Netflix’s Genre-Bending New Show Sense8
I’ll admit it, I binged Netflix’s Sense8 in less than 24 hours and it was indeed worth it. In case you still haven’t heard about Netflix’s new original show from the minds of the Wachowskis (creators of The Matrix Trilogy), I’ll give you the spoiler-free run down.
The first season has 12 episodes which were uploaded in bulk on June 5th. Sense8 follows eight characters who are all connected across the globe emotionally and telepathically. They are known as “sensates” and can use the knowledge, skills, and languages of their “cluster” to gain an advantage in a situation. The sensates can also visit each other telepathically and see what kind of world and culture the others are exposed to. This may sound like just another sci-fi show but it’s so much more than that when you watch it.
Creators J. Michael Straczynski, Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski have long been interested in the themes that would inform Sense8:
“Several years ago, we had a late night conversation about the ways technology simultaneously unites and divides us, and out of that paradox Sense8 was born.”
All of the Sensates Are Pansexual
The show features themes like identity, sexuality, culture, love and more. Diversity and LGBT+ representation are also extremely prevalent in this show. So much so that it is listed in the Netflix genre of Gay & Lesbian TV Shows. In theory, all eight sensates are pansexual according to one of the show’s creators, Lana Wachowski. Below is a tweet by cast member Brian J. Smith (who plays cop Will Gorski) confirming this.
For those who do not know, pansexuality (sometimes referred to as omnisexuality) is sexual attraction, romantic love, or emotional attraction toward people of any sex or gender identity. The reason all eight characters are pansexual is because since they are sharing emotions, thoughts, knowledge, and so on, it is presumed they would also share sexual orientations of others; therefore, being attracted to all genders. Brian went on to say that “it’ll be interesting to see how/if the other characters accept this ‘part’ of their ‘selves'” in the future.
Flaws with Sense8
Some people like The Guardian have pointed out that it would make more sense if characters were speaking in their native languages rather than having them all speak in English. This is similar to what History Channel’s Vikings does. Vikings is predominately in English although characters will sometimes communicate to each other in their native languages if it is needed for plot purposes like in this scene. The only reason they speak English is for the viewers’ benefit, because most American viewers do not want to watch an entire show that has subtitles. However, I would watch it if that were the case with either Sense8 or Vikings.
Although some characters in Sense8 are not featured in certain episodes to focus on other characters, you still care for each character by the end of the series. The Guardian compared Sense8 to Lost in the sense that Sense8 introduces you to these characters slowly but there is still an overall ambiance of mystery surrounding what is going on. Sense8 was renewed for a second season by Netflix on 8/8/15 because that is the birthday of all of the sensates’ in the show. The second season will be an interesting one. The season finale ends on a cliffhanger of sorts because you do not know how the characters are going to solve the predicament they are left with in the final scene. If you’ve seen the final episode, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I really enjoyed watching Sense8, even though it does take a couple episodes before it really picks up the pace. The diversity, representation, and themes featured in the show are unlike anything you’ll find on regular broadcast television and cable. The characters do grow on you over time and you will develop favorites (Riley is my favorite). As I jokingly posted on Tumblr: “Sense8 is gr8 so you better appreci8.”
Sense8 is now streaming on Netflix.