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Sense8 isn’t a show you watch; it is a show you feel your way through. It’s a beautiful portrait of diversity, empathy, and affection between characters who represent all of us in our own unique way, while simultaneously embodying the ‘other’–the unknown, the stranger–and possessing complementary skills or perspectives to protect, nurture, and advance their counterparts in subtle and endearing ways.
I keep telling my friends “You need to watch Sense8”
“Yeah? What’s it about?”
I pause. As a writer type I should have a good answer for this, but all I can say is “It’s about people.”
As the title suggests, there are 8 people. These people are from all over the world. Literally. India, Kenya, Germany, Korea, London via Iceland, Mexico, and America. They all share a vision of a woman named Angelica (Daryl Hannah) killing herself and find themselves psychically linked as a ‘Cluster of Sensates’–a group of eight people, psychically reborn, with the ability to communicate, feel the emotions of, and utilize the skills of one another.
The plot imperils the characters in physical, spiritual, sexual, and intellectual battles of life and death. These imminent threats seem representative of the greater threat of humanity to itself. Sense8 reaches out of its own narrative, compelling us to engage with one another on social, political, and interpersonal issues in a way that transcends the traditional framework of the ‘other’ placing an emphasis, not only on survival, but living and thriving beyond cultural expectations.
This encourages us as the audience, to see beyond the simplistic social constructs of race, gender, and sexuality, and empowers us to acknowledge that our perceived differences are often our greatest assets to one another.
My only criticism of the show would be that I still don’t fully understand the origins of the death and rebirth of the ‘Sensates’. I’m not sure the character origins of Sense8 are actually terribly important, since birth is a relatively minuscule event compared to living. It seems as if the origin and explanation of the plot were created as an afterthought to further develop the characters, but this is often discussed as the difference between great writers and great storytellers. Great storytellers create an event and the characters react around it. Great writers have an innate ability to shine a light into our souls and hold up a mirror so that we see ourselves in their characters. The Wachowskis are great writers, who happen to use a visual storytelling medium.
Check out the trailer below and Stream Sense8 on Netflix