Would you empty your consciousness into a machine if it meant you could live forever? What about a sexy android that had your memories stored in its spinal column? Altered Carbon, a 10-episode Netflix Original Series, is based on Richard K. Morgan’s 2002 cyberpunk novel of the same name. It just got its first teaser, and the series is looking equal parts sexy and confusing.
Let’s break it down.
On Thursday, Netflix shared the first teaser for its upcoming Altered Carbon on Twitter. The teaser — about 30 seconds long — is a fake advertisement for the in-world company PsychaSec, a lead manufacturer of “sleeves,” the new bodies people empty their memories into in Morgan’s world. The memories, typically stored in cortical stacks in a person’s spinal column, are transferred into a new body. While some people switch bodies on the regular, others only transfer bodies once or twice.
Altered Carbon is set 500 years in the future in a world where humanity has reached beyond Earth and settled several plants outside our own galaxy. The United Nations Protectorate oversees these planets. One of them, Harlan’s World, is a planet settled by a Japanese keiretsu (a kind of informal business group); that’s where Takeshi Kovacs, an elite former United Nations soldier, resides. He’s our hero. But he, like other soldiers in his world, has to deal with the effects of transferring from one sleeve to another on the regular.
As for this teaser, the company PsychaSec clearly touts the “live forever and look beautiful while doing it,” promising sleeves that are irresistible to anyone. But, weirdly, the sexy androids are not the most interesting part of the teaser.
A millisecond flash hidden within the teaser shows a link to Reddit user lastenvoy’s profile and three gifs depicting the world of Altered Carbon. In the comments below each gif, u/lastenvoy responds in-character as Kovacs to people’s comments and questions.
Things are clearly so much more complicated that simply living “forever in the body you deserve.”
Altered Carbon does not yet have a release date.