Death is a "mere inconvenience" in the stunning trailer for Netflix's newest sci-fi show, Altered Carbon. Based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan, this ten-part series takes place in a noir-tinged cyberpunk future, where human personalities can be stored digitally and downloaded into new bodies. This process is known as ‘being re-sleeved’.
In the books, re-sleeving is strongly opposed by Catholics, who believe that the soul should go to heaven after mortal death, rather than a computer database. This makes Catholics prime targets for murderers, because they are the only victims who can’t be revived in order to testify. The Netflix series will have the same protagonist as the book: Takeshi Kovacs, who is here played by Suicide Squad alum Joel Kinnaman.
A previously-released stack of Altered Carbon set photos had already alerted fans to the glossy, Blade-Runner-like visuals of the show. The new trailer hammers that point home, making it clear that this is Netflix’s answer to the slew of cyberpunk stories that have dominated screens big and small over the last few years. A synopsis was released along with the trailer, which you can read below:
“Altered Carbon 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.”
This trailer, and the synopsis that came with it, promise a lot. As well as the aforementioned eye-candy (did you spot the gorgeous, Matrix-like awakening scene?), there is clearly an engaging narrative at play, full of murder and deception. Kinnaman’s resurrected investigator will be thrust into a sci-fi mystery in an unfamiliar century, which is bound to throw up plenty of twists and turns. As the last line of the trailer ominously suggests, Takeshi needs to remember to fear death, despite the technological advancements around him.
However, although this series is an exciting prospect, sci-fi fans around the globe will be hoping that Netflix doesn’t screw it up. Executive producer and head writer Laeta Kalogridis has a mixed bag of a resumé that includes Shutter Island and Terminator: Genisys. As much as everyone loves Netflix, the streaming service has served up its fair share of stinkers in the past. Hopefully, Altered Carbon won’t be one of them.
Altered Carbon premiere February 2, 2018 on Netflix.