Martha Higareda and Joel Kinnaman in the first season of Netflix's "Altered Carbon." Martha Higareda and Joel Kinnaman in the first season of Netflix's "Altered Carbon."

The first season of Altered Carbon on Netflix was a beautiful, far-reaching, and ultimately flawed yarn. It was visually stunning — the sort of show that demands 4K and HDR. The story was winding from the outset. Who is this guy who used to be Asian and apparently had a heart, and what did he do to be put in storage and awaken as sadistic and uncaring an overgrown white dude as one could possibly be?

And all that is before the murder mystery sets in.

And long before someone apparently decided that Takeshi Kovacs was just too damn mean and started to soften him up halfway through the series. Perhaps it was the writers — perhaps it was the women in his life. Or maybe he was turning into his Elias Ryker sleeve and losing some of Kovacs. (Jury's still out on that one.)

For as much as I enjoyed the series and the story, though, I'm not sure how I would have handed a second season with the same characters. It's not like Joel Kinnaman could have played Kovacs much darker.

Anthony Mackie Anthony Mackie will be the new Takeshi Kovacs in the second season of "Altered Carbon."

And so I met the news that Anthony Mackie (yes, Falcon, among other great roles) that would become the new body for Kovacs. (If you've not yet caught the first season, the human body is a mere "sleeve" for the consciousness, which is downloaded in an implanted "stack" and can be moved from host to host, or viewed in VR.)

Mackie has the chops for this role. (Watch 999 if you haven't seen it already.) He's got the pathos for a character that has multiple lifetimes of pain and regret and downright evil, as well as the ability to draw sympathy for someone you know isn't truly evil — he just didn't give a shit anymore.

Kinnaman did that, too — to the point at which you weren't really sure which side was going to win out. He knew who he was and what he'd done and what else he was capable of.

But Mackie absolutely will bring a new depth of diversity in what was almost already a maddeningly diverse cast — only because it made plot lines a little difficult to follow until you really figure out what's going on, but at the same time it gave the show a richness almost never seen before.

No, Season 2 of Altered Carbon is likely going to be as much of a reboot as it is a sequel. Mackie is the only new character Netflix has announced so far, though Laeta Kalogridis is back as co-showrunner and executive producer, and Alison Schapker joins the production in those same roles.

What else is to come in a world in which it's possible to live damned near forever and do anything and everything you could ever want?

Who knows. ... But it's going to look good.



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