Can Sense 8 Be Saved?

Jun 15, 2017

At first glance, it would seem that the first Pride Month without a Presidential proclamation in several years represented some sort of rollback of progress. I’m not even talking about the lack of even a ceremonial commemoration from the White House, here. I’m talking about the fact that on the first day of Pride Month, Sense 8 was cancelled.

Never watched it? Saw an episode and checked out? Allow me to explain.

Sense 8 tells the story of eight vastly different people scattered around the world called “sensates” who are linked emotionally and mentally. They are: Capheus, a bus driver in Nairobi trying to earn money to buy his mother AIDS medicine; Sun Bak, the kickboxing daughter of a Seoul businessman; Nomi Marks, a hacktivist and blogger who resides in San Francisco with her girlfriend, Aminata; Kala Dandekar, a pharmacist in Mumbai engaged to a man she doesn’t love; Riley Blue, an Icelandic DJ living in London; Wolfgang, who cracks safes as an organized criminal; Lito, a closeted Spanish actor living in Mexico City with his boyfriend, Hernando and Will Gorski, a Chicago policeman haunted by an unsolved murder from his childhood.

Books are my first love, but good movies and tv shows are a close second. I binge-watched the first season with a dear friend and decided on a few things: Sense 8 is fun to watch because of its inclusive vision of science fiction at the intersection of globalization, gender, religion and sexuality. There is no equivalent of this kind of wide-ranging representation anywhere in pop culture, which means that even with some of the show’s flaws — the pace can plod a little and and some of the storylines venture into trite territory — it is beloved just for existing and filling a niche unavailable anywhere else.

Especially in light of how intense the news cycle has been, it might seem trivial, but it’s impossible to overstate how important the representation of underrepresented points of view are. To save Sense 8, half a million people around the world have been calling for the show’s renewal for Season 3. “This show has been so important to me in learning to accept myself,” writes Megan-Elizabeth Bridges in the UK. “It is incredible, beautiful and with an amazing plot. I binged all of Season 2 in the first day, I love it so much. The premise of the show is to bring people together and it delivered that with a spectacular cast.” Even if you have more conservative values — as many fans of Last Man Standing do — there’s power in knowing that you are seen and valued.

And while it’s looking like Netflix has thrown in the towel because of money — apparently it costs $9 million U.S. Dollars to make an episode — Here’s what Netflix had to say on its Sense 8 Facebook Page: “To our Sense8 family… We’ve seen the petitions. We’ve read the messages. We know you want to #RenewSense8, and we wish we could #BringBackSense8 for you. The reason we’ve taken so long to get back to you is because we’ve thought long and hard here at Netflix to try to make it work but unfortunately we can’t. Thank you for watching and hope you’ll stay close with your cluster around the world. #SensatesForever.”

Maybe like Last Man Standing, which may reportedly be picked up by another network after being cancelled by ABC, there will be some other company that will step in to keep Sense 8 alive.