I usually give TV shows a few episodes to hook me before I decide whether I want to keep watching or not. In the first two episodes of Sense8, the new sci-fi Netflix series from J. Michael Straczynski and the Wachowskis, my husband and I sat through the introduction of eight characters with no discernable connection between them, except that they all had something to do with this woman that committed suicide on a mattress, and the cryptic mutterings of Naveen Andrews’s character (whom I continued to call Sayid, despite his name being Jonas, or something). At that point, I told my husband I would even be thrilled if they were all aliens, because then at least something would make some kind of sense.
I love character-driven stories, and even I thought this was slow. I was pretty much ready to quit, but B seemed to like it, so we kept going, and finished the series in about a week. If you are patient enough, the story unfolds nicely and the eight characters come to life, not just within their own stories, but as a group, psychically connected to each other.
They live all over the globe: Chicago, Seoul, Berlin, Nairobi. They are gay and straight, cops and criminals, loving sons and troubled daughters. They make bad choices and fight for their loved ones. And their lives are changed forever when discover they are a “cluster” of sensates, empathetically linked, and the true joy of the series is watching them learn to use their various talents to help each other and become something more than individuals.
I liked all the characters, especially the women. Here’s a video intro to one of my favorite characters, Sun (also shows Capheus and Nomi):
Netflix is really the perfect venue for this show, both because of pacing and content. It is eminently binge-able, because watching it in succession helps build a little more of the momentum that the show needs.
Sense8 was also not destined for broadcast TV due to its graphic content. There are graphic depictions of sex (including gay sex and masturbation), violence (including gunplay and suicide), drug use, and childbirth. Though most of it is in the service of character or story, it was a little raw for me at times.
The end climax of the story was suitably dramatic, but the resolution felt a little weak to me because it leaves the fate of the group, and one member specifically, a bit open. I was hoping for a more complete, self-contained story. This was more of an origin story for the group, and it doesn’t seem like their journey together is over yet.