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January 03,2018

Collider | Once you’ve shrugged off your holiday hangover, can we take a moment to get officially hyped for Netflix‘s first big science fiction release of 2018? Altered Carbon won’t hit the streaming service until February 2, 2018, but Netflix has already released a string of dazzling teasers. The show, a sort of cyberpunk-y, space noir-y, action-y murder mystery is set nearly 300 years in the future, where immortality is real, but it comes with a catch. You see, you can store your consciousness on a chip, and when you shuffle off your current mortal coil, this chip can be implanted in a new body, or sleeve. Naturally, not everyone is psyched about this development — it presents a moral and metaphysical quandary, after all – and one such dissenter, an elite soldier named Takeshi Kovacs, is revived centuries after his death in a brand new “Joel Kinnaman-shaped” body for a unique purpose. He needs to solve an immortal man’s murder.

Does it sound like a lot? It sounds like a lot. It also sounds potentially cool as heck. (“Cool as heck” is a technical, safe-for-work term to describe something that “f*cking b*tching.”) Altered Carbon is based on a 2002 cult sci-fi thriller by Richard K. Morgan and the series is something of a passion project for its showrunner and creator, Laeta Kalogridis. The screenwriter bought the film options for the book around the time it first came out, but it was a pass from most major studios. However, now its found a home as a lavish series on Netflix. And Netflix seems to be pretty psyched for it. In addition to the two teasers Netflix dropped last month, the streaming service has also given fans a behind-the-scenes look at the series, that doubles as a kind of “Altered Carbon for Dummies.”

There are a bunch of reasons why Netflix might be betting big on the series. Yeah, it’s rumored to be one of the most expensive series that the streaming service has ordered, but it’s something of a sound investment. While Netflix’s programming strategy used to look haphazard — as though they were just trying to fit every audience niche possible — they’re starting to hone in on a specific genre that consistently does well for them. Since Stranger Things and Black Mirror became surprise hits for the service, Netflix has invested in sci-fi, fantasy, and thrillers in a big way. Case in point: Bright. Netflix spent over $90 million on the David Ayer orc cop-fairy pest drama and while critics (and my mom) hated it, the film netted over 11 million viewers in its first weekend on the site.

Altered Carbon has all the trimmings of a Netflix smash hit. It’s got sex, action, sumptuous visuals, a complicated murder mystery, and Joel Kinnaman. Yeah, I said “Joel Kinnaman.” The Swedish-American actor may not have made it big time on the big screen, but he consistently pops in Netflix fare like House of Cards and The Killing. So…are you hyped yet?

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