If there’s a word to describe Sense8 I would choose progressive in the depiction of our species, not as one homogeneous lump but one of complexity and diversity.
Sense8 is a trip of a series, available in 4k to boot, its luxurious finish bombards the ears and eyes. The direction and editing is quite sensational and I understand that post production takes as long as the film shoot to get the final edited product.
The central and supporting cast are all quite superb, sexy, cool, modern and with it. A particular mention goes to Nomi Marks played by Jamie Clayton. Clayton’s voice is startling and I thought at one stage it’s probably been digitally altered – then I discovered that Clayton herself is Trans and everything fell into place. Clayton shines in emotional scenes of torment whether it be fear of loss or love or acceptance. It just rings too true like she is drawing on her real life experiences to power the performance and the result is tearful for both the character and the viewer.
Outside of the central cast there are so many great characters, but for me Eréndira Ibarra as Daniela Velazquez, Freema Agyeman as Amanita “Neets” Caplan and Lwanda Jawar as Githu are outstanding in their own way.
Do I have any problems with Sense8? Yes- like a lot of Netflix original output they seem to think that the restraints that are placed on terrestrial television can be completely relaxed. The two key restraints are the depiction of sex and violence. For the latter in Netflix’s Iron Fist and Helix I have stopped watching and interestingly enough not returned to either series. This is because of specific scenes of violence in both that were completely gratuitous and unnecessary for the development of the story or characters. In a series like Sense8 it is all about sensitisation and realisation not de-sensitisation. I won’t go into details, which is the point I am making – you don’t need to know the details, the imagination can do the job just fine.
The second issue is Sex. The depiction of sex in Sense8 is about as hot as you can go without being toasted. Everything is thrown in and “acted” with aplomb. I found myself diving for the remote on more than one occasion to kill the volume lest my 16 year old son think a sibling was noisily approaching conception. I confess my eyebrows did occasionally disappear into my hairline but was I offended? No. My only warning is if you do find yourself recommending this series to others, then please be a good friend and warn them of this. That taken care of the sex is pretty sensational and as open, progressive, unrestrained as you are likely to see on mainstream TV.
Finally I get the strong impression that, although I imagine filming this series was very arduous, the cast had a ball filming it and for me the party scenes in Nairobi and Amsterdam sum up the life affirming total buzz making this series surely must have been. Everybody involved from actors to editors to location agents should be very proud of this series.