It is not unusual for my friends and family to come to me in search for a new series to watch. After all, it is common knowledge that I spend quite a lot of time in front of my computer crying over fictional characters. For the past year and a half, my immediate answer whenever someone asks what series they should watch next is: have you watched Sense8 yet?
Sense8 is a Netflix original science fiction drama, it was produced, written, and directed by the legendary Wachowskis (which means that if you are a fan of The Matrix, or V for Vendetta, or Cloud Atlas you should be logging onto Netflix right now) and Joe Straczynski. It follows eight strangers that become sensates –– human beings scattered around the world with an emotional and mental link. Roughly explained: they are able to communicate mentally, sharing experiences, abilities, and knowledge. In a nutshell:
I know, it sounds like a lot. In fact, when I first watched the tv series I had to stop after the first episode and really think about what I had just watched, I didn't return to it until a week later. I finished the next 11 episodes in a day. Even if it is a little overwhelming, Sense8 is by far one of the best series that has ever been created, and I believe it has more to offer than the usual show.
1. It touches subjects no other sci-fi does.
Straczynski himself said Sense8 “is a global story told on a planetary scale about human transcendence and what it ultimately means to be human in a contemporary society.” This tv show touches subjects such as religion, sexuality, gender, politics, society, and culture, subjects that you rarely find in other sci-fi stories. Sense8 is about people, real people with different traditions, lives, and stories that are thrown together and have to learn to live with it. It is refreshing to see real people live adventures, as opposed to the un-relatable characters we are often exposed to.
Also, and this is a point of personal interest for me, when it comes to gender and sexuality, this show managed to introduce LGBTQ+ characters in the narrative in a perfect way, meaning their contribution to the plot is not only their sexual/gender identity, but who they are. I often complain about all lgbtq+ stories revolving around how hard it is to be part of the spectrum, but Sense8 is everything we've always wanted: gay people having adventures.
I feel like this should be a given by now, but I think it is important to emphasize how diverse this show is. The main characters are from Nairobi, Seoul, San Francisco, Chicago, Mumbai, Island, Berlin, and Mexico City. Throughout the series we are shown glimpses and glances of these cities, and the way people live in them. The cast is beautifully diverse, and often we hear them speaking in their native languages.
3. It is a visual masterpiece.
I don't want to give any spoilers, but let's say that when one of the main characters is in need it can receive the help of another sensate, allowing them to take control of their body. I recently watched the behind the scenes mini-documentary, which really led me to appreciate how these kind of scenes were filmed.
For example, for a scene to look like this:
They had to do this:
There are a lot of scenes in this show that had me speechless, especially those in which all eight sensates connect at once. If you are not afraid of spoilers, check out my favorite scene.
4. The supporting cast.
It would be a blasphemy for me to talk about Sense8 without bringing up Alfonso Herrera, our gift from Mexico to the world. He plays Hernando Fuentes, a professor that manages to see art everywhere he goes. One of my favorite things about this show is that, even when it can be very dark and sad at times, it introduces the idea that being human, existing, is beautiful.
Another gem is Freema Agyeman, who plays Amanita Caplan. She is beautiful, strong, loyal, passionate, and intelligent. I think she is a gorgeous example of who we should be.
5. The music.
Along with being a visual masterpiece, every single song they play in this show matches the mood perfectly. I wish there was a way to show this on a gif, but, since not, here is a gif of my beautiful sensates dancing.
6. It captures the joys of international friendship.
Imagine an Indian woman experiencing snow for the first time, or a Mexican showing his friends how to dance to the Latino beat. I have been making friends on the internet for a long time, many of them live in different countries and I have never seen in real life, but they are still very dear to me, some are even like family. In this society, it is not weird for someone to have a friend they have never met, but that knows them better than anyone. I think Sense8 fully captures that, and it is beautiful.
7. The locations.
As I said, the sensates live all over the world, and their individual plotlines take place in different countries, most importantly: all scenes were recorded on location, no sets involved. One of the reasons it took more money and time to record this show is because they must travel across the world to tell a single story, and they show amazing sides of it. I can only truly speak for Mexico City, but I am forever grateful about the fact that they show more than one side of it. The good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.
8. The characters.
This is the most important reason to love this show, this is the reason why I have written eight arguments for you to watch it, one argument per sensate. I can say with the outmost security that this characters are too real, if that is such a thing. You will identify with them, cry with them, laugh with them, sing with them. And you will love them.