In a nutshell: Once again, Netflix has canceled a big-budget show with a large and dedicated fan base. The company announced that sci-fi series Altered Carbon would not be returning for season 3.
Back in 2018, a booth at CES from a company called Psychasec offered full-body replacements for humans, allowing people to transfer their consciousness into a new and improved flesh shell. It was, of course, all a promo for Netflix’s upcoming cyberpunk series, Altered Carbon.
Based on the 2002 novel of the same title by English author Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon follows the story of Takeshi Kovacs, played by Joel Kinnaman in season one. It’s set in a future where death is avoided by transferring a person’s consciousness, stored in “cortical stacks,” into new bodies, or “sleeves.”
Season one had a massive budget—more than the first three seasons of Game of Thrones, according to Kinnaman—and while many people, this writer included, enjoy it, the show never gained GoT-like reviews or popularity.
Altered Carbon still made it to a second season, with a lower budget, fewer episodes, a new showrunner, and thanks to the body-swapping plot, a new lead in the form of Anthony Mackie—best known as The Falcon from the Avengers movies.
The changes meant many fans didn’t love season two. According to Deadline, Netflix decided in April that there wouldn’t be a third season. The decision wasn’t related to Covid-19, which was behind the canceling of The Society and I Am Not OK With This. It all came down to the usual cost vs. viewer numbers, apparently.
The show spawned an excellent animated film called Altered Carbon: Resleeved.
The cancelation is a shame for fans, especially as a final, third season could have wrapped everything up.
Netflix would have been expecting a better return on what was one of its most expensive productions, so the move isn’t totally unexpected, especially as the company has ended numerous shows prematurely, even those loved by viewers.