A while back, having seen the trailer for this series, I wrote on a forum that I saw nothing of interest and, although I would watch an episode or two, I really didn’t foresee finding much enjoyment here. I really wish I had listened to my earlier self as this new series, brought to questionable life by J. Michael Straczynski and the Wachowskis, has been nothing but a disappointment. Okay, take a deep breath and let’s try to make it through Sense8.
Eight strangers suddenly find that they can share experiences and abilities psychically, even though they have never met or, before the advent of their powers, knew existed. They encounter a mysterious man named Jonas who shares their abilities and is trying to protect them from a massive corporation and it’s leader Whispers who wants to capture them all for nefarious purposes.
There are so many problems with this series, I don’t know where to begin. Normally, if I like a show, I’ll burn through it as fast as I can, but after struggling through the first couple of episodes, I just kept putting off the rest, finding different things to watch, because I really had no interest in getting back to it. I knew that I’d have to soldier on eventually, I was just dreading it because there was nothing here I wanted to experience.
The characters are really not enjoyable at all. Yes, I know that you need some character faults, but like so many bad shows these days, the characters aren’t just flawed, they’re all terminally failed. There is little to like about any of them. I wouldn’t want to be friends with any of these people. They’re all dicks to one degree or another. The story, or more properly, the stories, just don’t mesh well at all. There isn’t a single plot, there are eight different plots, told from the perspective of eight different people and none of those things actually matter to the larger narrative. It just kept saying “get on with it!” I didn’t care about Nomi’s problems with her trans-phobic mother. I didn’t care about Sun Bak’s business troubles. I didn’t care about Miguel’s issues with staying in the closet. If I wanted to watch those kinds of problems, I’d be watching Lifetime. I’m not. I’m supposedly watching a show about psychics and that’s just not the show I got.
Honestly, the Wachowski’s are still trying to do The Matrix. It’s their only real claim to fame and it’s the only schtick they have. I was waiting for someone, having traded skills with martial artist Sun Bak, to say “I know kung fu!” It was that ridiculous. It was only after trying to get through this series that I went and looked at the Wachowski’s filmography and realized what a bunch of shit it is. Except for the original Matrix and, honestly it’s a guilty pleasure, Speed Racer, I haven’t liked anything they’ve done in their careers. This just adds more to the pile.
Then you add in all the absurdly gratuitous sex in the series, sex and nudity that was entirely unnecessary, and it just made me want to turn it off. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with sex if it is integral to the story, but for so many shows these days, especially shows coming off of Showtime and other premium channels (and Netflix gets included here), it’s just sex for the sake of sex, it’s all fan service and none of it actually makes a difference. If you cut it all out, you’d never miss it. It just doesn’t matter. It’s there to titillate, not provide meaning or context for the story. If you read my reviews of Penny Dreadful last year, you know that the sex-for-the-sake-of-sex caused me to give up that show and it is a large part of why I don’t bother with Game of Thrones. Most shows coming off of Showtime, in particular, have this problem, they’re just throwing gratuitous graphic content because they can, not because the story calls for it.
Now that we’re seeing a number of networks releasing complete seasons at once, I think that the impetus for creators to have to make good episodes may suffer. They already know that they get all of their episodes made, it doesn’t come down to ratings, they already get a complete order that will “air” no matter how bad it is and there’s no danger of cancellation. Maybe that’s something that people ought to think about.
Netflix had a winner with Daredevil earlier in the year. They completely blew it with Sense8. There have been very few people I’ve seen who have liked it and hopefully, this dog gets buried and doesn’t get a second season.