Altered Carbon (8.5)

I remember waking up one evening with an idea for a screenplay that I immediately wrote down (and subsequently put out of my mind forever). The idea was for a dystopian future where human body parts were farmed and transplanted into humans, creating an era of unprecedented wealth and immortality. The richest would be beautiful people who had their choice of the top organs such as youthful skin and elaborate eye pigmentation. The middle and lower classes would be more average looking, and the very bottom classes would be deformed or missing body parts, sometimes replacing their natural organs with cheap scraps of others.

While this idea was obviously never adapted into the screenplay I had envisioned, I was delighted to come across the new Netflix series Altered Carbon which followed a similar premise alongside a compelling murder mystery. This series based on a book trilogy by Richard K. Morgan expanded on the similar (albeit unoriginal) idea where instead of harvesting the organs artificially, they re-use human bodies which they refer to as “sleeves.” When a human dies, the mandatory chip that they insert into their neck’s at birth is removed and placed into a new sleeve, transferring their full consciousness into the new body. This creates a world where people can live forever (granted they have the necessary resources to do so) and opens up a whole new strain of societal issues. The series overall was excellent with a much higher production value than I was expecting for a sci-fi TV series with such an abstract concept. There were only a select few times that I had a face as blank as the main actor (Joel Kinnaman), who despite his lack of emotion or enthusiasm still gives a worthy performance that helps evolve the story.

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