Warning: Slight spoilers ahead for Netflix’s Sense8
Leave it to the Wachowski sisters and the creator of the underrated Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski, to develop a superhero series that will never advertise itself as a superhero series probably because there’s no saving-the-world-saving-the-universe grandiosity in play. These superheroes are, above all, incredibly human.
You should be watching it. Ditch the dreadfully cliche stuff and give it a go. Why? Well…
1.The gimmick doesn’t wear thin. The premise is complicated and intriguing, but it’s not so difficult that it cannot be explained. There are eight people — “sensates” — all over the world who were born on the exact same day and time, right down to the second, and, as a result, they are psychically and empathically connected to each other. They can feel what their counterparts can feel, AND they can come to their aid if need be, providing their counterparts with whatever skills they’re able to impart. It’s beautifully done onscreen, allowing the viewer, but not the secondary characters (except other sensates, ones outside of the protagonists’ “cluster”), to see what they’re seeing. Season one shows us what our protagonists discover they are able to do, and season two explores possibilities, including other sensate clusters, outside of the group we’ve grown acclimated to.
2. The multinational scope of the series is quite impressive. The show has characters from and/or traveling to Iceland, Holland, Germany, Kenya, South Korea, England, India, the U.S., Scotland…and probably more countries I’ve not even touched. The downside of the series is that, undoubtedly due to the expenses involved in shooting all over the world, it took 2 years for season two to air.
3. The series’ inclusivity in its characters makes for something refreshingly contemporary. I’ll thank the Washowskis for this. As a result, most of their characters deal with issues involving gender norms and expectations as well as real-world resistance to change.
4. The love stories among them are truly touching. Whether it’s between new or old lovers, family, or even friends who are family, Sense8 has its characters experience happiness, passion, remorse, excitement, tenderness, and empathy with such pathos, it’s hard not to feel as if you’re part of their “cluster.”
5. Speaking of love stories, if you dig sex scenes because that’s just how you roll, you delectable perv, well, it’s all there, too. Fair warning: the sex scenes are incredibly sensual, some to the point where they’re almost too much, too hot to handle (not pornographic, mind you, but when characters can feel each other’s emotions and physical sensations, they’re bound to…entwine… at some point).
FINALLY, our Sensates:
6. Nomi Marks (Jamie Clayton): San Francisco-based transgender activist blogger and hacker. She’s in a relationship with the strikingly beautiful Amanita (Freema Agyeman), who becomes an ardent ally for the cluster.
7. Kala Dandekar (Tina Desai): Pharmacologist living in Mumbai who is in love with another sensate (Wolfgang) even though she is engaged — and then later married — to another man, one who, quite possibly, has dangerous business connections.
8. Wolfgang Bogdanow (Max Riemelt): Locksmith and thief/safecracker from Berlin who is also in love with Kala, but knows he’s unable to truly be with her. Wolfgang’s actions and decisions carry a bit of trouble for the sensates. In season two, he faces off with lethal Lila (Valeria Bilello), a sensate intent on taking over Berlin (see below).
9. Capheus Onyango (s1, Ami Ameen; s2, Toby Onwumere): Known to his friends and local fans as “Van Damme”, Capheus is a bus driver based in Nairobi. He wants nothing more than to help his terminally-ill mother and take a stand against the political oppressors of his country.
10. Will Gorski (Brian J. Smith): A Chicago cop who had attempted to solve the murder of sensate “mother” Angelica (Daryl Hannah) who was on the run from the series’ primary villain, Mr. Whispers (Terrence Mann), sensate and head of the mysterious organization out to lobotomize the sensates. Will falls in love with Riley and goes to great lengths to rescue her from Whispers when she’s taken for Whispers’ experiments.
11. Riley Blue (Tuppenence Middleton): Icelandic DJ and drug dealer with a tragic past. She falls in love with Will, and the two of them, with the help of their cluster, escape Whispers’ lab.
12. Sun Bak (Doona Bae): Seoul-based businesswoman and expert MMA fighter who takes the rap and goes to prison for her shady brother’s embezzling within the company. Season two has her escaping from prison, focused on vengeance.
13. Lito Rodriguez (Miguel Angel Silvestre): Mexican movie star who, for the sake of his career, hides his homosexuality from the public eye and, initially, his female costar, Daniela (Erendira Ibarra), whom everyone believes he’s in a relationship with. He’s actually in a relationship with tender-hearted teacher Hernando (Alfonso Herrera).
BONUS: The fight scenes — as few and far between as they are — are glorious…