I ran into this Wachowski series on Netflix. It does not have the pomp of some of their creations and (perhaps) not even the complex story.
Well, there is an ‘attempt’ at a complex story. The title refers to a different kind of human being. Besides the “homo sapiens” there is also the “homo sensibilus”. The series do not explain how these “sensates” are born to ‘normal’ humans. We follow eight such sensates. It seems that they all have the same age and that they discover their abilities only later in life. We have the Korean daughter of a wealthy business family. A German criminal. An Indian beauty about to marry rich. There is an LA cop, a Mexican actor, a Nigerian buss driver, a woman who used to be a man and an Icelandic DJ.
The sensates can be in each others presence whereever they are. Also they can take over each other’s bodies. Along the way our eight sensates learn that they are a “cluster”, that there are other clusters and that there are also people hunting them. The last element brings thriller elements to the series.
The series show the characters with both the personal and the joint problems. Nomi has frictions with her parents who do not accept her transition. Lito is a popular actor, but he fears the end of his career when his fans learn that he is gay. Sun takes the fall to save her brother’s career in the family business. Wolfgang tries to do his own thing, but the criminal underground of Berlin tries to draw him in further. Kala has a loving future husband but second thoughts about the marriage. LA cop Will has frictions with his father. DJ Riley tries to balance between succes and personal life. Capheus (played by another actor in the second series) unintentionally becomes the hero of his slum.
In times of crisis, another member of the group, or all of them, team up to solve a problem of one of them. This often brings unnecessary extra drama or another tension. This typical ‘enhanced drama’ that is present in many American films and series, also crept into the work of the Wachowski’s. Sometimes these elements even overshadow the development of the story.
Overall, “Sense8” is alright. Especially in the first season (which is directed by both Wachowskis) there is quite some stress on ‘minority issues’ (trans, gay). Later (only Lilly Wachowski, but also guest directors) the ‘larger story’ gets the upper hand, making more of a thriller. There is the earlier mentioned drama, but the creators also wanted to add a layer of sensuousness, both are overdone and superfluous in my opinion. The story develops alright, but it seems that some turns had to be made to allow for future episodes or seasons. The two-and-a-half-hour final episode seems to have been made to wrap things up (quite thinly) when there no more would be a new season.
Not bad, but not the Wachowski’s best work either.