'Sense8's Renewal Is A Victory For Us All

by Jennifer Still

It wasn't until last week that Netflix finally announced the decision to renew sci-fi drama Sense8 for a second season. It was a long-awaited victory for fans of the unconventional series, all of whom have been desperate to know whether we'll get a chance to see our Sensates continue on their journeys — myself included. It seemed touch-and-go there for a while, as the show's initial critical reviews were mixed at best, but it soon found its footing, as well as a loyal following, which no doubt played a large part in Netflix's decision to give Sense8 another shot. This was probably the most welcome news I've heard in a while, particularly because the renewal is not just an opportunity for the characters to continue to grow and evolve within new storylines, but it's also a wonderful vehicle for inclusivity when it comes to traditionally underrepresented communities.

It's hard to describe what makes Sense8 such a great show, because there are so many different answers to that question. On its surface, it's a new take on the sci-fi genre that incorporates extreme telepathic and empathic abilities to create a group of chosen individuals who are all, because of these abilities, connected with one another and able to experience one another's actions and feelings and lend their own skills to help the others when they're in danger. That simplification probably still sounds pretty complicated, but that's only scraping the surface. Alone, the concept is intriguing, at least, but it's nothing revolutionary. But when combined with the stellar cast and the incredible depth of their characters, it becomes something really magical to witness.

We've come a long way when it comes to representation of more diverse people in our entertainment, but Sense8 manages to take this to a new level. Characters include an Icelandic DJ now living in London, an African taxi driver, a trans woman poet, a closeted Spanish actor, and a Korean businesswoman, just to name a few. While bringing together such a vastly different group of people in a single show carries the danger of coming across as heavy-handed and tone deaf, the writers of Sense8 have done a phenomenal job of ensuring that the characters are genuine and true-to-life. The effort to ensure this is obviously intentional, and that mindfulness certainly pays off.

While I honestly can't wait to see what Season 2 will bring for the Sensates, part of me is almost more excited by the fact that a show that is so experimental, in many ways, has triumphed and will be able to continue, exposing its audience to wonderfully unique and provocative storylines and people that, despite the somewhat abstract concept of the show, still speak volumes to those of us in the real world.

Images: Merie Weismiller Wallace/Netflix; Murray Close/Netflix