Netflix’s intelligent sci-fi drama was ground-breaking and poetic. Here’s why Sense8 deserved a Season 3…
By Maisie Williams
On the first day of Pride Month (1st June) 2017, Netflix announced that they would be cancelling their original science fiction drama Sense8 after just two seasons and less than a month after season two was released on the popular streaming site. To many, critics and fans alike, this came as a devastating blow. Understandably, the show came with a hefty price tag (reportedly $109 million per season), but many fans are enraged that this means that not only was the narrative of the most recent season left on a cliffhanger, but that the voices and representations of the marginalised the show celebrated will now no longer continue.
Sense8, developed by the creators of The Matrix trilogy and Cloud Atlas, was first released on Netflix back in the summer of 2015, and quickly established itself a fanbase. The show follows eight characters, located in eight cities across the world, who are all suddenly telepathically connected and are able to communicate with one another, as well as being able to acquire each other’s languages and skills. However, Sense8 was much more than just your average mainstream sci-fi show.
Sense8 was a show that celebrated diversity in all its forms. Created by the Wachowski sisters, two trans women themselves, the main eight characters came from a wealth of different cultural and social backgrounds, from being a closeted gay actor in Mexico City, to a trans female hacker in San Francisco, to a bus driver living in the slums of Nairobi. Sense8 celebrated global unity, diversity and anti-capitalist undertones, as well as presenting a multitude of experiences that make up the human condition. It was also a beautifully shot, intelligent piece of modern science fiction, with a rich mythology which unfortunately now no longer be explored.
The representation of the LGBT community was also at the forefront of this show. Not only were two of the main characters (Lito and Nomi) both in healthy, loving same-sex relationships, showrunner Lana Wachowski also confirmed that all eight of the main characters were pansexual, therefore all of them could be attracted to anyone regardless of that person’s gender/gender identity. These types of representations are still rarely seen in mainstream television, meaning that for many LGBT youth it is incredibly important that they continue to see themselves positively within media, helping them to relate to these characters and share in the show’s message of understanding, acceptance and equality.
Sense8 also included multiple strong, complex and highly likeable female characters. Half of the eight main characters were women, and they presented a complex and diverse array of issues and topics within their own individual storylines, whether that was self-harm and substance abuse for Riley, or issues of social pressures, morality and the argument of science vs. faith for Kala. Each was interesting, unique, vulnerable and flawed, making all four of them relatable to different members of the audience. Even supporting female characters like Daniella and Amanita bought fun and flare to the show.
For all these factors, it’s no wonder Netflix has been heavily criticised for cancelling the show. Especially when controversial shows like 13 Reasons Why, which has been called out for their potentially harmful representations of teen suicide, was quickly renewed. Whilst funding for a season 3 may have been a main concern, it was clear that like surprisingly many Netflix original series (see also the recently cancelled The Get Down and Brazilian Portuguese show 3%) Sense8 was simply not promoted enough by its own network. It is also evident as well that Netflix is seeking to move its funding into producing its own movies. Unfortunately, this comes as a detriment to other TV projects they are currently involved with.
Ultimately, Sense8 wasn’t the perfect show. It was sometimes clunky, campy and definitely has a core concept that takes a good few episodes to wrap your head around. But it was also intelligent, colourful, charming and exciting. It was a show with a huge open heart, that celebrated globalism, family, love and inclusivity. Themes that are now greatly needed in an era of Trump, the alt-right and the rise of fascism. With season 2 being left open ended it’s clear that the Wachowskis had plans to continue their story. This show definitely deserved that chance.
How to Help Rescue Sense8
Care about this show and want to see more? Here are some tips on how to help #BringBackSense8
- You can go sign the petition for season 3 here. Make sure to share around on social media once you have.
- Use the hashtags #Sense8, #RenewSense8 and #BringBackSense8 on social media and explain why the show was important to you. You may also want to message Netflix’s online accounts too, but please remember to be respectful.
- You can also phone a Netflix representative and tell them why you are unhappy about Sense8’s cancellation. Here’s a post that includes the numbers you’ll need for your country. You can also contact them for free through the Netflix app.
- Log into your Netflix account and suggest shows (Sense8 season 3) that you’d like to see.