-alike of that backpack?
posted by porpoise at 10:21 PM on August 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

Kyol: IMHO Joel Kinnaman did an excellent job giving Takeshi the right level of noir. For example, sarcasm has always been an important tool in the belt of gumshoes, and Joel did it well. Noir Takeshi is murdered by Trepp, and Hard Target Takeshi emerges, for better or worse.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:08 PM on September 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

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