Netflix Mini-Review – Altered Carbon (Season 2)

Takashi Kovacs is back and, while he’s looking better than ever, his plots are more scattered. 

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Takashi Kovacs is back in a new body (Anthony Mackie) and, together with his glitchy AI companion Poe (Chris Conner), is back on Harlan’s World and offered a job in exchange for information about his love Quellcrist Falconer (Renee Elise Goldsberry). He ends up in a struggle between the governor of Harlan’s world (Lela Loren), an incipient rebellion, and a plot that is older than man’s presence on the planet. 

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Yes, the irony of Mackie’s love interest being “Falconer” doesn’t escape me.


I thought that I had reviewed the first season of this show. I didn’t realize that I never posted it, although I found that I did, in fact, write a review. Sorry, that I didn’t do a recap of the first season.

So, I’ll say the following, this season was a lot more enjoyable in many aspects than the previous one. Joel Kinnaman was a very good Takashi Kovacs for the more serious mystery arc of the last season, but Anthony Mackie is much more appropriate for this lighter, less focused, and more action-packed season. He definitely still plays like a version of the same character, but just by virtue of being played by the naturally charismatic Mackie, he comes off as more likeable and a little more charming. 

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Oh, and ripped. He’s so damned ripped.

This season has the advantage of not needing to explain a large amount of information about the world in which it takes place, but suffers from a lack of cohesion. There are a LOT of interesting ideas and subplots in this season, most of which would require spoilers, and honestly they were pretty fun to see play out, but the fact is that it’s often hard to keep track of what’s happening and why. They do a decent job of keeping many of the arcs short, which keeps the confusion down a bit, but leads to a number of instances in which it feels like the next arc is forced. It doesn’t help that there are a number of twists which seem to come out of nowhere and which also seem to violate some of the “rules” of this universe, although they ultimately still fall within the realm of the possible. 

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We do have some quality villainy, though.

The action sequences are much better, and more plentiful, in this season. They’re faster, better choreographed, and more creative, but mostly they have Anthony Mackie’s ever-present confidence and machismo behind them. Also, there’s clearly been a sizable budget increase. 

Overall, this season was easier to watch and more fun, but it feels like they shifted to episodic from serial. If you don’t mind that, you’ll like it.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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I'm not giving my information to a machine. Nice try, Zuckerberg.

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