Netflix has released a short social tease for Altered Carbon offers a taste of the show's sleek cyberpunk future, where the rich live forever in cloned bodies they can put on and discard at will. Joel Kinnaman is set to star in the sci-fi series, written by Shutter Island writer Laeta Kalogridis, with a pilot directed by Game of Thrones' Miguel Sapochnik.
Based on a 2002 novel by Richard Morgan, Altered Carbon takes place in a futuristic city where the poor live in densely-populated, dirty Blade Runner neighborhoods while the rich dwell literally above the clouds, in the upper levels of huge skyscrapers. The privileged few achieve immortality by digitally storing their conscious minds in computers, downloading themselves into cloned bodies called sleeves, which are made sexually irresistible via engineered super-pheromones. The plot follows a former UN soldier named Takeshi Kovacs (Kinnaman) trained for inter-stellar warfare, his formerly imprisoned mind now downloaded into a sleeve that once belonged to a cop, as he investigates an attempted murder.
News on Altered Carbon has been sparse since the initial announcement that Netflix had ordered 10 episodes of the series, but now a Twitter account associated with the show has posted a brief clip teasing the series' cloning angle (see the video below). Shot like an advertisement for the show's fictional company Psychasec, the social asset introduces the concept of sleeves, which allow their owners to remain eternally youthful and irresistibly sexy.
Become a new you with Psychasec. pic.twitter.com/RDJ2lh0ZR1
— Altered Carbon (@AltCarb) November 30, 2017
Netflix's slow, viral Altered Carbon roll-out also includes a series of images "leaked" via a Reddit account called LastEnvoy. The GIF images focus on the poor half of the story's economically segregated world, which looks exactly like the over-crowded, bustling, neon-drenched dystopian landscape of Blade Runner, complete with appropriated Asian elements. The images don't give us a glimpse of how the other half lives in Altered Carbon: far above the filthy streets in antiseptic skyscrapers, living out their lives as eternally youthful sexy people. Joel Kinnaman's cop character undoubtedly will be positioned as a bridge between these two worlds (in a flying car like Blade Runner, though this time there will be a legitimate reason for him to have a flying car, since he has to get up above the clouds).
With a rumored budget of around $7 million-per-episode, putting it in the range of earlier seasons of Game of Thrones, Altered Carbon is a very ambitious project for Netflix. For that kind of money, the show will undoubtedly look amazing, and the cyberpunk storyline certainly has a lot of promise. Though Joel Kinnaman's career as a leading man hasn't exactly taken off, he's a solid and reliable actor who certainly has the right tough/sad feel to play a hard-boiled soldier-turned-cop in a futuristic world.
Altered Carbon hits Netflix sometime in 2018.