N. 10 (2024): The Discursive Construction of Contemporary Family Types

Navigating the Afterlife: Transhumanism and Televised Visions of Eternity

Aureliana Natale
University of Naples Federico II

Pubblicato 2024-06-27

Come citare

Natale, A. (2024). Navigating the Afterlife: Transhumanism and Televised Visions of Eternity. De Genere - Rivista Di Studi Letterari, Postcoloniali E Di Genere, (10), 139–150. Recuperato da https://www.degenere-journal.it/index.php/degenere/article/view/206


The concept of an afterlife has been a staple of human storytelling since time immemorial. From the ethereal heavens of religious belief to the ghostly realms of folklore, the question of what lies beyond death holds enduring fascination. In contemporary television series, a new paradigm emerges in the representation of the afterlife; one deeply intertwined with technological advancement, capitalistic structures, and a transhumanist philosophy that seeks to transcend the limitations of human existence. This article examines the depiction of the afterlife in popular television series such as Upload (2020–2024), The Good Place (2016–2020) and, to a lesser extent, Black Mirror (2011–present). We will argue that these shows have ventured into the previously uncharted territories of the afterlife, presenting visions that diverge sharply from traditional portrayals infused with spirituality and the supernatural in favour of a distinctly transhumanist perspective on life, death, and the potential for technologically mediated immortality. The focus on technologically mediated or merit-based afterlives reflects a broader trend in contemporary popular culture, exemplified in works like The Matrix (1999) and Ready Player One (2018). These narratives reveal a shift away from traditional religious and spiritual frameworks towards a secular vision of the afterlife shaped by technological advancement and the pursuit of individual enhancement.