You might have heard: a goldfish now has a longer attention span than the average human. Or do they? The evidence is unclear, but I think that we can agree we live in a world that allows us to lose focus. However, the Netflix series “Sense 8” challenges this idea. In fact, if you stop paying attention to “Sense 8” even for a second, you will be so lost in the plot that you might have to restart the episode. Then again, this is the kind of show you might just want to re-watch anyway.
If you liked “Inception” when it came to theaters, keep reading.
There are spoilers ahead but honestly, you kind of need spoilers to comprehend this show. There are so many plot lines in so many different locations and the eight main characters — which is a really high number of main characters — can all be in all of them — plots and places — at once. So good luck without spoilers. My advice is to keep watching, and for the rest of you to keep reading. I’ll do my best to give some solid ground without giving it all away.
Season 1: What is going on?
So here’s the basic premise — which they don’t start to explain until episode three, by the way. There is a race of human beings who have evolved past homo sapiens (that’s us). They are called homo sensoriums, or sensates. They are psychically linked to each other in clusters of eight. Sensates are born simultaneously in completely random locations around the world, and they don’t begin to communicate until they are awakened by another sensate, who then becomes their mother.
The awakening process is not fun and involves severe headaches, thinking you are in a different location and interacting with people who, to the rest of the world, are not really there. It’s the ultimate level of crazy — and it is also super cool.
It’s not all roses as a sensate though, in case you didn’t already catch that. There is a company called BPO. They are made up of sensates who were originally trying to bring other sensates together but have been corrupted and now hunt sensates around the world. People get kidnapped, a lot of people get shot and for pretty much all of season one everyone is just very confused. There is also a sometimes helpful character named Jonas who helped the protagonists’ mother birth them. We aren’t really sure where his loyalty lies, however. He is the ultimate sphinx with riddles and mysterious warnings.
It turns out there is a catch to being a sensate. Once you see another sensate and look into their eyes, they can visit you anytime, anywhere. This is problematic when you are on the run from BPO and don’t have any way of knowing who is a sensate when you first meet them. The cluster (aka the protagonists) wises up to this and figures out a solution in season two. They have to as they start throwing some major gauntlets down at the secret government agency that apparently owns the world.
To Binge or not to Binge?
Binge this show. The story line is super interesting and unique. Additionally, the show features a transgender character actually played by a transgender actress, a black character, a badass Asian character, a super smart and gorgeous Indian character, a German character (also a badass), a cop, a nordic pixie DJ and a Latino soap opera star who is also a gay diva. The show is actually filmed on location for several episodes and the sites are gorgeous places all over the world. Your inner traveler will die. Plus there are fight scenes, sex scenes, scientific solutions, mysticism, dance music and sexy accents. It quite literally has something for everyone.
The best part? (Yes, it gets better). The show was sadly cancelled because it was too expensive to produce and not popular enough when it first came out — let’s fix that one guys. It’s kind of okay though because they knew it was happening and the season two finale is probably the most satisfying ending ever in the history of TV, without being entirely predictable.
Seriously. Go watch it.
Best Episode: The season two finale. I don’t want to give it away, but it’s extra long and amazing and packed full of action and love and compromise. It takes place in Paris, hence the love. At one point a character stops and says, “I can’t believe I’m in one of those planning scenes,” and it’s hilarious. All the story lines converge perfectly and it just works. The locations of the characters do get a little confusing — just don’t think to hard about it. Sensates can be outside of their body but still next to it in the same location, and when eight people do this, it gets a little trippy. This might be a better show watched sober, just saying.
Similar Shows: “Inception,” “Stranger Things,” “The OA,” and “Avatar” (the film).
Trigger Warnings: To be honest, this show is not for the light of heart. There is violence, abuse, a lot of blood in squirting red spurts and full blown sex scenes with full-frontal nudity. Also, a strap-on plays a semi-significant role in the plot for an inanimate object. Oh, and the show contains swearing. Lots of swearing.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Available to stream on Netflix
24 episodes, Approximately 146.5 hours