TV Review: Sense8

sense8_header Sci-fi been in my parents’ blood, always in my blood and will be passed down my children’s blood. I haven’t quite had enough of really, really good science fiction on TV. Don’t get me wrong, I watch almost all supernatural and fantasy shows and enjoy them all. In fact, I am making subtitles for one of them. However, Netflix’s SENSE8 is the best show on television. Ever. Period.

Movies, TV and books are my passion; my biggest one. I am at the movies each week at least once, I have a list of shows I watch every day, I read a book a fortnight. Around the time Jupiter Ascending came out–a movie I had fun watching — I learned about this strange, matrix-like show called Sense8. I had no idea what the bizarre title meant so after reading the brief plot summary I knew what I was doing on June 5th.

Months and months went by, the first month of the summer was approaching and buzz started circling around this show. Once the first trailer hit, I watched it a quadrillion of times and, therefore, learned it by heart, sounds weird, but that is what I am like once I get obsessed. Then the next two dropped, though I only saw them a few times because I did not want to spoil myself. sense8 Turns out I had nothing to worry about. The trailer gave away nothing but glimpses of what I would later find an exhilarating show. As much as negative hype there was surrounding Sense8, I had belief in it; even more so in the Wachowski siblings. The Matrix is one of my all-time favourite films and I have been entertained with their follow-ups. Before I knew it, June 5th came by and gave Netflix’s new project a try.

I had, to some extent, lowered my expectations of Sense8 due to the endless flow of mixed reviews about it. I knew the critics had seen just the first three episodes, but I still bought into their opinions. Gladly, I was pleased to find out they were horribly wrong about the show. Immensely wrong.

What critics make out to be a slow, convoluted mess was actually an incredible show with an engaging and fresh script. The creators’ concept of eight, completely different people, from all walks of life, turned out to have been developed and crafted to more than just that; it’s been brought to being as a masterpiece. The idea of eight individuals to be connected by a mental connection is not only ambitious, but also enticing. I have always wanted to know what some other human might be feeling or thinking at some point, but I have never imagined just that.

From episode one, you are on a rollercoaster that only goes up, building the tension right up until the vastly satisfying and exciting climax. The message that we are all the same, regardless of gender, race and sexuality is very well-conveyed. The first half of the season — or shall I say movie? — is about getting to know the characters, to find out who they really are and why they are doing what they are doing. You see them develop throughout the entire 13 hours of runtime. You feel for them, every moment of their life. Or you don’t. What do I know about you? 0x8 Each character is well-rounded and yet complex. One is Wolfgang, the German guy who breaks into apartments, cracking safes, but has a teeny tiny heart of gold. Other is Nomi, a trans woman who is fighting her own demons and lives in San Francisco. Third is Riley, a DJ from Iceland, living in London, trying to find her place among the crowd. You also have Lito — the Mexican actor, who is pretending to be straight in front of the cameras and Sun, a Korean businesswoman at day and ass-kicker at night, literally. In addition, there are Kala, the Indian girl, which is forced into marrying a man she doesn’t know and Capheus an African bus driver, taking care for his mother. Will is a Chicago cop which has to take care of his sick father and put up with tough criminals.

As you can see, this is one of the most diverse shows out there. I will lie if I say there are no stereotypical characters, there are. However, as they develop, they get personalities and you become more invested in them. This is where the Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski shine — they have created not only characters that you, as a viewer, truly care about, but also a world so big and epic in scope, it feels wrong to watch on your laptop or even TV. The beautiful cinematography and intelligent storytelling deserve to be seen on the biggest screen possible, as well as with a great audio system. The soundtrack is both heart-pumping and heart-breaking when it needs to be. sense8-12 In a nutshell, Sense8 is Netflix’s best show to date and it does a stellar job combining many personal moments as well as innovative action scenes and great storytelling. Oh, and don’t believe that there is so much sexual content. There are four or five sex scenes at most. Yes, some are unconventional, but even these scenes are shot masterfully and with taste. So, where do you stand on this one? Have you seen Sense8? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Make sure to let me know in the comments section down below.

Now, Netflix, let Sense8 season 2 happen.

Pretty please.

34 comments

  • Not the best show on TV ever. Also not on TV. Please stop wasting peoples’ time with hyperbolic statements. My personal pick for best show would be Breaking Bad. There are solid arguments for Game of Thrones, The Wire, Sherlock, Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Black Mirror, the original Swedish version of Humans…hell even House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Always Sunny, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Silicon Valley, True Detective, Planet Earth, John Oliver’s show, and 50 other shows….but not Sense8. Not even close. The narrative is muddled, the acting and writing are all around mediocre and wooden or unbearable and holy shit is the title sequence two minutes too long.

    “I am at the movies each week at least once, I have a list of shows I watch every day, I read a book a fortnight” maybe you should live life more.

    • James,

      Thank you for reminding me it is not on TV. I fixed it.

      This is my perspective. I love the show and it’s my personal favourite thus far this year. I really like House of Cards and Game of Thrones, but something about the latter just doesn’t click in with me. Conversely, everything about Sense8 does. And no, I am not saying GoT is bad, not at all.

      The narrative for the first half of the season is supposed to be muddled. You feel just like the characters and I simply cannot agree about the acting and writing. There were many twists and turns and even more moments that hit me emotionally. But, as I said, it’s a matter of preference.

      As far as your last advice, to live life more, trust me, I do. These things are just part of my entertainment activities.

  • The production values and editing alone are as groundbreaking as the Matrix was. Scenes filmed from multiple locations are seamlessly melded together to form a single fluid scene. My understanding is no green screen or cgi was used, Almost – if not every shot is on location. I don’t believe there is anything like it.

    • You are right. Netflix hasn’t exactly given out how much they spent on this show but it is very obvious it’s expensive. Rough estimates state around the $100 million dollar mark, though I won’t be surprised if it’s more.You are also right about shooting on location. There is barely any green screen used. Both times I watched the show I couldn’t stop wondering how were some of the scenes shot. The Wachowski siblings and J. Michael Straczynski know what they are doing.

  • Thank you for your Review . I totally agree with you. I started watching the show because a friend recommended it to me and I couldn’t be more grateful to her. I’m in love with Sense8. It has been a long time since a show made me laugh and cry at the same time. I love the way the story is told and the quality of the shooting. TY again!

    • That’s great to hear. Fun fact: last night, at 4:30am, my cousin called me to tell me she’d just watched all 12 episodes and asked about a second season. Our fanbase is only getting bigger.

  • I agree with you! Sense8 is really good! I love the acting and the story lines. I really hope it gets renewed for a second season.

    • We are in the same boat. Now, let’s hope Netflix will announce season 2, because they need to start shooting in a few weeks if we want it to be released around the same time. :)

  • Sense8 is a wonderful show! Im totally obssesed! I want season 2 now!!! 👌😍🙊

  • Sense8 is a groundbreakgroundbreaking sci Fi show that has changed the way I view TV shows. I love sci Fi, I am a Whovians, love Star Wars but this, this is something new and with more seasons could become my favorite show.
    This show is a masterpiece of acting, directing, editing and pushed all the right buttons. One minute you are laughing, the next near Tears, the next cheering as Sun kicks a guy in the face. The shows plot is wonderfully crafted and full of plot twists that keep you gkued to the TV. I give this show 10 out of 5 and about to go for my third rewatch lol

  • I like Sense8, but I don’t like your quiz. It’s offensive that you offer “too much homo stuff” as an excuse for not liking the show. Have you ever seen “too much hetero stuff” in a quiz? Have you stopped to think that maybe people consider the non-heterosexual depictions of characters and sexuality in Sense8 to be a *positive* aspect? Homophobia is not a valid reason for disliking a TV show. You shouldn’t give bigots a voice by including it in your quiz.

    • You are right. I did not mean to offend anyone. I included it as an answer because online I found out many people genuinely did not like the show because of the gay scenes. However, i take these opinions with a grain of salt because it’s nitpicking. In fact, I was curious if anyone would choose that as an answer. But as barely anyone has, I am considering removing this option. Again, I did not mean to upset someone.

  • Hey, I’m not all uptight about it, but the term transgender is an adjective, and can be construed as offensive or diminishing when used as a noun. Both Jamie Clayton and the character she plays are transgender or trans women. http://feministing.com/2010/05/24/transgender-is-an-adjective-not-a-noun-or-a-verb/

    • I took notice of this and fixed it. You are right. I meant to write a transgender character, but I have somehow missed the latter. It’s now changed to trans woman. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • Great review, I also find this to be the best tv experience I’ve ever had, the wachoskis have a soult in everything they do, this is more than a series, this is an experience, and an exciting assault to the senses, btw, when you describe Kala, you said she is being forced to marry, actually they mention several times this was her choice and is the first time in her family someone marries out of love. ;) Looking forward for the next season, It feels I can’t continue my life without these caracthers, this is how good this show is.

    • Well, yeah, but she does not love him, more – can’t love him, therefore she is forced, sort of. I am glad you like the show as much as I do. It’s refreshing.

  • Melissa Garrett

    I agree 100% with your review! For me, what makes this show my instant favourite is that in a world literally flooded with special effects and sci-fi constantly trying to be bigger and badder, Sense8 does the opposite. Instead of throwing in more explosions and action sequences and gun fights, they actually strip those things away. What we’re left with is what has been at the heart of storytelling for centuries, and that’s people: how different people from different walks of life experience the same emotions and the same life struggles, albeit in different packaging. In an age of faceless communication, it highlights how humans are at their greatest when they don’t exist in isolation. And I for one can’t wait for more!

    • Glad you are likeminded. There are action scenes and they are one of the best on television; they are innovative and use little to no CGI. I am also looking forward to season 2.

  • I 110% agree with your opinion, and thank you so much for talking about Sense8. For me, this show is so heart-felt and I just love it so much like never before. Let’s wait for season 2 together with all the fans all over the world!

  • This show is incredible in scope. Beautifully scripted, acted and shot with breathtaking visuals. It is a thinking person’s show that forces you to consider all the endless possibilities that this experience we call “life” has to offer.
    That said, I firmly believe it has an even deeper purpose. The writers and directors are clearly positing the concept that if we, as human beings, could somehow stop living a fear-based existence, (afraid of not getting what we want and/or afraid of losing what we have) and instead coming from a place of love and understanding, what a wonderful world it could be.
    I desperately hope that Netflix will ignore the professional critics who get paid to sound erudite and will instead listen to us, the fans and renew this show and allow the incredible talent behind it to carry on.

    • I hope so too. You’re right about the purpose. They say conquer your fear, stand up for your own, stop living in the shadows, we’re all humans underneath. There are plentiful moral advices and a lot of social commentary. This show is so multilayered and deep, you can dig all you want and have many, many discussions on different subjects.

  • Dawn C. Leighton

    This show is spectacularly good! It is incredibly well done, complex, every character has many layers and nuances; the filming on location makes for a visually beautiful show which features many cities and cultures throughout the world. The subjects /ideas explored by Sense8 are so much more progressive than pretty much anything else out there, it is impossible to compare. The writing is truly brilliant, vibrant and powerful. What grabs you though, are the characters, as you grow to love each and every one of them. I see Sense8 changing the way people think. The Facebook Sense8 group grows daily, drawing an amazing diversity of individuals. Its remarkable to watch. If this show is not reviewed it would be a travesty.

  • Dawn C. Leighton

    That was to say “renewed” not reviewed—sorry!

  • I can’t even bear the thought of this show being cancelled – its so beautiful, so different … there’s so much of the same out there – to those who don’t appreciate it, i respect that, but if i saw something bringing you joy and positivity – i wouldn’t want to take it away from you – please don’t wish that on me – and that’s what this show is about – empathy

  • Wonderful review!! I love this show, despite critics trashing it from Day 1. We all know of the immense scope and beautiful cinematography of this show, but what I marvel at is the show’s many subtleties. One of the most powerful scenes for me, which I’ve re-watched over and over, is when Sun and Capheus officially meet for the first time. In the scene, Sun and Capheus, both totally immersed in their own thoughts, are walking down streets in their respective cities. Sun, flanked by nothing but people that look like her in Seoul, Korea and Capheus, walking amongst a sea of fellow countrymen in Nairobi, Kenya. As the two continue to walk towards the other, gradually the scene shifts, along with their perceptions, and both begin to peer around themselves as they realize that they are the lone nationality surrounded by a sea of others. Sun is a solitary Korean face surrounded by a multitude of Kenyans and Capheus stands out amongst a throng of Korean faces. When the two finally come face-to-face and their initial shock and disbelief are overcome, I marveled at how similar their story lines mirrors the other and how they’re able to draw strength from and help the other. For me, it was very subtle, yet powerfully jarring…and just one of the hundreds of little things that make this show so special.

  • Love this show. I haven’t felt so passionate about a show in a while. I love the characters interaction and love the pace of the show and how we have gotten to get to know the characters.

  • Jesus Christ. Did you actually create a poll where one of the responses is “…too much homo stuff”? Who the fuck are you and why is anyone with working brain cells reading your crap?

    • In an earlier reply I explained why I included it. However, due to yours, and a couple of other, complaints I changed it. I hope you forgive me and see eye to eye with me on the TV show. Cheers.