Sense8, the latest Netflix original series created by the Wachowskis (The Matrix) and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), sounds like a dream; two science fiction behemoths joining forces to bring us a new sci-fi drama like no other, which starts to be true but falls short at the first hurdle.
The show follows a group of strangers around the world who are about to connect following unusual circumstances, an overused synopsis with shows like Heroes and Lost beating Sense8 to the punch. When all eight of the main characters discover that they can communicate telepathically, the show widens up to teach us about humanity and how the power of people is stronger than any other force.
The main premise of humanity can often make the show feel clunky and slow-paced. Its stance can feel a little misplaced with characters from such places as Seoul and Berlin all speaking English, yet when it works it becomes so perfect that you forget that half of the series makes no sense. Scenes of love and loss will make you long to feel more connected to the world.
With a series that’s so devoted to developing its diverse characters and a well-rounded message, certain attributes go missing. It’s fitting for the fourth episode to be titled What’s Going On? as the question floats in your mind. Even the Wachowskis, who direct the majority of episodes, are so hell-bent on creating a series that redefines a genre, they sometimes forget to give a real plot or an explanation; characters go from not understanding the madness to jumping from Iceland to Nairobi with ease.
It often feels that Sense8 is unaware of what it wants to be, thus its style suffering constantly throughout the first half of the season. This case of misidentity falls into every category as even the sound doesn’t always coexist with the on-screen image. However, the show soon starts to find itself and gives us a glimmer of hope.
Sense8 has huge ambition which is why it has potential, but it desperately needs to start focusing on story and character next season. For the first 13 episode run, it can be hard to sit through at times though displaying moments of mesmerising beauty. For a series that wants to set itself apart from others in the genre, plenty of clichés are scattered around; the show is at constant war with itself.
Triumphant or disappointing – what did you think to the first season of Sense8?
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