A fan is born
I’m sitting in front of my TV, watching the credits for the pilot episode of the Netflix show Sense8. Instead of hitting the button on my remote like I usually do, I let the countdown on the screen go to its end, automatically kicking in the next episode. I’m unable to move, taking in what I’ve just seen. It reminds me of those rare movie theater trips where the audience sits in their seats rather than running to the aisles.
After I’ve finished the couple episodes I was able to watch that day, a word popped into my head. Haunted. I was haunted by the show I had just begun watching. From the globe-spanning opening sequence, to the diverse characters, and almost subtle sci-fi, the show affected me like a phantom limb.
And now, for reasons still not entirely clear to me and the legion of fans out there, Sense8 has been cancelled by Netflix after two amazing seasons. I waited forever for the second season, and binged it in a short burst. Now the aching for the story’s next chapter can never be resolved. And I do respect the financial needs of a company which provides entertainment for millions. But I wonder if they truly know what types of programs their subscribers want to see. At what point does the dollar become more important than originality and social commentary and just plain fun?
What is Sense8?
For those who haven’t watched the show, here are the basics. It was created by Lana and Lily Wachowski (The Matrix) and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5). Eight completely different people from around the world become connected mentally, able to see and speak to each other, and even take control of each other’s bodies to share their unique talents. They each have their own struggles to deal with, all while trying to escape being hunted by a secret organization. The last season ends on a cliffhanger, making fans even more disappointed about the cancellation.
People love to throw around the cliché about “the current political climate.” What they really mean is that there is so much hate and the world seems to be falling apart. How can the planet’s problems ever get better? That’s why Sense8 hit home for so many viewers. The series dealt with reactions to the LGBTQ community and other personal issues like loss of a child and newfound love. The connection the characters experience gives hope that our real society may find common ground, no matter how different we all may be.
Plus, the action and martial arts scenes don’t hurt.
Several times, after watching an episode or four, I’ve found myself inspired creatively. I’d hop onto my laptop to jot down the beginning of a short story. As a writer, the worst part of a series like this is hating that I didn’t come up with it. It has such an original plot and unique universe. Knowing that I didn’t create it is frustrating. But at least I got to live in that world for a time.
So now what?
I have been a fan of other canceled shows in the past, so I am not unused to this kind of disappointment. In fact, now when I enjoy a new show, I pretty much expect it to go the way of the dinosaurs. But this time is not the same. There is an online petition to save Sense8, closing in on 400,000 supporters as of now, so maybe there is hope for at least a final movie to wrap up loose ends. Maybe it will actually work. All I know is Sense8 is…or was…something different. The show seems irreplaceable. Nothing could ever be just like this.