More technology, more problems: Netflix just dropped a teaser trailer — and a release date — for Altered Carbon, the forthcoming lavish cyberpunk series from the mind of Richard K. Morgan. From all we’ve seen, it’s looking like one of the most tricked-out original programs the streaming service has offered to date.
The new clip starts out as a come-on for Psychasec, a biological enhancement service that allows clients to essentially live forever in a succession of new and disposable body “sleeves,” all while juiced with pheromones the company promises will make the occupant “sexually irresistible to anyone.”
It’s a setup that mixes in just the right amount of allure with a sense of vaguely corporatist and socially stratified unease, until the commercial gives way to action: Five hundred years in the future, just as today, human motives remain what they’ve always been. And in Altered Carbon’s world, the struggle for power just might end up being indistinguishable from the struggle for survival.
In the story’s future setting, consciousness is the only enduring form of identity, as bodies can be re-inhabited at will, indefinitely ... unless something interferes with the ongoing process. That creates its own problems and its own stakes, but the thought of actually dying — at least for the fortunate who can afford to try on and cast off a never-ending string of new bodies — hasn’t been one of them.
As the trailer closes, someone — presumably series protagonist Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman), a private investigator who’s lived in both the distant past as well as Altered Carbon’s present — gives a voice to that realization: “The danger of living too many times,” he says, is that “you forget to fear death.”
Judging from the trailer — as well as from what we know of the book on which this series is based — the threat of dying in Altered Carbon’s dystopian darkscape is about to get all too real. The first 10 episodes of the series will debut on Netflix on Feb. 2.