Sense8 is actually one of my favorite series. It only has two seasons, with the second season only coming out earlier this month, but this series has lodged itself in my heart. So I decided to turn a critical eye to the series and review it because if you truly love something then judge it. Spoilers ahead.
The premise of the show is interesting. I like the idea of an evolutionary connection that encourages diversity as the next stage of evolution. The fact that the 8 main characters are for all intents and purposes the same person (as evidenced by the fact that in season 1 a sensate that Riley met called her relationship with Will “the epitome of narcissism”) really reveals that the world as more interconnected than we thought.
The set-up of the show is actually one of the deterrents. The show is an hour long with the majority of the time spent developing characters and their relationship with the last fifteen minutes of every episode squeezing in the plot and moving the story forward. This can actually get kind of annoying considering that there are questions that you want to be answered about BPO (the evil corporation) and generally about their sensate mother, Angelica and her relationship to Milton (Whispers). However, everything that you want to know is left until the very last minute of every episode. This is actually more evident in the second season than the first. The first season is more about world building, the individual struggles of each character. The whole first season is kind of frustrating because it seems that only Will and Nomi make any attempts to understand what it means to actually be sensate and everyone else is just trying to get by in life ignoring the new voices in their heads.
Another drawback of this show is that while it does an amazing job with characters (seeing as that is what they spend most of their time on) the stories of each sensate is completely independent of one another the whole first season. The second season was more interconnected with Riley and Will meeting and being together and Riley meeting with people from Will and Nomi’s life. But there were still several characters that were kind of left adrift with their own problems.
What this show gives you in spades, however, is diversity. Lito is a Mexican actor, a man who was playing the hypermasculine characters in action movies, but he’s gay and is in a committed relationship with his boyfriend Hernando. Nomi Marks is a trans woman and hacker with a lovely girlfriend Amanita but unaccepting parents. Wolfgang is a German thief who is still coming to terms with the abusive and troubled relationships with his family. Kala is an Indian chemist who wants to make her family proud even at the expense of her own happiness. Sun is a Korean woman who makes sacrifices for her ungrateful family all because she was raised to always help them no matter the cost. Capheus is a Kenyan bus driver who just wants to provide for his mother and make the world a better place. Will is a Chicago cop with a disabled (I think) father who is not scared to go outside the law to serve justice. And Riley is a DJ who is just trying to make it from one day to the next. And these are just the eight main characters!
There is a cast of supporting characters who enrich the story and bring so much joy to the show. Because of the focus on relationships and the characters we really begin to love and care for all the characters in this story and seriously hate anyone who attempts to hurt them.
And that is what makes villains like Whispers and BPO so evil. Because we are so attached to the characters, Whispers could breathe and I’d want to choke the guy out. But aside from the characters what makes this show really good is the fact that they shoot on location.
Mumbai, Berlin, Chicago, San Deigo, Seoul. The cities serve as an actual set and instead of fabricating some of the large gatherings (like the LGBT Pride Parade in Brazil) they shot scenes at an actual LGBT Pride Parade in Brazil. You can feel the emotion pouring from the screen.
To be honest, this is probably a very bias review considering the fact that I love that show so much that I binge-watched season two, but really the show is something amazing and if you can watch it. It does have some sex scenes between both heterosexual and homosexual couples but it is a beautiful show with such a heartwarming message that I feel we all need to hear sometimes.
Sense8 is a Netflix Original so you need to subscribe to Netflix if you want to watch it.