by Kathryn Graham
As you may have heard, Netflix is cancelling Sense8. Netflix bid them a fond farewell and sent a show with lots of LGBT and people of color packing right at the start of Pride Month.
Hey, Netflix: I know you probably didn’t do that on purpose, but not great timing guys. Just saying.
Sense8 is one of those shows I had meant to get around to eventually. Once I heard it was cancelled, I went full bore into the first season… and only got through the sixth episode.
Now, having seen the show, I can’t say I’m surprised about the cancellation. Here’s the thing with Sense8 at the onset: it’s Heroes but without deep or endearing characters. You know there’s more going on here. You know that the main characters are connected, you’re just not sure how exactly. But it suffers from Heroes’ incredibly slow pacing, and I think that’s ultimately what kills it.
The first six episodes are basically backstory on all of the characters, but the backstories don’t have much to them. An Indian woman is getting married to a guy everyone thinks she loves, but she doesn’t love him. A Korean woman is smarter and better than her brother, but since she is a girl, he gets to take over the company. A transwoman has an unaccepting family, but a great girlfriend. In Heroes, we got to at least watch Claire jump off buildings and run through fire. We saw Hiro time-travel. In Sense8, we see wedding preparation.
Structurally, it’s a lot more like a six hour movie than a television show. Stories progress, but since there are eight of them, plot points that should have taken less than half an episode to get to take literally five episodes to occur.
That’s the other thing about Sense8. It has a lot of different characters, and they are a diverse bunch from all over the world, but the lack of depth destroys my caring about any of them. I also don’t know why they’re connected (which is fine), but when they do cross each others’ paths, it doesn’t seem purposeful. That said…
I think that if I could hang on longer, I might be treated to a show that I really enjoy. That’s what happened with Heroes, and that is a possibility here with Sense8. On the other hand, this is entertainment, and slogging through hours to get to the good stuff is a lot to ask. (Especially with no guarantee there is good stuff coming.)
I know a lot of people are upset that a show that represents LGBT folk and people of color is getting cancelled. I get that. But I don’t wish Sense8 would continue, I wish we didn’t have to put so much weight on every show that throws us a bone.
According to the creators, though, they had a wide and heterogeneous audience, and the exact reason why they were cancelled still remains a mystery. If you’re a fan I invite you to go sign the petition to bring it back. Then tell me why you love the show. I may even go back and watch more if you do.
Edit: Looks like Netflix isn’t having any of the petition stuff. Sorry Sense8 fans.
Kathryn Graham is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor and munchman’s secret fav. Learn more about Kate HERE