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In case you missed it, I decided to compare the books to the TV show Altered Carbon. It’s a trilogy with both seasons 1 and 2 currently available on Netflix so I’ll be knocking out one episode a week for you over the next 18 weeks.
- Episode length: 59 minutes
- Pages read: 72
- Chapters read: 6
I’m really looking forward to bringing you my thoughts on each episode compared to the book. Even though I almost instantly found differences between the show and the book, by the end of the 6th chapter I was able to say that the main points happened in each.
SPOILERS AHEAD – WON’T RUIN THE SHOW BUT WILL TELL YOU SOME THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO KNOW BEFORE WATCHING/READING IT
To give you a summary, I’ve broken the differences and similarities down into dot points.
|Flashbacks happen throughout the episode||Flashback is the prologue only|
|The girlfriend is murdered by the Protectorates in cold blood||Sarah (the girlfriend) is gunned down while trying to shoot the Protectorates|
|Kovacs is made a martyr||Kovacs is show in the chest before he realises what’s happened while reaching for his gun|
|Bancroft lives in some tower structure where all the rich people live||Bancroft lives in an estate out of the city, overlooking the Reach|
|Kovac knows what a Songtree is||Kovac doesn’t know what a Songtree is|
|Ortega has a drink with Kovac while he’s tripping on various drugs before checking into a hotel||Ortega has a drink with Kovac in his hotel room after he’s attacked|
|Kovacs knows The Raven is an AI hotel before going into it||Kovacs finds out The Hendrix is an AI hotel after the firefight happens|
|Kovac is attached by like 5 or 6 guys (including one woman)||Kovac is attached by one guy and one woman|
|Kovac tried to avoid working for Bancroft||Kovac never tried to avoid working for Bancroft|
Pretty much everything from when they wake Kovac up until he get’s to Bancroft’s place is slightly different as well. Little things like the process of being woken up, being discharged, knowing vs not knowing the cops are escorting him to Bancroft, being given a letter from Bancroft before being discharged explaining why he’s been brought back. Little things like that are more detailed in the book.
Yet I understand they needed to change it so show you what the narration of the book tells us. Unless they felt like narrating every episode, I can see why they chose to do this a little differently.
The similarities are straight forward in that the general timeline and progress Kovac’s makes in the book and the show are pretty bang on. There’s a detour in the show where Kovac’s goes to get high and drink whereas in the book he questions Bancroft and his wife.
However, if I remember correctly the scene I read in the book where Miriam (Bancroft’s wife) is questioned, that happens in a later episode. It could have just been creative license to get interest in the series early.
Unlike with books, you’ve got one to two episodes to get the audience interested. If you weigh those episodes down with boring stuff like someone being questioned, you might lose the audience and cost the show success. Which is exactly why the show is “based on” the book. Not a direct adaptation of the book.