Netflix fills a sci-fi hole in its originals lineup with Altered Carbon
Over the summer, Netflix likely ruined the day for some sci-fi fans when the company announced its biggest original genre series, Sense8, wouldn't be returning for a third season. Though fan outcry pushed the streaming service to commit to a one-off, two-hour finale for the Wachowskis' series, the cancellation still left a sci-fi sized hole in the company's programming going forward.
That changes on February 2, 2018. Today, Netflix released the first trailer for Altered Carbon, a 10-episode series based on the Philip K. Dick award-winning 2002 novel from Richard Morgan.
Here's how the company describes the premise:
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.
Netflix quietly acquired the rights to Altered Carbon at the start of 2016, but this sprawling story required a larger production than your average original. Canadian outlet The Province reported that Netflix moved into a state-of-the-art studio in British Columbia that could accommodate hundreds of staff, and Gizmodo wrote that per-episode spending could end up in the millions. If aesthetic and visual believability matters to you in your sci-fi decisions, evidently Altered Carbon will fall into the Westworld-y higher-end of that spectrum.
Either way, the new series certainly fits with the Netflix ethos of investing more and more in its original programming as competing streaming services crop up and further splinter rights to existing films and TV shows.
Creative staff for Altered Carbon includes writer Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Terminator: Genisys), and Miguel Sapochnik (Game of Thrones) directed the first episode. Joel Kinnaman (of the recent RoboCop remake) stars as Kovacs, who is a biracial man of Japanese-descent who ends up in a white man's body (hopefully the series is more cognizant of that identity dynamic than, say, the new Ghost in the Shell).
The trailer certainly nails the same dystopian future, cyberpunk aesthetic that delighted fans of Blade Runner 2049, so clear your binging schedule for 2018 accordingly.
Listing image by Netflix / Morgan Paget