Based on the 2002 book by Richard K. Morgan, the series takes place in a distant, scientifically advanced future where people can download their mind and place it into another body (called a sleeve) after they die to prolong their own lives. The trailer previews some of its worldbuilding and action, and hints that the show isn’t going to shy away from its source material. Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik directed the pilot and has a talented supporting cast with Hamilton’s Renée Elise Goldsberry, Dichen Lachman, Martha Higareda, and Kristin Lehman.
Joel Kinnaman stars as Takeshi Kovacs, a biracial Japanese envoy who’s sleeved into the body of a white man, which will probably raise eyebrows among some sci-fi fans (especially after the whitewashing in Ghost in the Shell). It’s a bit more complicated than that in the source material, which sees Takeshi’s mind placed into the body of Elias Ryker, a white Bay City policeman, but the Nerds of Color’s Clara Mae argued last year that it’s still a case of whitewashing because Morgan’s novel spends large portions of the book writing from Takeshi’s point of view as Japanese, even when his mind is in Ryker’s body.
“By making it more about the body than the soul, I would argue that the adaptation has already missed the point of the novel, before it’s even begun,” Mae wrote.
Here’s a synopsis, courtesy of Netflix.
“Based on the award-winning novel, Altered Carbon takes place in a future where the human mind can now be digitized and downloaded into a “cortical stack” and placed into new bodies, called sleeves.
The series follows Envoy soldier Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman), who is brought back to life centuries later to investigate the attempted murder of Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy), the wealthiest man on Earth. As the investigation progresses, Kovacs comes to learn that his past isn’t nearly as buried as he thought.”
All 10 episodes of Altered Carbon drop on Netflix on Feb. 2, 2018.