Classical Traces in “Altered Carbon” Netflix Series

This article may contain content inappropriate for children and young adults.

Altered Carbon (age rating: +16) is a new sci-fi series produced by Netflix, based on the novel by Richard K. Morgan of the same title.

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Altered Carbon TV poster [source]

The series presents a detective story set up in the dystopian future (in terms of style it is similar to “Blade Runner”). The main difference between the contemporary world and the future world shown in the series, is the invention of the ‘cortical stacks’ – storage devices that contain person’s consciousness, which may be placed into any suitable body or a ‘sleeve’:

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania altered carbon cortical stack
Altered Carbon Cortical Stack (concept art by Alex Meister, ArtStation) [source]

Altered Carbon series is highly classicised. The richest people called Meths (a reference to Biblical Methuselah – the longest-lived person in the Bible) have the means to gain immortality. The Bancroft family, leading among the Meths, stylise themselves as the Classical Gods. It is particularly visible in the style of clothes of Miriam Bancroft and the way of her husband Laurens’ behaviour. They even chose to build their house on some ‘island’ in the sky, thus they can literally be above the humans.

“(…) a lot of steps were taken to make sure the Meths look disconnected from the rest of humanity—the biggest example being the use of natural fibers, as in Altered Carbon’s world they are extremely rare and expensive. And of course, some of their outfits reflect ancient Greco-Roman gods, a purposeful nod to their godlike status.”

[Read more in the article titled “Altered Carbon‘s Costume Designer Talks About Designing Gods and Fetishizing Superheroes” by Beth Elderkin]

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Miriam Bancroft [source]
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Miriam and Laurens Bancroft [source]

Takeshi Kovacs, the protagonist, is a kind of superhero called from hibernation to investigate a murder of Laurens Bancroft. There are also other literary allusions, like for example one of the characters – Edgar Allan Poe, an owner of a hotel, and the Edgar Allan Poe hotel itself – witty and interesting as a proper Poe should be.

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Takeshi Kovacs [source]
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania edgar allan poe altered carbon
Edgar Allan Poe in his hotel [source] // Read more about the “Big Influences on Altered Carbon by Tim Surette
Found by Dr. Hanna Paulouskaya

Elaborated by Dorota Bazylczyk

See more:

  • The Official Trailer of Altered Carbon:


One thought on “Classical Traces in “Altered Carbon” Netflix Series”

  1. And there were some other references. At one point, for example, they are talking about roads as a cornerstone for the Roman Empire. I’m planing to write an article about it but first I have to watch all episodes again since I was too lazy to make some notes 😉


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