Altered Carbon: Unnatural casting?

Don't make the casting feel forced

2 min read    03 Mar 2018    

Altered Carbon is set somewhere in the year 2384, where a person’s consiousness is stored in a detachable stack in the spine. So even after a person is dead, their consiousness can be transferred to a preserved dead body / sleeve by just inserting the stack in this sleeve. The memories and experiences are retained.

Altered carbon is a distopian science fiction cyberpunk TV series. I expected it to be a detective thriller as well, given the premise of the show. Although the concept sounds really interesting and they had a lot to play around with, they never really explored anything. Running 10 episodes, your interest will only start picking up from the 5th or 6th, because of the potential story that could have been rolled out, but never does. The number of people who felt like abandoning the series is unsurprisingly high. But I don’t want to talk about the show’s ability to shine, I’ll talk about the story and the casting.aband

In the light of #OscarsSoWhite, which was supposed to be an awakening to cast more black actors in shows; altered carbon supposedly adds 2 black characters, the Elliots (who’re related BTW), just for the sake of inclusicivity? And let’s make it clear, our protagonist meets Mr. Elliot by chance, of <2%. There’s another black character, but their integration seems natural.


The female lead is a Spanish Kristin Ortega, who resembles Brooklyn 99’s Melissa Fumero (primarily because both of them are detectives who look alike). Now, the only other main character who speaks Spanish is her mother (who can speak English BTW), but the mother speaks exclusively in Spanish. So it would make sense if the Ortegas speak Spanish when they’re alone (which I would still say is useless, cause 90% cast is English, it would be more natural they speak English like EVERY SHOW ever.). What ticks me off is when the detective is surrounded by people who know nada about Spanish, she always has 3-4 dialogues in Spanish. How weird is that? Say I’m speaking with 5 people in Hindi, who don’t know Marathi; how foolish would it be for me to start speaking in Marathi out of nowhere? They could have the conversation in Spanish, but depict it on screen as if they’re speaking English. Netflix’s Sense8 handles this part so efficiently. I’m not criticising the casting, but the dialogues here. But as some suggest on Reddit, it could be due to loud and annoying acting on part of the actress.


Coming to the story itself, there are 3 major mysteries that need resolving; and somehow, within 5 minutes, all seem to be resolved. Can we not have independent stories where the villian(s) are not the same person. All the characters who were shown troubled get their relief at the same time? I think we’ve had enough of this, the viewers deserve better. Maybe.

The last thing I’ll speak about is the use of expletives. Yeah. I’m not going to lecture about morality, but they’re clearly overdoing it. A certain 10-second interval had 5 ocurrences of F* * *, which makes the word lose its value. Expletives used right can make you go OH S* *T! or even F* * * YEAH!. But overdoing it leaves you displeased, hinting at sloppy writing. This overuse is what caused me to right about it in the first place, it’s that bad.

Would I recommend Altered Carbon to someone? Maybe not. I expected so much more from the concept, but I saw none of those ideas actually used / used to their full potential.

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