The danger of writing a show where one mystery leads to another and involve the supernatural/mythological is that you might not know the answers to the questions you are posing. The greatest fear while watching this show was that any moment it would morph into Lost where the creators kept us addicted for six years only to leave us angry, disappointed and unimpressed. This is why the failure of the trailer cannot be overstated and no plot summary can prepare you for what’s to come.
Unfortunately Sense8 is not a new phenomenon. It bares similarity to other popular series that created an omnipresent mystery, then introduced seemingly random characters to connect them to the mystery, but then never actually explained what the mystery was. It has many predecessors such as Lost and FlashFrorward that set up unexplainable events only to leave its audience high and dry. Sense8 does not have mesmerizing special affects nor Hollywood star power, but what it does better than others is it create a compelling, relatable story with a memorable cast and is not afraid to explain itself. Unlike other shows that threw more questions than answers, Sense8 addresses them head on. The origin of the villains and the Sensates is unclear, but the writers give us everything ranging from comedy, action, romance, and thriller. This is more than enough to keep us watching.
While Sense8 has a familiar aura of mystery, it does so with a distinct style. There’s Riley, the troubled DJ; Will the self-righteous detective; Lito, the charming and talented actor with a secret life; Sun, the kickass business woman/underground fighter; Nomi, the brilliant transgender hacker; Capheus, the bus driver from Nairobi and the nicest person you could ever meet; Kala, the beautiful and intelligent bride; and Wolfgang, a second generation safe hacker and a self proclaimed monster. The choice to focus on Riley and Will is disappointing since Sense8 has a talented and diverse cast, but choses to focus its attention on characters whose perspectives have been overrepresented. Hopefully, in the seasons to come, other characters will get their time in the spotlight.
Sense8 is one of the better newcomers this season and it is not a literary masterpiece, nor does it have to be. While the dialogue is shaky at best, The Wachowskis have exceeded all expectations. The one question that could be raised, when pertaining to its execution, is why the creators chose to convey this transcontinental story in American English? It is obviously easier for the Netflix viewers to avoid subtitles, though if sharing language and skills between the Sensates is one of the central plotlines, shouldn’t the creators represent the very languages they are sharing? This convenience comes at a cost and takes away some of the show’s authenticity. Pushing the language problem aside, its greatest achievement lies in its humanity and the ability to portray relationships between strangers who have full access to each other’s talents and memories. Their connection is unclear, but the comradely and love that has developed between these characters in its first season demands renewal.