Nonsensical Netflix: A Letter to Sense8’s Killers

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Dear Netflix,

You’ve been good to us, so I’m gonna start easy on you. The news that you’ve cancelled your original series Sense8 – created and directed by the Wachowski sisters and starring an international, wonderfully heterogeneous cast – has completely baffled me. I’m no business student, but I do know that there are a hell of a lot of disappointed customers out there.

The series, which follows 8 people connected by their minds and senses to one another in different corners of the globe, has only been running for two seasons. Many fans are upset that this announcement came on the first day of Pride Month, 1st June – some of them are asking for a little closure – I’m asking for supermarket inspired expiry dates. Slapping some disclaimers onto these shows may seem a little rash, but so would binge eating a packet of bourbons only to realise half way through the pack that they’ve gone stale. Now, Sense8 is anything but a mouldy chocolate biscuit, but the sentiment rings true. And it goes without saying that this marks a loss for the LGBTQ community, with so much representation present in both the fictitious characters and real life crew. We deserve a proper send off, because as it stands, you are tainting the whole experience of watching the series. The whopper of a cliffhanger we were given, documented in my end of series review, is no way to leave the show. There is no anticlimax like no climax at all – it just feels like you don’t give a shit.

I know this has happened a million and one times before. I know it’ll happen again. I’m not saying the show was perfect, but it was pretty darn good. It was building momentum, improving and expanding and evolving in all the right directions. It was achieving something and resonating with people; it was inclusive and celebratory at a time of discrimination and doom. Sun (Doona Bae) also just happens to be my main role model in life. Hands down. And Riley (Tuppence Middleton) and Will (Brian J. Smith) are relationship goals, and I’m hoping Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) and Kala (Tina Desai) will be. Capheus (Toby Onwumere) is changing his community, and Lito (Miguel Angel Silvestre) is completely free and his dreams are coming true. And Nomi (Jamie Clayton) is getting her life back. But we’re not going to see the realization of these things. You could see the ambition in the cinematography, scope, and plot, but this ambition is being quashed by its early death. It wasn’t ready yet; it had so much more left to give.

I’m left to place the blame firmly at the door of Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings, and the ruthless business plan he’s recently advocated. It may work out financially for the better, but he thinks the platform needs to be cancelling more shows. He believes in quantity over quality; that the service need to take more risks and try more crazy things, nudge nudge wink wink Sense8, and then cancel them. Every time you turn on Netflix now you get that big bold number exclaiming that two-thousand-five-hundred-and-fifty-three new shows have been added in the last two nanoseconds, as if we should be impressed. I’m not applauding, but waiting to click the punchline that reveals what the actual content is. How much of the new content is actually stuff people want to watch?

The statement released explaining the cancellation also made no sense (pun intended). It was contradicting the very action it was confirming by raving about Sense8‘s success, proving that a dream deferred can and will shrivel up in the sun like a raisin before your very eyes.

There seems little point to whining, although I’d happily sell my soul to Amazon Prime if they’d pick up where Netflix left off. All I can say is thank you to the cast and crew for this amazing show, and hope that the series will get the proper send off that it deserves. Meanwhile, maybe I’ll just go back to watching movies. At least I can count on them to have an ending; or maybe they just never have to end at all. Sense8, Sense16: The 16th Sense, Sense24: Sense Appeal, Sense32: Sensibility and Sense, etcetera etcetera.

Senserely (I cannot stop now),

A lowly Netflix subscriber.

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Fourth year French and English student and 2018/19 Live Editor for The Edge.

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