Sexy Netflix show you need watch
DON'T let the weird, sort of icky sci-fi atmosphere put you off.
Netflix's brand new show Altered Carbon is slick, sweaty and sexy as hell, and you need to be binge-watching it now.
Based on a cyberpunk novel of the same name released in 2002, it charts a dystopian society set years in the future where reincarnation is possible and the human body is known merely as a "sleeve" into which your consciousness has been downloaded.
The main character is Takeshi Kovacs, a dead man resurrected by aristocrat Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) to help solve his own murder mystery. (I said weird, remember?)
Kovacs is played with just the right amount of stiffness by Joel Kinnaman, a Swedish actor in the Skarsgard style, who is suitably stunned to find himself alive again, re-sleeved in the body of a, well, incredibly chiselled action hero. ("Joel's abs were CGI," co-star Martha Higareda joked to Vanity Fair.)
Think of it this way: Grimy, dystopian Blade Runner-esque realms are good for two things and two things alone. One is goosebump-inducing gadgets and tech. The other is all the trashy, filthy, seedy things that go down in the underbelly of an urban sprawl. Drugs, drink, delirious sex ... You name it, Altered Carbon has it.
One of the reasons the show is so sexy is enshrined in the philosophy of the series. The idea of "sleeves" is that the body is a genetically engineered shell designed for maximum, well, everything. Yes, maximum action and power - these sleeves are killing machines, after all - but maximum pleasure, too.
This isn't anything new for sci-fi - think of Neo and Trinity getting it on in The Matrix, or, more recently, a cyber-enhanced Scarlett Johansson and Adwoa Aboah's passionate sex scene in 2017's Ghost In The Shell - but Altered Carbon is one of the first times these sex scenes have been dealt up so explicitly and with as much sensual build-up.
There's also a lot of gratuitous nudity on display, but it's interesting to interrogate the ways in which this nudity is employed for narrative effect. If a body is just an object, a sleeve in which your mind lives, who cares what you do with it, right?
The number of naked bodies on display seems to speak to that, especially when you take into account that there is both full-frontal female nudity and full-frontal male nudity in this show. (Game of Thrones, listen up.) I think we can credit - and thank - Altered Carbon's female creator Laeta Kalogridis with that. And, sidebar, Altered Carbon is the most expensive show ever run solely by a woman, so let's give props to that.
But let's talk about those sex scenes, already.
"Have you been with anyone since you've been decanted?" femme fatale Miriam Bancroft asks Kovacs at the end of episode two. "This sleeve is state-of-the-art biochemtech ... Everything you feel I feel. And everything I feel you feel," she adds. Needless to say, an extended and very graphic sex scene ensues. (Unfortunately for them, there's also a nasty little drone filming everything and sending the footage of Kovacs giving Myriam some mind-blowing cunnilingus back to her husband. Oops.)
There's plenty more sex where that came from, like the scenes in episode five when Kovacs and police office Ortega explore each other's sleeves. Those scenes are sexy as hell and strangely romantic, too.
But there's also a lot of terrifying, grisly violence. This show is super graphic in every sense of the word - it's gratuitous and trashy, cheesy and cringey, totally, wholly consuming and consumable - and not to be approached lightly. Such is the territory of sci-fi where bodies are disposable and violence only a means to an end.
But if you have the stomach for Black Mirror with lots more added sex - seriously, the best description we could come up with - then you're gonna love this show.
Altered Carbon streams on Netflix now.