In the far future of this cyberpunk series, technology has made it possible for a person’s consciousness to be stored on a spinal implant known as a “stack.” These stacks are transferable between bodies, or “sleeves.” A person will not die unless their stack is destroyed, and the very wealthy can create backups that effectively make them immortal. If you have already finished watching it, here is a list of spectacular shows like Altered Carbon that you can check out!
In the series, it is assumed that one of these extremely wealthy individuals, Bancrofts, committed suicide when he is discovered dead; however, his backup was created hours earlier, so he is unaware of what took place; however, he is persuaded he wouldn’t shoot himself. Takeshi Kovacs, a convicted killer whose stack had been stored for over two hundred years, is employed by him to solve the case.
List of TV Shows Like Altered Carbon
1. Travelers (2016)
100 years from now, humans have discovered how to transfer consciousness but in Time. In a desperate attempt to alter their fate, consciousness is sent back to the 21st century to inhabit the bodies of soon-to-die individuals. Travelers is a spectacular and engrossing show to watch.
Travelers’s concept and narrative style are similar to La Jetée (1962), which sets the show apart from the well-worn time-travel shows. My favourite aspect of Travelers is that it only gets better with each season; season 3 was a highlight of the show’s mystery, action, and thrills. The performance of Eric McCormack as the diverse group’s leader is absolutely brilliant. Travelers should be on your list if you are a fan of futuristic sci-fi shows like Altered Carbon.
2. The Expanse (2015)
The show follows the disappearance of Julie Mao a rich turned political activist in link to detective Joe Miller and ship captain James Holden and U.N. politician Avasarala. The 1st season starts off a bit slow, following political tension between Earth, Mars and the Belt, The Expanse quickly picks up the pace revealing a great conspiracy.
What’s unique about this show is the sense of realism for a sci-fi story. The setting is not so far-fetched, it’s easy to imagine everything one sees in this as a part of our future. The plot is deep, layered and interesting, the characters are three-dimensional. In fact, every detail of the show is fantastic, including the satisfying ending. I will highly recommend The Expanse as a fan of shows like Altered Carbon.
3. Orphan Black (2013)
After witnessing a girl’s suicide, a streetwise hustler becomes entangled in a compelling conspiracy. SPOILER: Sarah is an outsider, an orphan, and a streetwise chameleon in Orphan Black. Sarah takes on the identity of a stranger who happens to have the same appearance as her after witnessing a woman commit suicide.
Sarah Manning is a single mum with a drug dealing and off-boyfriend. One night, she is at a train station and sees herself jump in front of an oncoming train. She runs off with her belongings, later finding out the woman is a cop called Beth Childs. Sarah takes her identity and, at first, assumes that she must be a long-lost sister. But there is A LOT MORE going on, which she discovers. Her discovery opens an unprecedented conspiracy that is truly mind-blowing. If you especially loved performances in series like Altered Carbon then you will appreciate Tatiana in Orphan Black as well.
4. Black Mirror (2011)
Black Mirror is a very popular Netflix anthology series known for its near-future dystopian speculative stories driven by the advancement of science technologies. Every episode is a new story, a new cast, and directed by a new person. While you may not like every single one of the episodes, some of the episodes will leave a strong effect on you.
Black Mirror features many talented artists like Anthony Mackie, Andrew Scott, and Jodie Foster Be Right Back, USS Callister and Playtest are some of my personal favourite episodes since they highlight the themes of grief, obsession/mental captivity, and losing memory or holding on to reality. Such kinds of episodes are surely worth a watch if you liked shows similar to Altered Carbon.
5. The Handmaid’s Tail (2017)
In the near future, in response to the fertility crisis, a Christian fundamentalist theocratic regime rises where fertile women, including the protagonist, June, are forced to agree with strict rules of living as a concubine for an Officer and his Wife. June hopes to be free and reunite with her young daughter.
The Handmaid’s Tale is an incredible series with outstanding performance. It can be hard to watch sometimes, but the eye-opening story is worth it. Based on Margaret Atwood’s futuristic story, there is a sense of truth in what is being shown. This series is perhaps a timely warning that the world isn’t immune to the horrors that have already affected many people. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the best series like Altered Carbon that you can watch.
6. Lost (2004)
The sci-fi/supernatural show Lost was created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof. In the premise, A commercial passenger jet en route from Sydney to Los Angeles crashes on a remote island somewhere in the south of the Pacific ocean. Lost features a large ensemble of about 70 actors, 14 with recurring roles. If you have already seen this groundbreaking series, then check out more shows like Lost.
One of the most expensive pilots ever made, Lost was influenced by the movie Castaway. Lost is appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. The story is incredibly thought-provoking. If you’re looking for TV shows similar to Altered Carbon, the sci-fi survival shows Lost is a great choice.
7. Dollhouse (2009)
Created by Joss Wheaton, Dollhouse follows Echo, a Doll or as called her, ‘Active’ from a facility called ‘Dollhouse’ where wealthy clients are higher human beings for any reason, may it be romance or criminal enterprise.
A well-acted, thought-provoking, and frequently devastating story, this one is not without its twists and turns, Dollhouse is a peculiar oddity, an extremely brave piece of fiction that fearlessly tackles uncomfortable concepts and themes and asks challenging questions. For a weekend binge-watch, Dollhouse will be an entertaining series like Altered Carbon.
8. Battlestar Galactica (2004)
A Reboot of the original 1978 show of the same name, the 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a miniseries. But don’t be mistaken by the title. The show is not related to Star Trek. Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.
The show is a dark, intense, and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever, and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Altered Carbon.
9. Colony (2016)
The Sci-fi show Colony explores a family’s survival in midst of a mysterious alien invasion. Humanity faces unprecedented challenges as the aliens take over the habitats and humans are forced to live in the shadows.
I truly loved this series. It has an excellently written storyline with a really good cast, including Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Peter Jacobson. Every episode keeps you so hooked that you won’t be able to wait for what comes next. Very binge-able, Colony brilliantly showcases human vulnerability, so if you want to see sci-fi series similar to Altered Carbon, go ahead and watch Colony.
10. Dark Matter (2015)
Six people wake up on a spaceship orbiting a planet far out in deep space at the edge of civilization with no memory of who they are or how they got there. After pairing up and searching the ship, they discover it’s full of weapons. With the help of an android they find on board, the crew discovers they are orbiting a disputed planet, and the weapons are likely for the colonists below.
Even though the show got cancelled after 3 seasons, it’s worth a watch. For anyone that enjoys sci-fi channel-type movies or shows, this is a good one. From the strong female characters to space combat scenes, this is one of the best series like Altered Carbon worth losing sleep over.
Here are a few sci-fi shows like Altered Carbonthat didn’t make the list, but you can have a look at them:
- The 100
- Lost in Space
- Stranger Things