Sci-Fi

Altered Carbon (2018-?)

Altered Carbon (2018-?)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Joel Kinnaman

James Purefoy

Martha Higareda

Chris Conner

Dichen Lachman

Renée Elise Goldsberry

Kristen Lehman

Plot:

Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored, a prisoner returns to life in a new body and must solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom.

Review:

It’s been almost a week since I finished watching Altered Carbon and I’ve done a lot of talking about it, my original opinion was mostly neutral but it has become more negative the more I’ve thought about it. AC is visually remarkable, especially considering it’s a TV show. The world created was interesting and definitely something worth exploring. There have been lots of complaints about the acting, but I personally don’t have a problem with it considering it’s a Sci-Fi show and that’s honestly what I expect. My main problems with the show are the characters, story, and the treatment of women.

In AC bodies are called sleeves, if you’re wealthy you can slip in and out of different sleeves depending on your whim. If you are poor, not so much, but it is possible for you to earn enough in your lifetime so that you can feasibly not die. This makes the human body almost like a car and for some disposable, which is supposed to explain a lot of things, like why there is so much nudity in the show.

My problem with that is that the nudity is almost completely one sided. You see all but one main female cast member completely naked. You see one male lead and it’s so brief I missed it. There is a scene where Dichen Lachman’s character jumps into six different sleeves of herself, all completely naked, and fights on a ton of glass. There are multiple sex scenes were you see full frontal female nudity, but the most you get male wise is butt. There are discarded female sex bots all over one episode, but almost no male ones.

I counted 2.5 penises, though I’m told I missed maybe 2 more. I lost track of how much bush I saw. If this was a futuristic world in which women appeared to be able to do everything that men could, they were revolutionaries, capitalists, and police officers, why was there so little in the way of their sexual entertainment? Why were their bodies the only ones on display?

Even ignoring the nudity the female characters were treated and written horribly. It was a violent world, but they almost always ended up worse than the male characters. They made decisions that seemed to go against character, though, most of that seemed to be in situations involving them being naked which just adds to my frustration on that front. Clearly the reason for the female nudity had very little to do with story.

Kristen Ortega, Martha Higareda, stalked Kovacs, Joel Kinnaman, from the beginning because he was in the sleeve of her boyfriend. She hated him because of it and was constantly calling him a terrorist, but this did not stop her from sleeping with him and falling in love to the point where when her boyfriend is cleared and Kovacs is returning the sleeve she is visibly disappointed. She was tortured, her partner killed protecting her, and her entire family brutally murdered. She’s finally at least getting the man she’s supposed to have loved enough that it messed her up emotionally at the beginning of the story, but she’s bummed because…reasons.

Reileen Kawahara, Dichen Lachman, is Kovacs sister. She has miraculously survived these two hundred and fifty years because she has no morals or scruples. This was hinted at in flash backs to their original lives and not out of character at all. What does feel out of character is her sudden incestuous feelings toward Kovacs. While she’s taken over the body of Kristen, she comes on hard to him. He realizes it’s her and is grossed out, but her explanation is nothing is off limits when you’re rich and basically a god. She goes from a younger sister that idolizes her brother to a madam that does truly heinous things all in the pursuit of money and apparently wants to get in his pants. Her getting her brother free is basically a stretch goal and her real purpose was to cover her own ass. She ends up dying, which is much deserved, though who knows if it’s permanent.

Quellcrist Falconer, Renée Elise Goldsberry, is leading a revolution. She’s created a technology that she thought would be good, but of course turned out bad. She’s trying to correct things, she’s got a plan, too bad she falls in love with Kovacs. She ends up dying at the hands of his sister, or does she? She’s currently saved on a stack waiting to be rescued by Kovacs.

Miriam Bancroft, Kristen Lehman, is married to Laurens Bancroft, James Purefoy, and is basically stuck. She can’t do anything because he owns everything, but she’s got her kids. Her kids are everything to her apparently, though apart from a couple seemingly throw away comments you don’t really know this until the last episode. She has been with her husband forever and seems to exist for him. Her body is specifically engineered to be amazing at sex to the point it excretes some kind of pheromone or something. Naturally she has sex with Kovacs and then any time she’s around him is trying to get him to go to an island where all of her clones are so that he can have sex with lots of her. You discover that she killed a sleeve and an unborn baby because of her great love of her children and not wanting someone else to give birth to a child by her husband. She has charges read against her and she’s led away by the police.

I’m not going to list the rest of the female cast, but their histories are similar. They’re dedicated to getting ahead at whatever cost, they do everything for their children, and they’re sexually abused and left for dead.

Just so you can see the contrast here’s a breakdown of some of the male characters.

Kovacs is woken up after two hundred and fifty years in jail, he’s put in an enhanced body, sadly they missed an opportunity here. He went from being Asian to a white male, if bodies are as exchangeable as they keep trying to say in the show it would have been nice if they hadn’t been so tone deaf.

He’s told if he can solve Bancroft’s murder he will get a full pardon and a ton of money, in the meantime he’s allowed to roam free and has access to a ton of money. He indulges in lots of drugs, has sex with his boss’s wife and the cop tailing him and wins a lot of fights. At one point he’s tortured for quite a while, but he eventually breaks himself out and destroys the whole place. The show ends with him killing his sister (maybe), learning his true love is in a stack somewhere and just needs to be found and put in a body, and getting a ton of money and a full pardon.

Laurens Bancroft is RICH and thinks of himself as a benevolent god. He’s kept his children in arrested development and they hate him for it. He believes one of his sleeves was murdered and wants Kovacs to figure out who did it. All the evidence points to suicide, but he refuses to believe that’s what happened. Turns out that’s exactly what happened. His wife drugged him because she was being blackmailed after she killed his baby momma. He gets super violent while on these drugs and permanently kills one of his prostitutes. He can’t believe he’d do something like that and it breaks him, he felt there was a line he’d never cross. So that he will never have to remember what he’s done he kills his sleeve before his memories can be backed up. The show ends with him being arrested, though the charges are never read by the police. He reconciles with his son and leaves him in charge, but let’s be honest there’s no way he’s not getting free with his money and the confession of his wife drugging him.

Poe, Chris Conner, is the most interesting character in the whole show. He’s a hotel AI and takes care of his guest, Kovacs, every whim. He dies a heroes death.

Like I said Altered Carbon is visually amazing to watch, the world interesting, but the story and characters are seriously lacking. There’s a lot wrong with it and I don’t think I’d say I enjoyed watching most of it, but it’s got a lot of potential. If it is picked up for a second season I hope it’s able to live up to that potential and do a lot better. I’m honestly not sure if I would watch a second season though.

2/5

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Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time – Christmas Special

Doctor Who Twice Upon a Time Christmas Special

Network:

BBC

Director:

Rachel Talalay

Starring:

Peter Capaldi

David Bradley

Pearl Mackie

Plot:

The Twelfth Doctor, still refusing to change, goes on a last adventure with the First Doctor.

Review:

The Doctor meets up with his original self in this Christmas special in a story that honestly didn’t need to be. The first Doctor, David Bradley, apparently didn’t want to change either, which goes against what we’ve always known, but whatever. The twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, is thinking about refusing to regenerate because he’s old and tired and people aren’t watching him as much as when David Tennant was the Doctor. Instead they stumble across each other and fuck up some time shit and they decide they should move on with their lives and regenerate.

It was awkward seeing the first Doctor because he was very much a product of the times he was created in, which goes against what you think the Doctor should be. The Twelfth Doctor was embarrassed by him and his old school sensibilities, which could have been amusing, but since they were all gender stereotypes which the Doctor really never should have had, it was just awkward.

Bill, Pearl Mackie, and Clara, Jenna Coleman, showed up as well because the companions are always there at the end, but since I greatly dislike Clara and Bill never grew on me it didn’t really mean much.

I feel like Peter Capaldi never got to shine as the Doctor. He is a good actor, but the storylines were just never there. I am so happy that Moffat is no longer going to be the lead and I hope we can return to the stories that made the Tennant years so wonderful. Even the first Matt Smith year was good, but these last few years have almost turned me off Who completely.

3/5

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Director:

Luc Besson

Starring:

Dane DeHaan

Cara Delevingne

Clive Owen

Plot:

A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

Review:

I wanted so bad to love this movie. I thought it looked so amazing, the world was super interesting, and I liked that one of the main characters was a woman. No matter how hard I try to love it, though, I can’t. After the ending I can’t even give it three stars.

First, and possibly the biggest problem, was the pacing. Oh my word it dragged in so many places and was just way too long.

I did not like the two leads. We were basically dropped into the middle of an ongoing relationship and just had to figure things out. Was Valerian being gross by continually asking Laureline to marry him? Were they in a point in their relationship where he was being cute? I have no idea and for me it came off as super annoying and I just wish she’d tell him to stfu.

I liked that she saved him and that he saved her, but he was the higher ranking officer so he was more capable than her? The power balance between the two was confusing, because, again we were just dropped into the middle of something that had been going on for a while with no explanation.

I wonder if Besson knew that this wasn’t going to get a sequel and just decided to do whatever the fuck he wanted whether it made sense for the viewer or not.

I enjoyed how it was shot and that everything wasn’t through a filter. Visually, it was really nice. The aliens were interesting and Alpha was a cool idea, but that’s all the positives I can think of.

Rhianna randomly being an alien shapeshifting stripper was weird and then she just dies. Dane DeHaan seemed to be trying a whole Keanu Reeves imitation with his voice that was also weird.

The ending made me bring it down a full star because it was just so ugh. Valerian saves the day and he and Lauraline are in an old Earth space ship and she agrees to marry him and they have sex. Seriously? It was just so stupid, especially, since I still had no idea what their relationship was supposed to be. She was forever telling him no and to focus on the job and he would just smile and ask again later.

I get that some people don’t like origin stories, but maybe this would have been better done that way. Or maybe they should have done a better job explaining the relationship. Or maybe there shouldn’t have been one at all. I know it’s based on a comic book, but it’s such an old obscure one that maybe they should have eased off the fan service and focused on people who just really want to see a good Sci-Fi story that has a happy ending. After this and Jupiter Ascending I’m never going to get an epic Sci-Fi movie series that isn’t Star Wars.

2/5

Future Man (2017-?)

Future Man (2017-?)

Network:

Hulu

Starring:

Josh Hutcherson

Derek Wilson

Eliza Coupe

Plot:

Josh Futturman, a janitor by day and a gamer by night, is recruited by mysterious visitors to travel through time to prevent the extinction of humanity.

Review:

Alright, so it’s a time travel show, I had to watch it. I started the first episode and my husband happened to see it, huge mistake. Future Man is hilarious and because of that now I can’t binge the show like it was made to be consumed. I have to watch an episode a night, at most, because my husband is loving it and wants to watch it with me.

The humor is crude, the future bleak, and there are several time jumps. I’m really enjoying the show, I’m not finished yet, but I’m already hoping there’s a second season.

If you want to watch all episodes are currently available on Hulu.com and the way each episode ends it’s made to be binged. Since they’re only thirty minutes long it’s easy to consume and so much fun.

4/5

Side note: Wolf is freaking hilarious and gets better with each episode.

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) By: Claudia Gray

 

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) By: Claudia Gray

Plot:

Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father’s killer through multiple dimensions.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores an amazingly intricate multi-universe where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.

Review:

Lost Stars was an incredible book, because of that I needed to try something else by Claudia Gray. A Thousand Pieces of You is about parallel universe and traveling to them, if that isn’t right up my alley I don’t know what is.

A Thousand Pieces of You is about traveling between universes, it’s got a system all worked out, it does it multiple times, but that isn’t the main point of the book. The main story is a freaking love triangle! Ugh. Other people might not feel that way, the characters certainly wouldn’t, it’s not about who she loves that way it’s about finding who killed her father and what the hell is going on, but there was just too much relationship stuff for me to agree. Her struggle between the two was in every chapter and it annoyed me to no end.

The book was well written the world’s created were cool and well thought out, but I just couldn’t stand the main character. She was stupid, it was clear from the first chapter that something was wrong with her motivation and she didn’t question it, she just pushed on and it bugged me. I just kept wanting to get to the part where she was as smart as people kept saying and I had to wait until the end of the book.

If it wasn’t for those two things I’d read the next book, but I just can’t handle more of the relationship drama. She’s basically made her choice at this point, but I know it’s not going to be that simple, it can’t be in these types of books. Technically I believe this book was actually a New Adult instead of a YA, the heroine was a senior in high school but she had sex, so *shrug*

If you don’t mind any of the things I mentioned I recommend reading this, it has a nice fleshed out plot and I’m sure it will continue to be, but I just can’t go on and that makes me sad. I was really hoping that Claudia Gray would end up being another favorite author.

3/5