For those who’ve been following, Netflix has decided to cancel one of its most successful shows to run on the streaming platform, Sense8. After the second season was aired in early June, Netflix has decided not to renew it for the third season. The news certainly came as a blow to its passionate fanbase, but we’re not here to dissect Netflix’s decision, as hurtful as that may be. We’re here to discuss why Sense8 became so popular and why the world needs a series like Sense8, now more than ever.
What is the show about?
Sense8 shows a beautifully told narrative, where 8 random strangers from all over the world suddenly start to connect with one other through a neural connection. All of them are from different countries, different ethnicities, races, cultures and sexual orientations. And they are able to live and experience each of those lives simultaneously. They come together to help each other in their personal quests and escape from the notorious organisation that’s hunting them.
Diversity in the show
Interesting, right? But this captivating storyline of Sense8 is not what makes Sense8 so great. Its how Sense8 manages to portray and handle diversity. The show boasts a diverse cast, with characters hailing from urban Mumbai to slums of Nairobi. We see a transgender woman fight for her rights and a gay actor who is rather melodramatic in real life, slings guns in action movies. An Indian girl defies her marriage and falls in love with a German man. A Korean woman struggles against the trappings of her patriarchal family. It’s the beauty and the raw passion for diversity that Sense8 managed to get right, that makes this show so appealing.
And not to mention, one of the three co-creators of the show, Lana Wachowski, herself is a transgender.
Message of inclusion and acceptance
The beauty of Sense8 lies in the fact that in a world so prejudiced by difference, it succeeds in normalising difference and inclusion. And it does so in a meticulously crafted method, not hurting any culture or faith or race in the way. It takes pride in the fact that the message of inclusion and acceptance is portrayed throughout the series.
In a world so divided by “us” and “them”, where we are taught to be sceptical of those who are different from us, to be afraid and cautious of those who do things differently, in a world where we feel guilty and ashamed to embrace our identity, Sense8 spreads the message of oneness.
It shows us that it is okay not to be like others, that we don’t have to play by their rules. We don’t have to suppress ourselves. Our identities. And that diversity is beautiful. Love is beautiful. And it does not matter what the colour of our skin is or what sex we are, we are all the same.
Which is also a perfect way to describe how it feels to watch Sense8, a profound sense of our shared humanity and connectedness.
And a deep disconnect with a world that is increasingly hostile towards empathy and difference.
Sense8 shows TV how to deal with these issues
TV is a powerful media that appeals to the mass. It reaches out to a greater number of people that a book or a rally or a seminar ever manages to. And even if a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of people watching this show, who are either scared, embarrassed or a bit too shy to embrace diversity and difference, change their minds about diversity, then the show is a success. And the world will be a better place than it is now. Even if a little bit. But that is okay because that is how change works, a little bit at a time.
To quote a line from the show itself, “Nothing good ever happens when people care more about our differences than the things we share in common.” And indeed, the world is in a bad enough shape as it already is. What harm will it do if we start to accept diversity and live happily together?
If you took the time to read this far, here’s a little treat, Sense8 has returned from cancellation for a special two hours episode. Happy binging.