TV Time Travel: Sense8

Sense8 is a show that went massively under the radar when it came out on Netflix, and Laura Williams reviews it

Laura J. Williams
5th June 2020
Credit: IMDb
There's some amazing Netflix shows that everyone's already watched, such as Orange Is the New Black, Black Mirror, and Daredevil (to name a few). However, Sense8 is an underrated show that is beautifully written, shot, acted and directed.

Sense8 follows eight strangers: Will (Brian J. Smith), a Chicago cop, Riley (Tuppence Middleton), a DJ, Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) an actor, Capheus (Aml Ameen/Tony Onwumere), a bus driver, Sun (Doona Bae), a businesswoman (come kickboxing champion), Kala (Tina Desai), a Pharmaceutical scientist, Wolfgang (Max Riemelt), a safe ‘explorer’, and Nomi (Jamie Clayton), an activist. All of whom were born on the same day at the same moment, whilst being from different countries and cultures, which we get to explore throughout the series.

In the wake of a tragic death, all the individuals of the group (or cluster) experience a rebirth, that slowly connects their mental, emotional, and physical states. And therefore, can sense and communicate with each other, and can share their knowledge, language, and skills; they can literally ‘feel’ one another. Finding the reason why and how this connection happens is the main focal point for this series, each character exploring their connection and relationship, delving deeper into their background and what binds them. Until they realise that what they are isn’t singular, and isn’t accepted by all; specifically, that of a character named Whispers, whose sole goal is to hunt and kill these individuals to prevent their evolutionary path.

The show brings us through the human moments that are so often missed by other shows in the sci-fi genres

From the first scene, you can tell that you are watching something special, with a gripping moment of the birth of the cluster and the death of their 'mother'. This fantasy sci-fi feels alive from the moment it begins, bringing us through the human moments that are so often missed by other shows in the sci-fi genres. It may seem from the plot that it may be a little hard to follow, or even ‘far-fetched’, but at no point watching did I find this to be the case. Throughout, you are eased into the situation, whilst still being suspended in the ‘what next?’. As long as you’re paying attention, the plot is easy enough to follow (so sadly, this isn’t one that you can watch whilst you scroll through your phone). However, do not see this as a downside, because once you’re in you will stay gripped until the shows last breath.

Credit: IMDb

Lana and Andy Wachowski allow us to explore the world in all of its beauty, splendor, and of course tragedy, all from the comfort of our own homes. And for those of you who would rather be sipping tequila in Mexico City than stuck on your sofa in quarantine, this may be a show for you.

Mexico City isn’t the only place that we get to explore, we also have the opportunity to see the mountains of Iceland, Pride festivals of San Francisco, streets of Nairobi, Berlin bars, London alleys, Mumbai laboratories, police departments of Chicago and sometimes a Seoul prison. All of these locations are beautifully shot, but not idyllic, as we are still shown the grime that even the most amazing locations hide beneath the surface.

None of the characters are a 'filler piece' to hit a demographic

Sense8 also tackles some serious subjects, and it does so in an informative and yet interesting way. For instance, the show deals with homosexuality in Mexico-City whilst being in the spotlight (Lito), transgender relations and how one's relationships may change and evolve (Nomi), cultural differences within sexual relationships (I won’t spoil that one), feminism in the workplace (Sun doesn’t have the easiest time of it), and the deficiencies of capitalism (a certain Bus driver named Capheus may have some better ideas on how things should be running). All of these cases deal with the feelings of self-loathing and self-doubt that so many people in the character's position feel on a daily basis. But what's impressive is that the show does this without making any of the characters a 'filler piece' to hit a demographic, they are all fully fleshed out characters who love, hate, and challenge the world around them.

Credit: IMDb, Murray Close/Netflix

This show brings elements of everything that you need, drama, comedy, suspense, action, and like with other movies directed by the Wachowski’s, characters that you can understand and relate to. Nobody is perfect, everybody is different and that is celebrated and never diminished, and from this, you can deeply connect with them all. It does this all whilst delivering a message of inclusivity and empowerment, especially (but not exclusively) for those within the LGBTQ+ community. I fell in love with every member on the Cluster from the beginning and all the way to the end. It is a brilliant piece of television, and it deserved so much more than two seasons and a special. But I am thankful for what we received, and that they managed to wrap the story up so neatly, without it feeling too rushed and panicked. Although we could always use more (hint hint Netflix).

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