Sense8 is a show unlike any other show I’ve ever seen. On one hand, it fits the Wachowskis’ profile perfectly. It has the occasional bombastic fight scenes, and slow motion action, and weirdly deep philosophical premise (what if you shared all your emotions and thoughts with seven other people?). But there’s something new to the show, too. Something I didn’t know the Wachowskis were entirely capable of doing. And that’s heart. Lots of it.
On one hand, Sense8 is a suspenseful mystery and thriller, but it’s also about digging deeply into the lives and emotions of people across the globe. It is one of the most diverse shows I’ve ever seen without screaming “Look how diverse I am!” Shot on sight in San Francisco, Chicago, Mumbai, Seoul, Nairobi, Iceland, etc. the show’s visuals are stunning, but it also capitalizes on the different sorts of people you’d find in all these places. A transwoman in San Francisco, an overlooked businesswoman in Korea, an optimistic Jean Claude Van Damme-loving driver in Nairobi (who had gloriously named his vehicle the Van Damme).
I found the first episode of the show intriguing but confusing as hell. Then, as I watched more, I couldn’t stop watching it. All eight characters are fully fleshed out with individualized backstories. Nomi, the transwoman living in San Francisco, and her girlfriend Amanita are ridiculously adorable, but her whole character development doesn’t rest simply on “trans.” She has other talents—like her past life as a super hacker. Lito, a famous actor in Mexico City known for his roles in mobster films that end with him shooting up cathedrals full of bad guys, struggles in hide the fact that he’s gay and has the most perfect boyfriend in existence (although that might just be me. I love dudes in glasses who can talk about art history). I love the positive LGBTQ relationships in this show, enough so that I’m willing to forgive the less dynamic heteroromantic interactions.
One of the other saving graces of the show is despite the violence and mystery and near constant threat of death, it’s also full of humor. The show is sometimes urgent and important, but it never wallows in self-importance (like the The Matrix Revolutions) and presents many moments of humor and even occasional laugh out loud moments. My personal favorite was a scene in the sixth episode where a couple of the Sensates were having sex with their partners when some of the others connected to them and got…somewhat involved as well. Tragedy works best when balanced with humor and Sense8 gets that right.
The best part? It’s on Netflix, so it’s easy to binge in the span of weekend once you get hooked! Go on, and then endure the painful wait for season two along with the rest of us.
Featured image via The Mary Sue.