Netflix Review – Globetrotting sci-fi drama brings bingeworthy action

By Kathryn Kelman/ne news editor

“Sensates” gather telepathically to celebrate. The show follows eight diverse people from around the world who are linked telepathically as they navigate their new worlds.
Photo courtesy Netflix

Netflix’s Sense8, a slow-burn, complex character and culture study wrapped in the guise of a sci-fi action/bingeworthy series, returns to Netflix May 5 with its second season. 

Spanning as many genres as it does time zones, the show follows eight strangers, living vastly different lives in different places around the world, who find themselves suddenly linked together.

A closeted Latino movie star blinks and finds himself face to face with a Korean businesswoman. A Chicago officer is suddenly in the same room as an Icelandic DJ in London. A transgender political blogger and hacktivist finds a bus driver from Nairobi driving her car. An Indian pharmacist sees way more of a German safecracker than she ever wanted.

The “sensates” don’t know why or how this is happening, but there’s an evil corporation trying to track them down, and they’ll need to work together to survive being hunted by those who see them as a threat to the world order.

The immense amount of diversity brings light to the less represented, like pharmacists in Mumbai, bus drivers in Nairobi, safecrackers in Berlin, cops in Chicago, closeted Latino actors and transgender hacktivists.

Because it follows so many diverse people all over the world, the first few episodes can be disorienting as the newborn “sensates” pop in and out of each other’s lives and try to figure out what’s happening and why.

The initial episodes focus more on the individual stories of the eight leads and their struggles with sexuality and gender politics, the weight of family expectations, yearning for authenticity and the comforts of conventionality. As they come together, the show shifts focus to the power of community and the hunger for connection.

It takes a few episodes for the stories to blend and for things to make sense for both viewers and the sensates, but the series comes together as they do. And as they learn what’s going on, so do the viewers.

Overall, though, Sense8 is a coherent and neat intertwining of the diverse lives and experiences of eight young, highly attractive strangers as they try to figure out their own lives and each other.

Not much has been released about the highly anticipated second season, but following the intensity of the season’s first two-hour episode, which was released in December, Sense8’s Season Two is sure to be as suspenseful, heart-wrenching and touching as its first.