The new Netflix TV Series Altered Carbon will attract lots of Science Fiction fans, including me. My first impression, after watching six episodes, is, generally, positive. I still prefer Stranger Things by a wide margin (and look forward to its 3rd season). Or, an older (still outstanding!) show, Fringe. Altered Carbon impresses with the level of imagination, the quality of special effects, and the scale of problems it is trying to address. Kudos to Netflix for taking on such a complex and expensive project. The weak spot for the show is the likability of the main characters: they are not bad but not as likable as the protagonists from the two other above-mentioned successful shows.
One question I keep having after watching this kind of movie or TV series is: why is the dystopian version of the future so attractive to writers and the movie-makers? Is this really what people writing books and making movies believe the most-likely future will look like for us?
Dark, dangerous cities filled with drugs, crime, prostitution, illegal businesses, gangs and heavily-armed police forces. Corrupt, nearly-omnipotent individuals and corporations controlling everything and everyone. Everything is for sale. The democracy is fictional and is alike to Potemkin’s village. And, generally, a hopeless, sick, suppressed, poor, and desperate population waiting for their hero.
Not too different from a version of the world in Total Recall (this is the 2012 version):
Or, the recent Blade Runner 2049 (2017):
I could add may other movies to the list… In fact, after a quick search, I found such a list of dystopian movies (all 200 or so of them).
What is up with all the negativity? Why is s it so much easier to sell this kind of story today than a vision of a successful, happy, safe, and prosperous future where most of us are healthy and enjoying life? A future that looks something like this: a green, smart (IoT-wise), friendly, safe city, Paris 2050 (by Vincent Callebaut, link).
A place that the “future me” actually wants to live in.