Altered Carbon and Consider Phlebas cancelled

Netflix did what Netflix does and put a bullet into Takeshi Kovac’s stack this week, confirming there would be no third series of Altered Carbon. It’s a pity. I liked that show. But it’s not unexpected. Netflix cancels everything that makes life worth living, and the old series are still there to be watched.

A bigger hit was hearing that Amazon’s planned adaptation of Iain M. Banks Culture series was dead.

Den of Geek had a sad chat with proposed show runner Dennis Kelly who had been putting together the bible for Consider Phlebas.

“We’d talked about it for two or three years and it went a certain way along,” said Kelly. “I’d written probably 20-30 pages of the bible, but once I got a sense that it wasn’t going to happen, I had to stop writing because you become emotionally attached to the work.”

Kelly laid the body at the feet of the Banks estate.

“In the end, I just think the estate didn’t want to go through with it. It wasn’t the material,” he says, “it was just because I think they weren’t ready to do it, for whatever reason. I’m a little mystified myself, to be honest.”

This one hurts. I fucking LOVE that series. Having read all the books I went back and bought the audio versions, because the read thru was so good it was like meeting them all over again.

I also feel for Kelly. I’ve had some experience of screenwriting the last few years. A lot gets written and paid for but almost nothing gets made. It’s a weird industry. I have three projects which I’ve been contracted for, and I invested deeply in all of the characters. I really hurts when you know that nobody else will ever see them. And I mean never, because of NDAs.

It’s a profoundly different experience to writing a book. When I decide to do a novel, it’s getting published one way or another in the end, either by the trade or myself.

But I can write an entire movie or TV series, and get paid for it, knowing all the time that between my work and your viewing pleasure there are dozens of people just waiting to put a bullet into the project. And once they do, that’s it.

Still, I got paid, I guess.