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13 reasons why Sense8 should’ve been renewed

I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. Thursday night, Netflix crept into my house, ate all my food, and punched a hole through my heart. Last night, Netflix cancelled Sense8.

My love for this show runs deep and proud and true. It is, objectively, the greatest television show of our time.

But instead of renewing a show with heaps of potential, Netflix has decided to fund a self-congratulatory show with no more story left to tell, a bunch of Adam Sandler films, and a second season of Miranda Sings’ Haters Back Off.

So here’s 13 reasons why this is a terrible idea. Netflix, welcome to your tape.

1. There was more story to tell

Sense8‘s season one was a slow burner. It focused on characters rather than plot because that’s what it needed to world build. But when the second season finally got going, Sense8 went hard.

And when the season finale hit us, we were all ready.

We were ready for Nomi and Amanita’s wedding, we were ready for Lito to tell Hernando about the sensates, and we were ready for them all to be in the same damn room together. It is obvious that a third season was planned — and, damn it, we deserved it.

2. It showcased original sci-fi

Sci-fi is the one genre with almost no limitation. It expands to wherever your imagination can take you. But it’s also the genre that sees itself so bogged down by reboots and sequels that in 2017 original sci-fi is practically extinct.

Sense8’s creators, the Wachowskis (for all their flaws) know this. They have always been confident to take risks, with some like The Matrix paying off, and some like Jupiter Ascending not so much.

Sense8 paid off. The show, about eight strangers around the world finding themselves in one another’s minds, was as ambitious as any film-making project ever. The concept was daunting, production surely a near nightmare, but they made it work with a film-making finesse unlike television has ever seen.

It was just damn good sci-fi.

3. It represented a diverse group of people

One thing the show was most lauded for was its representation. The cast is made to represent eight human beings chosen at random, and (though only two Asians is not statistically accurate) Sense8 tried to represent people from many walks of life.

The show features, among others, a closeted gay Mexican actor, a Kenyan bus driver who goes into politics, a South Korean woman unfairly imprisoned, a lesbian transgender woman, and a wealthy Indian biochemist navigating her identity within an arranged marriage.

As a reminder, Netflix has canceled Sense8 and The Get Down, and instead renewed The Crown (an expensive show about the British monarchy) and 13 Reasons Why (a show that grossly and voyeuristically displays gendered violence.)

When I watched Sense8’s pilot and saw Capheus, an African man with a complex story line given the room to be a hero, I knew I was going to fall hard for the show.

And, boy, did I.

4. All of its characters are likeable

Because the show’s diversity is so refreshing, so too are the characters — and it takes but one episode to fall madly in love with every sensate.

Each character is so well-written that, even in a cast of eight, there is not one core member I don’t like. Sure, favourites are natural (and being bored by Will inevitable), they are all rounded characters whose motivations and actions make sense, and never leave you screaming in frustration.

The writers also treat their characters with respect: their trauma is not sensationalised, their choices never demonised, and they aren’t thrust into unnecessary storylines — which leads me to my next point.

5. Sense8 trusts its characters

In a lot of fiction, characters and their relationships are put under unnecessary strain for the sake of drama. Think love triangles, secret pasts, or exes brought back from the dead.

Sense8 never does that.

Nomi and Amanita’s love never wavers for a second — despite how easy it would be to have Neets grow tired of the sensate drama. The Lito/Hernando/Dani trio in lesser hands would be wrought with jealousy and confusion, but here it never is.

The drama comes naturally; heartache is never forced, and emotions are never contrived.

6. Its cast is wonderful

Because diversity is so important to the show, casting directors made a point of finding a real transgender woman for Nomi, someone from South Korea for Sun, an Indian for Kala.

But that’s not all the cast is: they are also a group of actors who clearly care about the show they were making, and are invested in the people who care along with them.

7. It showcases themes of love, family and humanity

Sense8 was, at its core, a show about human connection. It told of a different way to feel, to interact, to love — and how it can be clumsy, but how it’s imperative to do it all the same.

The reason the first season didn’t need that much plot is because it was enough to watch the sensates find themselves within each other. They were forced to renegotiate their own identities in the context of how it included others’, and what a joy it was to watch.

8. It explored the healthy aspects of sexuality

It would be impossible to ignore sex in a show about human connection, but Sense8 was determined to not just address it, but promote it.

A good deal of time is spent depicting sex as a natural phenomenon that need not be feared or discussed in the dark.

And sure, some shots of dildos didn’t necessarily need to be there, but I could never hate on something determined to open up the way we talk about and engage with our own sexualities.

9. It is masterfully shot

Now that we’ve established why the story is important, let’s move on to the fact each season is ten hours of pure eye candy.

You like vibrant colours? We got them. You like sweeping locations? Got that, too. Lens flares? Rich set design? Compositions that will make you weep? Sense8 is your one-stop shop, my friend.

There is no show on TV that is as visually rich or cinematically shot. And there is no show that has even an inch of editing ground over it.

10. Its editing is unparalleled

First consider the sheer amount of footage editors must bring in. Every single scene is shot multiple times in different locations with different movements and action.

Then consider that not only does the editing team have to sift through all of that footage, but they also have to put it together in a cohesive, entertaining and emotionally compelling way. And they do. Every single time.

The editors weave a story that on paper seems impossible to tell, and they do it in the most natural, easy-watching manner.

Netflix’s favourites could never. Not even once. Not even in a dream.

11. The third season would be way cheaper

[This is a spoiler for the season two finale.]

The argument that Sense8 is too expensive definitely holds weight. But The Crown (which Netflix has renewed) is the most expensive TV show ever and has cost them US$20 million more per season.

But even if we disregard that information: Sense8‘s season three was going to be infinitely cheaper, with the sensates uniting in the UK. That means fewer locations, fewer crews, shorter shoot times, and shorter post-production time. There is no way that wouldn’t take a significant chunk out of the season’s budget.

12. People want it

The outcry from Netflix users after the announcement has been loud, and a quick search of @netflix on Twitter — days after the cancellation — shows a barrage of users calling for Sense8’s return.

ABC has already brought back a show from the dead this season, Netflix. There is no shame. We promise.

13. The show is hopeful

The best part of Sense8 is that it was never a show that used sadness or drama to prove its worth. It always knew that love and humanity were not only causes for pain: they also bring with them the one emotion the world has been lacking recently. Hope.

It’s easy to feel like the terror of the world is all-consuming. Trying to come to terms with increasingly hostile world leaders, climate change, and terrorism feels like a daily ritual. The horror of humanity is oftentimes overwhelming.

But Sense8 served to remind us of the good. To put the horror into perspective. To remind us what we’re actually fighting for.

And that’s more than enough reason to put the show back into production.

Edited to amend that the sensates are in the UK, not the US as originally written. 

Author | Julia Breakey

Julia Breakey
Julia is a UCT film graduate with a passion for dogs, media, and dog-centric media. If she's not gushing about the new television show that you need to watch, she's rewatching The Good Place (which you need to watch). More
  • Amazing article but Kala’s marriage is NOT arranged. That is a very important aspect of her story line; that it’s all about choice. Just wanted to FYI that ☺️

  • And also, I think you meant to say the sensates are united in the U.K. Not the US.

  • Arcie Tillydee

    Possibly the best TV series I have ever seen (and I’m pushing 60…). Heartbroken…but it’s not too late for Netflix to fix their mistake!

  • Penny Reagle-Smith

    Beautifully said! This is what the people need to know to understand why we are so passionate about this show. Thank you!

  • hello12345

    [SPOILERS] I don’t think I agree with #11. The sensates are all together in London, but most of the characters still need to go back to their respective homes and finish up their stories after saving Wolfgang. I highly doubt it would take over 4 episodes to save him. That leaves more than half of a season left. Lito JUST got a job with a new film which he would probably end up going to Hollywood for; we don’t know if Capheus won the election or not in Nairobi; Sun still needs to deal with her brother in Seoul; and Rajan is still expecting Kala to be in Paris. The rest of the sensates likely won’t stay in London since that is where BPO is. Nomi will probably return to San Francisco, Wolfgang is likely to join Kala in Paris, while Will and Riley would continue to hideout in a different city like Chicago, or someplace else. HOWEVER, The budget would still be reduced significantly, going from 16 cities down to 6 or 7.

  • hello12345

    Yes! It is more-so an unconscious form of social pressure and expectations that makes Kala idealize a relationship with Rajan.

  • Wonderful article – thank you for saying what so many of us have been thinking!

  • Nasty Girl Brianna

    So how do we get Netflix to change their minds?

  • Pingback: MiniMeme Podcast #1: why does Netflix kill its good shows? - Memeburn()

  • Christian Mejorada

    I was simply heartbroken! I shake my head everytime I’m reminded of its cancellation. Sense8 is life on TV.

  • Bring Back Sense8

    renewsense8.com

  • Jayanne Scarano (Jam)

    Thank you for writing about this! <3

  • We forget so much more than

    I am a privileged white girl. I never had to worry about clean water, there were no people of color at my school and my best friend was not LGBTQ. Thanks to my wonderful family and friends, I always knew how to love and accept all these people, but I could never really SEE them. Because, how could I? They were not part of my life.
    You know what has always been part of my life? ART. And if there is one thing I believe in, that is art’s power to bring people together. I believe in its power to spread a message and set people’s hearts on fire, to keep the world spinning with the hope of tomorrow. Art is the foundation of my faith in humanity.
    So when a TVshow like Sense8 came along, out of pure respect for the absolutely amazing work of the Wachowski sisters and the incredibly talented cast, I watched. Its message will resonate forever: NO MATTER HOW DIFFERENT WE ARE, WE ARE ALL HUMAN. We can all feel love, fear, hate, sorrow, hope, no matter if we live in India or Korea or Kenya or Berlin or Chicago or London or San Francisco, no matter if we are computer geeks or DJs or police officers or bus drivers or businesswomen or fighters or pharmacologists, no matter if we are straight, gay, bi or trans.
    Sense8 made a difference in people like me: it made us hear your voice and join you. It made me love the people I couldn’t understand, it made me want to fight for what I believe in, but mostly it gave me hope that we can survive the harsh reality of today by staying united. So I know it can do the same to others.
    And now, “I want everyone to know that I SEE you. I believe in you. And, as long as we’re together, I know that there’s nothing we can’t do”. WE ARE ALL SENSATES. And we fight for our cluster: RENEW SENSE8.

    I AM WE

  • FearNeverFixedAnything

    Can we talk about how rude Netflix has been towards the fans, the actors and the producers? It never gave Sense8 a chance, since the cancellation was announced right after the airing of season 2 episodes.. How could they know the public’s response to these episodes? There was also no forewarning so the fans never got the chance to fight for the show, or the writers to provide a decent closure.. And finally, we have been trying so hard to be heard all these days and have not even been dignified with a response.. Even one like “We couldn’t afford it, we understand, we are sorry”. Where is your respect for the consumers Netflix..?
    Netflix should also be concerned with its public image. As a company, aside from profit it should also consider social responsibility. They promote shows about self-centered narrow-minded kids that use suicide as revenge and axe shows about inclusion and diversity.. What kind of message is that supposed to be? Saddest part is, even the public seems to have this preference.. Should Netflix just reflect the sad reality of today’s viewers or ALSO, AT THE SAME TIME invest a little bit at shaping the better, more open-minded and mature viewers of tomorrow? Even if the profit is not AS great, the reward is totally worth it. Where do you stand, Netflix?

  • The flat screen takes you out

    A. Netflix did a terrible job at promotion and try to blame it on us viewers

    B. Can we please talk about how disrespectful they were to LEGENDS of filmmaking like the Wachowski sisters, Straczynski, Tykwer & McTeigue??? These people are true artists and standing between them and their creation is unacceptable. The Wachowski sisters are the most influential directors of their generation, even the century..

  • I AM WE

    I am a privileged white girl. I never had to worry about clean water, there were no people of color at my school and my best friend was not LGBTQ. Thanks to my wonderful family and friends, I always knew how to love and accept all these people, but I could never really SEE them. Because, how could I? They were not part of my life.
    You know what has always been part of my life? ART. And if there is one thing I believe in, that is art’s power to bring people together. I believe in its power to spread a message and set people’s hearts on fire, to keep the world spinning with the hope of tomorrow. Art is the foundation of my faith in humanity.
    So when a TVshow like Sense8 came along, out of pure respect for the absolutely amazing work of the Wachowski sisters and the incredibly talented cast, I watched. Its message will resonate forever: NO MATTER HOW DIFFERENT WE ARE, WE ARE ALL HUMAN. We can all feel love, fear, hate, sorrow, hope, no matter if we live in India or Korea or Kenya or Berlin or Chicago or London or San Francisco, no matter if we are computer geeks or DJs or police officers or bus drivers or businesswomen or fighters or pharmacologists, no matter if we are straight, gay, bi or trans.
    Sense8 made a difference in people like me: it made us hear your voice and join you. It made me love the people I couldn’t understand, it made me want to fight for what I believe in, but mostly it gave me hope that we can survive the harsh reality of today by staying united. So I know it can do the same to others.
    And now, “I want everyone to know that I SEE you. I believe in you. And, as long as we’re together, I know that there’s nothing we can’t do”. WE ARE ALL SENSATES. And we fight for our cluster: RENEW SENSE8.

  • Few stood against many

    1. NBC RENEWED TIMELESS AFTER FAN REQUESTS WHY CAN’T NETFLIX DO THE SAME???
    2. Netflix released a statement –> they expected us to stop sooner, in only a week we made such an impact they couldn’t ignore us. In this statement they claim to have “thought about it” what does that even mean when no cast and crew were contacted
    3. Netflix livechat employees are now responding with a copy-paste officially approved statement (you can push by asking the right questions) –> they even developed an internal protocol to answer to us fans
    4. Netflix is a huge corporation –> it will not kneel so easily in just a week, we have to stick to it for much longer
    5. Netflix cannot divulge the reasons for cancelling (it will be unprofessional) or sell the show to a competitor –> so the best solution is just a season 3 or a movie for closure
    6. Netflix has The Crown (the most expensive show ever, and it is about BRITISH MONARCHY), while cancelling The Get Down (equally expensive) and renewing a bunch of low quality series (like 13reasonswhy) –> WHY couldn’t they allocate their budget on Sense8 instead of cancelling as well? WHY not contact the cast & crew to make it cheaper? WHY not ask the fans for more support to keep it going? There were so many alternatives than cancelling
    7. Netflix did a terrible job at marketing –> I hadn’t even heard of the show until this fuss began about cancellation, meaning the fans did a better job at promoting Sense8 than Netflix.. Also, OITNB (which is amazing) is campaigned for Pride month hmmmm WHY couldn’t Sense8 be?
    8. Not having an ending does not make sense for future audiences to watch, so by doing this they are completely wasting all the money they invested.. Not to mention they acquired Sense8 rights AFTER season1, why do this if you can’t afford it and then cancel???
    9. Netflix disrespected artists like the Wachowskis, McTeigue, Tywker, Straczynski & cast, especially since they delivered a visual product of masterful shooting and editing
    10. Netflix should be concerned with its public image. As a company, aside from profit it should also consider social responsibility. They promote shows about self-centered narrow-minded kids that use suicide as revenge and axe shows that promote inclusion and diversity.. What kind of message is that supposed to be? Should Netflix just reflect the sad reality of today’s viewers or ALSO, AT THE SAME TIME invest a little bit at shaping the better, more open-minded and mature viewers of tomorrow? Even if the profit is not AS great, the reward is totally worth it

    KEEP CALLING AND TEXTING, THEIR STOCKS ARE DOWN WE ARE HAVING AN IMPACT (everyone on Twitter, I SEE YOU, KEEP UP, I LIVECHAT NON STOP ALL DAY LONG) + everyone just CANCEL NETFLIX and let them know why

  • Few stood against many

    And Netflix HAS picked up shows in the past, like Fuller House and Gilmore Girls, it’s not so hard to do ;ppp

  • A half-finished love affair

    Gosh Sense8 is definitely NOT OVER UNTIL WE SAY SO! It is up to us to continue fighting and I will continue FOREVER if it takes this long. Sense8 changed my life, I owe it this much.
    a) Their stocks are down because of us cancelling
    b) Our fighting made them release a statement in only A WEEK! In just a week we made Netflix react! Imagine if we keep up! It is a huge corporation, it will take a lot to get it to comply so we must keep going!
    c) They were even forced to develop an internal protocol for answering livechat calls, I get the same copy-paste official response lately 😉
    d) Bringing a show back is really not such a big deal. Netflix has brought back shows like Fuller House and Gilmore Girls in the past.. NBC brought back Timeless after fans’ requests.
    e) VIEWERSHIP… don’t make me laugh.. THERE ARE SO MANY ALTERNATIVES before cancelling a show and Netflix definitely didn’t explore them. They kept more expensive shows going, like the Crown.. They cancelled The Get Down, so they saved money they could use on Sense8. They chose to promote OITNB for pride.. They never spoke with directors to make it cheaper, they never gave fans the chance to fight for it.. So SPARE ME Netflix, this is YOUR choice.

  • D-Dan

    Why? Just because two confused souls created some fad? Two delusion freaks who took their fiction “Matrix” too seriously. LOL

  • There is no spoon

    VOTE FOR SENSE8!
    A) In twitter #TeenChoice #ChoiceSciFiTVshow (+for each actor & director)
    B) http://www.eonline.com/news/860406/tv-scoop-awards-vote-for-the-best-drama-and-best-comedy-now (you can do it more than once)
    C) Netflix Member Reviews (if you have not cancelled yet, which you should!)
    D) IMDB members on the tv show poll
    E) help.netflix.com/en/titlerequest (you can do it more than once)

  • The flat screen takes you out

    Honest question guys: Do you know how we could crowdfund a movie finale..?

  • The flat screen takes you out

    If the sensies are now all in one place shouldn’t it be cheaper..? At least a graphic novel could be funded or something…
    Plus if everyone that signed the petition gave 10$ we would have 5million!!! With just a little help from this company that co-funded season 1 and was willing to go on if Netflix hadn’t purchased the entire show.. (I don’t remember the name, it was Mega Corporation UK or something, it was on J.M.Straczynski’s twitter) If we gave Netflix all that money they couldn’t hide behind any excuse about cost!!!
    It seems the most viable option aside from convincing Netflix to release the rights…

    I just don’t know a thing about how crowdfunding works ;p