Netflix Teases Their Brand New Cyberpunk Series 'Altered Carbon'

Friday, 01 December 2017 - 7:34PM
Friday, 01 December 2017 - 7:34PM
Netflix Teases Their Brand New Cyberpunk Series 'Altered Carbon'
< >
Vincent Chong/Subterranean Press
By now, Netflix's business model is fairly transparent. The streaming service wants to sell you on old stuff: all those shows you loved as a kid, or wished you'd seen but never had time for, are all mashed together on a single platform.

Where there isn't enough old stuff in existence, Netflix makes new old stuff - hence Stranger ThingsVoltron, and Fuller House, all of which are based on nostalgia for old shows, or just generally the '80s.

Altered Carbon seems to be something different. For once, Netflix isn't trying to sell you a TV show based on your nostalgia. Instead, it's trying to sell you based on a butt, according to a new teaser on the show's official Twitter account (Netflix released something similar on the streaming service's main account as well):

Yup, that's a butt. There's also, inexplicably, a link to a Reddit account hidden in a brief flash frame within the teaser. Anyone who heads over to u/lastenvoy will come across questions that are being answered by someone in character as the show's protagonist. It's a novel marketing approach, albeit one that's somewhat overshadowed by the aforementioned butt.

Obviously, Altered Carbon isn't a completely original idea for a TV show - that's even harder to find in the modern media climate. Instead, it's an adaptation of a cyberpunk novel of the same name by Richard K Morgan from 2002. Altered Carbon, the novel, tells a story about physical body upgrades as people are encouraged to upload their minds into newer, sexier, immortal "sleeves" - artificial bodies that are grown in a lab.

The initial teaser looks an awful lot like footage from this year's Ghost in the Shell movie, as slow panning shots linger on this artificial body in a way that's both voyeuristic and quite detached - this is simultaneously a beauty product commercial and a car commercial, at the same time.

What relation (if any) this has on the series as a whole remains to be seen - we got a similar fake product commercial for the character of Walter in Alien: Covenant earlier this year, but that didn't have any bearing on what the movie actually looked like.

It's a little baffling that media outlets keep pushing the cyberpunk genre onto audiences at present, not least because all similar attempts to revitalize this kind of story (such as the recent Blade Runner 2049) have failed to grab a large audience, sometimes even in spite of critical praise. A film adaptation of William Gibson's Neuromancer is in the works as well.

Netflix may be the best place for the cyberpunk genre to thrive, as if the show can find a niche audience, it may stand a chance of surviving in spite of the general air of apathy that hangs over wider audiences when it comes to this genre. Of course, the show's appearance on Netflix means that it could also end up being the new Sense8, so there's every chance that cyberpunk might prove a little too niche for the streaming service's core audience.

There's something deliciously poetic about cyberpunk stories continuing to draw large budgets in spite of their relative unpopularity at the moment. Struggling in the face of an oppressive social situation that ignores or villifies outsiders feels very appropriate for shows like Altered Carbon, so here's hoping the series itself lives up to the meta-narrative that's on display.

If nothing else, this show is paying for one person to spend all day on Reddit, and that feels like it's the kind of business practice that the internet should appreciate.

Altered Carbon should come out sometime in 2018 on Netflix.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi TV Shows