I have to admit I was a bit crushed when early reviews of Sense8 came back somewhat negative.
Press was given early access to the first few episodes, and most were writing about a directionless, preachy show that fell pretty flat, arguably the first Netflix original flop. The Wachowskis had come up with one of the most original concepts for a television series that we had heard of in a while. Following eight strangers who were all mentally connected after their own individual tragedy, Sense8 seemed poised to be the first action/psychological thriller to hit the Netflix originals playlist.
But despite these early negative reviews, when Sense8 premiered, the audience reception started to make things a bit clearer that the first few episodes were not necessarily representative of the entire thriller sci-fi series, but instead a slow buildup to what, for some, became quite an enjoyable television show.
Now before it sounds like I’m raving about Sense8, let me be clear that the show is certainly full of flaws. And while some feel forgivable, especially the seemingly early missteps, others less so. Sense8 throws a lot of social commentary in your face, the dialogue can be ridiculous at times (this is from The Matrix creators, after all), and really it’s hard to forgive a show that takes so long to get interesting. In other words, in this day and age, viewers shouldn’t have to force themselves to like something the way Sense8 does early on.
But the positives? Sense8 is the most visually stunning Netflix original yet, even more than Marco Polo. The action scenes are well constructed (this is from The Matrix creators, after all), and the show has some seemingly endless potential if Netflix gives this series another shot. But just for clarity, this endless potential could easily be listed as a complaint as Sense8 does really struggle with direction. Sure, the show probably maintains an intentional amount of confusion, but this certainly becomes problematic for mass audiences.
Sense8 lines itself up perfectly for what likely represents a niche audience, but one Netflix would likely want to appeal to. It’s always going to be difficult to create new television shows that continually appeal to mass audiences. So will there be another season of Sense8? No word from Netflix yet. The further we get from the premiere date, the less likely it becomes that there will be a second season renewal, especially if summer passes with no news.
Regardless, we can appreciate that Netflix wants to take risks and appeal to specific audiences with many of their up and coming original shows. Sense8 might have felt like a misfire, the silver linings of a potentially successful series remain.