2017 has been a good year for Netflix original series, perhaps almost TOO good. Just in the last few months, we’ve been treated to Stranger Things 2, Mindhunter, The Punisher, Godless, Dark, and more. In fact, it’s been almost impossible to keep up, which is a great problem to have.
2018 looks to be just as dazzling. Altered Carbon, based on the cyberpunk noir novel by Richard K. Morgan, is an “intriguing story of murder, love, sex, and betrayal, set more than 300 years in the future.”
Society has been transformed by new technology: consciousness can be digitized; human bodies are interchangeable; death is no longer permanent. Takeshi Kovacs is the lone surviving soldier in a group of elite interstellar warriors who were defeated in an uprising against the new world order. His mind was imprisoned, “on ice”, for centuries until Laurens Bancroft, an impossibly wealthy, long-lived man, offers Kovacs the chance to live again. In exchange, Kovacs has to solve a murder… that of Bancroft himself.
The first half of this teaser trailer feels eerily similar to the commercials from Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral, interspliced with creepy Alien or The Matrix style imagery and the use of the unsettling term “human sleeve.” There are some impressive quick cuts of action scenes and a sobering voiceover which intones that “The danger of living too many times is that you forget to fear death.” Rather than evoking Roy Batty’s Blade Runner question of “Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it?” Altered Carbon seems like it will traverse a different path towards fear.
Of course, this all begs the eternal question: Would you put your brain in a robot body?