Why Sense8 matters so much
It’s been a couple weeks since I watched the series finale of Sense8 and I still haven’t gotten over it. If I wasn’t hopelessly in love with binging shows on Netflix, I’d cancel my subscription just off principle for canceling such a good show.
That’s the way it goes, though. Good shows get canceled all the time, and we’re lucky to have gotten a perfect conclusion instead of left hanging like fans of other shows. But Sense8 was special. It felt so unique and I honestly have a hard time believing we‘ll ever get anything like it again.
Getting attached to a show or characters is nothing new for me. But the Wachowskis created something really important, and fans of the show were understandably heartbroken to say goodbye because they also created something rare.
So what about Sense8 was so special?
First of all, the writing was incredible
For those unfamiliar with the plot of Sense8, the show follows 8 characters spread all over the world who are mentally connected. More than just telepathy, they can ‘visit’ each other and be completely immersed in each other’s surroundings and help each other as needed. You soon find out that they’re all in danger of being hunted and killed by some mysterious company and a man referred to as ‘Whispers’.
That story alone is so creative and unique that it’s hard to not be drawn in just by the summary. Tons sci-fi shows sound great in theory but are poorly written and hard to watch. Sense8 never had that problem. I loved the pacing of the show. It was slow at times, giving you a chance to get to know each individual character intimately. But it was fast paced when it needed to be. There’s a lot going on, and while there’s lots of dialogue to sink into, there are huge action sequences with car chases and intense fights. Not one episode let me down.
Different countries and cultures were used to strengthen the story.
I absolutely love that the show didn’t just follow 8 white people in America. You see the story of Capheus, a man fighting against poverty and political corruption in Kenya one minute and then you’re following Sun in Seoul as she grapples with her complicated relationship with her father and brother.
The fact that you’re able to see different cultures working against each other and with each other all at once makes Sense8 so special. No one is just a token or a gimmick. Their different backgrounds serve a purpose in pushing the plot forward and give everyone a unique skill set to help the group as a whole.
It was filmed all around the world with cast and crew from their respective locations.
Rather than building sets locally, the show traveled across the world, filming in Kenya, South Korea, Iceland, and more. You could watch this show on mute just to enjoy the scenery because it is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t even imagine how expensive it was to film, but it’s absolutely worth the end result.
Speaking of filming, I love that rather than CGI gimmicks, they used clever camera tricks to create the effect of different characters ‘visiting’ each other. It’s so well done and never looks too ‘fake’ or distracting.
It gave meaningful representation for the LGBT+ community.
I was filled with absolute glee when I discovered the actress playing Nomi – a trans character – was actually trans! That kind of representation is pretty hard to find, which means it’s wildly valuable to the LGBT community. I then learned that the creators of Sense8 are actually trans, too, so it’s no wonder that the writing for Nomi felt so authentic and well done. There’s also a perfect, wonderful, special, I could gush all day about, gay couple. Sweet, sweet Lito has my heart.
Having this kind of positive representation is amazing. Seeing characters that aren’t white, cis, or straight not only living their truths proudly on screen but being heroes is something to celebrate!
With only two seasons, the show managed to have a hugely positive impact.
When I went to pride last year, there was a Sense8 booth run by fans of the show. They were collecting signatures from fans as a big thank you to the Wachowskis for writing a show that means so much to so many people. When Netflix canceled the show, the fandom was so devastated that everyone banded together to demand for more. We ended up with over a two hour long finale.
Things like this give you an idea of the impact this show had on people. It showed everyone the importance of community, friendship, love, and loyalty. It showed everyone that anyone can be a hero. Whether you can fight or you can hack or you can drive a bus. Regardless of your race, gender, or sexuality.
We live in a world that is filled with hate and anger. That’s why we need more shows like Sense8.
We need creators who will write stories that go against the shitty politics and what networks deem marketable. Stories that will spread a message of acceptance. Characters who will teach kids to fight back against what’s wrong. Shows with a diverse cast, instead of the same 10 white guys we always see. Who knows, maybe one day we might get some disabled actors on screen, too!