So if you're like me than you woke up one morning and went about your day, the first day of Pride month no less, knowing that there was a TV show out there called Sense8. This show was unlike anything you had ever seen before with an ensemble cast, a worldwide setting, astounding effects, and a gripping yet also heartwarming premise. That same morning you would also find out, as I did, that this show which you considered one of your favorites, had been canceled by Netflix. Yes, Sense8 has been cancelled and the world isn't quite the same, especially if you love TV as much as I do.
While many have taken Netflix's decision and debated whether it was practical or the right thing to do, there's no denying there is a loyal fanbase that is certainly dissappointed. Just days before the announcement, fans took to social media expressing their support and love for the show as a message to Netflix that they had an audience. Whether that audience was as big as we'd like to think we'll never know as Netflix insists on keeping it's shows' ratings a secret. Regardless there were people who loved it and for good reason, Sense8 had something that a lot of TV shows either don't or at least struggle to convey in their own way.
"I'm Not Just a Me, I am Also a We"
Sense8 revolves around the concept that there are people who are connected to each other mentally across the world, and as such can share and access each other's knowledge, skills, language, and memories. These groups are known as clusters and each cluster consists of those born at the exact same moment, regardless of where they were in the world. The show specifically follows one such cluster that begins to discover their connection as well as the threats that want to target and eliminate them for who they are.
While the show can be hard to follow or wrap your head around at times, the idea of being connected with other people across borders and societal constraints is a definitely a premise that anyone can follow and believe in. Sense8's mythology opens this idea up to new interpretations and new perspectives. It's one thing for a show's characters in a western society to express sympathy for those in less fortunate environments; it's another thing altogether when a character like Kala discovers her company could be selling defective drugs to regions like Kenya, where her fellow clustermate Capheus needs said drugs to help his mother. Like the characters, the audience suddenly sees a bigger connection that runs through the show.
True we won't experience a psychic link with strangers in faraway countries, but we can reach out to these people and connect just the same. This is something that seems to get lost in the petty political and social divides of today's society. The idea of separating the world between us and them, regardless of which side you are on and think is right, is pointless and a waste of time. As the shows progresses, it follows each character's individual struggles against their respective societies, such as Lito and the homophobia in Mexico or Sun and the corruption and sexism in Korean business. Each character ultimately fails to address these issues alone, it is only through the support and assistance of the cluster working together, that each character overcomes their struggles. The message of course in Sense8 becomes relatively simple, that only by coming together and accepting each other do we become something more and achieve something greater than ourselves.
"I Have No Room in my Heart for Hate"
Admittedly the idea of coming together and fighting back against prejudice and hate seems like a very liberal-sided message and thus many would argue that Sense8 is just as biased as everything else nowadays. However, I don't think that's true. Unlike many other Leftist movements seen today, from anti-Trump rallies to libaral spokesmen and women nonstop on TV constantly berating the right-wing end of society, Sense8 doesn't buy in to that divide. In fact it's core message doesn't really fit with the Left nor the Right, Sense8 takes a decidedly neutral stance and goes above the squabbles we've come to see and as a result, is relatable to any person about anything.
Naveen Andrews who plays Jonas in the show may have said that Sense8 was a direct F**k You to Trump style populism, but it isn't really. Sense8's characters face issues any person could face, for instance, in the beginning when the show follows Will on duty as a cop in Chicago. In one scene, after answering a call to notorious Chi-Raq, Will goes out of his way to help a kid who had been shot despite a system that considers it a waste of time. Violence between cops and gangs is a heavy issue for anyone, especially when race is involved. Sense8 knows this and instead tries to find a happy medium for both sides; while Will decides to help this kid because it is what he is supposed to do as a job, many still point out that saving the kid's life doesn't mean he won't continue to be a gangmember that might one day shoot a cop, just as one shot Will's own Dad. Later in season two the show addresses terrorism. While the Right and Left both have strong divisive opinions, Sense8 takes no side and instead merely portrays the subject with a response any American could identify with, exhaustion and sadness. As one character sarcastically puts it, "Aren't mass shootings in America just business as usual these days." Any person on the Right or Left could agree with that statement, that terrorism, regardless of how you think it should be dealt with, is disheartening and frankly tiresome at this point. Sense8 doesn't take it upon itself to offer a solution, knowing that any solution will be challenged by somebody; Sense8 merely wants to show that some things in this world just aren't right and that regardless of what you think, one thing everybody can agree on is that there needs to be a solution.
On another issue that features prominantly in Sense8, LGBT rights, one might chime in right now and argue that the show clearly has a liberal view. I disagree, I personally feel that the liberal view of LGBT is one of pushing for total acceptance and condemning discrimination. Sense8 doesn't fall into this either; it merely protrays sexuality as something that people either accept or don't. In the case of Lito, he doesn't start fighting for marriage equality in Mexico and laws to end discrimination in the country's movie industry; in his case he is well aware of the homophobia and rather than waste time trying to change their minds, merely standing is ground as who he is while pushing to to keep his career. Admittedly a homophobic person might not embrace the show, but not everybody on the right is homophobic nor is everyone on the left an LGBT supporter. The most I think anyone can ask for is that you be free to be with those who accept without wasting your time trying to change minds that may never change. As far as Sense8 is concerned, LGBT rights matter and are part of their message of acceptance but a crusade against homophobia will only turn off viewers who might simply be there for another part of the show.
That is the beauty of Sense8, that it is a show with stories to tell and it wants people to tell them too. Sense8 isn't there to give you a lecture about the way you live your life, it is there to give you a message of love and being happy with your life which is really all anyone wants.
"All I Want Right Now Is One More [Season]"
It really is a shame that Netflix decided to cancel Sense8 for whatever reason. It may be because of the low ratings we're not allowed to know about, the cost of the show that was really just a small part of the $6 billion Netflix is still spending on other projects, or the lack of continued interest by Netflix itself. If I'm sounding bitter it's because I am, and I'm not the only one. Regardless of what Netflix gains by canceling the show, they are still losing something precious. Consider this: A show that is for everybody, everywhere around the world that could potentially explore and talk about an topic without trying to be controversial (the occasional orgy aside); whereas Netflix's platform is all about reaching a global audiences with stories for everybody that could be about any topic. It seems to me that if there was a show that epitomized what Netflix was all about (as well as offering diversity, risky and groundbreaking storytelling, and a positive message), Sense8 was it. In my opinion, this show was everything Netflix stands for and had the potential to be their flagship show. For no, however, all I can say is I hope there comes a day when they decide to continue the show, or at least give it proper closure.