Sense8 My new favorite paranormal show (my new favorite show). A group of eight individuals discover they are psychically linked and find that they are a mystery within a mystery.
I thought about writing a very long response to some of the Sense8 naysayers out there but I’ll try to keep this as short as possible.
First, please don’t compare Sense8 to shows like Daredevil on Netflix. I think, this is the root of the problem. If you would like a show that gently lays some drama in your lap in a politically safe way – then you will not like Sense8 anyway. If, however, you are inclined to be encouraged to engage your compassion, empathy and intellectual capacity then, yes, Sense8 is definitely for you. That said, it seems some would fain that they are open to such stimuli only to protest that the show is too obvious and hits you over the head with blatant questions about what it means to be human that, well, most people have already covered in their highschool studies or college courses. However, life doesn’t stop after those early years of curiosity and required courses have run out. That’s the point behind the work of both the Wachowskis’ and J. Michael Straczinsky. Yes, some discussions are obvious, and some might very well be redundant – but wait – they’re not redundant, not really. Because the continual examination of our human frailties and our purpose in life is always worth exploring. And to be good at it one has to keep knocking at the same door over and over again because something else will be discovered.
The other part of the anti-Sense8 argument is that the show is too sentimental; or strives too hard to spur an emotional response in the viewer. On this point, I will agree that sometimes throughout the first season I felt that they wanted me to feel more moved than I was; but this is by no means true for every episode. There is, also, plenty of mystery, suspense and action intertwined with believable drama to keep me from getting bored. Though the none of the questions posed actually bore me anyway. Personally, I also think that the pacing and editing is brilliant, not herky-jery as some would accuse; and serves the story perfectly when employed. The filming is simply beautiful and overall production is outstanding!
Many fans, myself not included, would say that the first 2-3 episodes were a little slow to get through but in the end there is a gauranteed a payoff for all of the developed storylines as the season progesses. For instance, the storyline of Lito Rodriguez (one of seven other character storylines), for me, felt a bit bland during the first 3-4 episodes. But, by the end of the season I was loving his plot line! This is, in contrast, to the most recent season of Game of Thrones where the story line drags and the payoff is little. And, unlike GOT, Sense8 does not play to the lowest common denominator and use low brow entertainment like gratutious naked people and grunt actions alone to keep you stimulated. Though, this is not entirely true of every GOT episode.
For those who said Netflix tested their patience, then I can only say that every person who had a difficult time getting into the show in the first 2-3 episodes that I have talked to all said the same thing: that it was worth the wait. If it takes you two episodes to get into a series then that is a very weak start and failure on behalf of the creators. Only, I actually loved the first several episodes, and so did a lot of other people. But, these are all just opinions. The real problem is, do we want everything spoon fed to us? If a show is overly cautious not to challenge us too much, then what do we learn? Indie and European films are often charged with having too slow of a pacing – and sometimes I agree that some filmmakers try to hard – but really what is happening is that they are trusting your intellect to feel subtleties that can not be developed if the film just plows ahead and gives you the questions and aswers right away. Sure, you can show me a short poem that can be read quickly and, right away, I’ll take something from it – but if I breathe it in then there is likely to be a whole lot more color and purpose found within. Sense8 incorporates this approach as a lyrical and adreniline packed combustion of filmmaking!
The creators of Sense8 are perhaps a bit contrarian because in a world where distractions are many, attention spans are shorter and a post burned-by-LOST generation abound, they are hoping that you care enough about the human condition to think again on familiar things. To keep the philosophical discussion going. To open your heart again. To re-think on your own feelings and pre-judgments. So that, as the series progresses, you will stay tuned-in for a constantly rewarding series. And again, if you think they are pushing sentimentality too hard, then you are probably avoiding sentiment too much.
And, seriously, the Wachowskis are just masters of action.
I would like to add that I feel this statement is antiquated and limited:
“These days, I hear more and more from people who suggest that critics shouldn’t review shows — and particularly binge-able shows like this — without watching the whole season. I strongly disagree, not just because this is the way my job has been done since it was created, but because in an age of limitless choices, people want to know early whether they should be making time for a new show the moment it debuts.”