Sense 8 Series Review

Rating: For pure enjoyment factor, I gotta give this a 5* rating.

The trailer is truly terrible, though. I never actually watched it before I watched the series as it came recommended to me, but I decided to include it and . . . it’s shit.

For enjoyment factor – if we were to look at this from a technical point of view, it would probably be more a 3, depending on whether you’re willing to make some concessions. (And I am. Oh my God I am.)

So, to summarise Sense 8 in a sentence . . . I don’t even know what the fuck this show is about, but I fucking love it. (If you’re watching it – you need to binge. The first few episodes are slow, but I promise you it goes 0-100 real quick)

Okay, I know what the show is (supposedly) about, but sometimes I find myself wondering if that’s what it’s really about at all. Like when all eight of the sensates (and, yes, that is actually what it’s called and how it’s spelt. The title is a really confusing pun.) literally watch themselves being born. In gross, very high detail. I’m talking stale watermelon splitting in two lookalike detail. In the middle of a symphony. With creepy grins on their faces.


Back to the point of the show: well, we don’t really know. All we know is that someone who may or may not be trusted (although who really cares because she dead) kills herself and “births” the new sensates – a group of eight (LOL.) psychics/telepathics/people are connected – who magically watch her die and then are thrust into this new world of science fiction adventure. Later. Or in some cases (yes, Kala, I’m looking at you) not really at all. I think the whole series is leading up to the whole final showdown with the big corporation (where have we seen that before?) but then again I was more emotionally invested in whether Kala and Wolfgang would bang or nah.

It was or nah. And I was seriously pissed off. I may have rewatched their scenes, just to remind myself that it will happen if I’m a good girl and I eat my vegetables.

vodka animated GIF

I feel as though this is one of those things where you need to not question it – just enjoy the experience (and it is nothing short of an experience) and accept and love all the different aspects of the storyline that isn’t really a storyline.

You’re probably wondering how that works – how can you have an entire 12 episode series without a plot? Well, my dear friend, it works. Because this is more a show about the characters than the story. So the eight characters and their lives and their personal storylines (which do not absurdly and intricately connect. I was half disappointed and relieved) are . . . well, the storyline. Then, as it gets to about halfway, a few character’s storylines kind of interweave and we find ourself a loose overall storyline for the series.

Which brings me to my next point – the characters. Agh, I loved them so much. Agh, they were so cliché-ridden and stereotypical. But, agh, so was the whole show. And, agh, I just didn’t care. I’m probably the worst person when it comes to stereotypes and clichés; I’m quite a big “there’s a reason it’s done so often” person, so I can easily overlook them if they’re done well (which they were), but . . . I did warn you.

So, there are eight sensates:

Nomi – American. Transgender. Lesbian. White. Ex hacker.

Will – American. Straight (but has the occasional psychic orgy with a few other men). White. A cop. (You know, the hero type.)

Riley – Icelandic, but lives in London. Straight. Heartbreaking, cliché backstory; I was quite pleased it wasn’t a rape one, though. And I know it sounds horrible to say, but when it comes to backstories for women it always comes down to rape, baby or boyfriend. They didn’t quite avoid the cliches altogether, but I always find rape is handled quite badly on television and for such a light-hearted enjoyable show I had my fingers crossed it wouldn’t be ruined by that and it wasn’t. White. A DJ. And professional druggie.

Wolfgang – German. Straight (until you get him alone in a bathtub). White. Thief, mass murderer, enjoyer of coloured women (seriously, did anybody else just know him and Kala were going to be paired off before they were even seen together – from the get-go it is quite obvious that Wolfie likes his girls coloured. I liked that.) and extremely brutal, brilliant violence.

Capheus – Kenyan. Who knows, he’s so fucking lovely I don’t even want to imagine him having girl or guy drama – although he did seem pretty taken with Kala, so we can assume he’s straight. And he wasn’t in the orgy… Black. A bus driver turned drug-lord’s bitch.

Sun – Korean. Again, who the fuck knows. Asian. Fucking badass ninja (don’t worry, it’s not racist that they posed the Oriental looking woman as a badass MMA fighter because she’s Korean and the stereotype is for China and Japan. We’re safe guys, you can all take your ninja blades back out) by night, poor unappreciated woman by day (bound by a last promise to her dying mother to look after her fucking asshole of a brother and be treated like shit by a father that doesn’t care about her as much because she’s a woman – like I said, not stereotypical at all).

Kala – Indian. Straight. Indian. Scientist.

Lito – Mexican. Gay. Mexican. Actor.

I love the characters individually and together, but the general complaint from other people is how stereotypical they are – the problem with this is that  . . . well, there are stereotypes for a reason. You know, in Africa HIV is “the virus” as it’s referred to – it is a MASSIVE problem. Tribe beef is a problem. Corruption in the system is a problem. In India, marriages where the daughter doesn’t want to disappoint the family, or has been forced into an arranged marriage are common. In Korea, lack of respect for women is a common thing. So I kind of think it adds a bit of maybe not believability, but background to the separate countries and upbringings/lives that they’re all leading; if they all faced very “Western” problems, then it would take away from the “all walks of life” element of the show. Could it have been done better, or with more originality? Probably, but the bluntness that the show is delivered in (how did we find out Nomi was gay? LESBIAN SEX WITH A RAINBOW STRAP ON DURING PRIDE!) is quite enjoyable to me and it really helped me connect with the characters quicker. Especially as there are eight and I’d say three real main ones (which is actually done very well, as it’s not as though the others are lesser characters, they just seem more individual than Nomi, Will and at times Riley who were always centred in the intertwined storyline, while the others had their own separate ones) and they get unequal and (for the first few episodes) quite underused screen time.

Yes, Sun, I mean you.

However, the blunt approach to showing the characters (how did we find of Wolfgang is in some kind of German mob? MOB FUNERAL! How did we find out he got Daddy issues? HE PISSED ON HIS DAD’S GRAVE.) I found was a really good approach because, to be honest, it was the only way to make them likeable or even interesting in the short amounts of time they were given. And with a storyline as trippy and separated as this one you really needed to like the characters or you just wouldn’t give two fucks about their individual situations.

Why I love this show:

  • IT’S ABSURD. Look, I can probably describe the show in a scene – everybody is in pretty deep shit, so they take a moment to all (AT THE SAME TIME. IN DIFFERENT FUCKING CONTINENTS. IN DIFFERENT TIME ZONES. OH, AND THEY ALL SPEAK DIFFERENT LANGUAGES. OH AND THE SONG IS REALLY OLD AND UNKNOWN BUT REALLY FUCKING FITTING SO OF COURSE THEY KNOW IT) have a little song along.
  • I kid you not.
  • Watch it.
  • Here.
  • THE RELATIONSHIPS ARE AMAZING. I love how relationship drama is really not a forefront in this show – the relationships are united (Nomi and Amanita are the DEFINITION of unconditional love; it is so fucking refreshing to see a MC’s other half actually fucking used for more than a sexual outlet. Lito and Hernando are just the cutest, most loved up little couple you’ve ever seen.) and something that helps the main characters and makes them happy rather than just a shitty plot filler.
  • THERE ARE NO LOVE TRIANGLES. Thank you. Like fucking thank you.
  • LIKE I SAID, RELATIONSHIPS ARE AMAZING. AND NOT JUST SEXY ONES. The “cluster” is the best, cutest little thing ever. All the little friendships that are made and the way they all interact is lovely to watch.
  • THEIR POWERS. I love how they don’t actually have “powers”, first of all. If they brought that in suddenly, I would be quite disappointed. But what I really love is the way they use their connection and the way that they get more fluent at using it, without the painstaking training sessions or experimentation scenes. I think it adds to the whole “natural” aspect of it – a lot of people kind of complained about how the characters were quite accepting of their new “sensate” powers, but I really loved because it 1. saved a lot of time and boring viewing and 2. kind of made the connection seem more natural and positive, like they were born to have it. Which they were.
  • Seriously, it’s great.
  • Like that time when Lito was having the emotional effects of Sun’s period.
  • W.W.N. Double D – What Would Nancy Drew Do
  • TEAMWORK. The teamwork is probably one of my absolute favourite things about this show. First off, it makes for great viewing and secondly it really helps you to understand the characters and enjoy their connection. And it’s just such a fist pump moment whenever they help each other out. And the way that it grows and becomes so fluid (and so does the shooting of it) makes it even better to watch because it leaves you like “OMFG COME ON SOMEONE HELP HIM” to “PFFT, THEY GOT THIS, I’M JUST GOING TO SIT BACK AND ENJOY”.
  • Example: it started off like this…
  • I’m not including any of the good scenes because . . . spoilers! But this scene kind of shows how they use each other’s knowledge and skills quite well.
  • And that translates to more than just fighting; they often talk about their shared experiences and help each other out just by being there. And that adds a level of depth to the characters and their relationships that I just adore.
  • IT INCLUDES EVERYTHING/EVERYONE. AND IT ACTUALLY DOES. AND I LOVE THAT. Okay, so I love how this show actually includes all races, all ethnicities, all sexualities.
  • AND IT’S SO NOT A THING. Like I love that. There’s this massive pansexual mental orgy (wow. How many times do you get to say that?) that is hardly referenced (and when it is it’s the funniest thing ever) and . . . it’s not a thing. There’s a transgender woman in a lesbian relationship with Martha from Doctor Who and . . . it’s not a thing. A gay couple with a woman that gets off on watching them . . . again, not a goddamn thing. I love it. It basically takes all these things that most shows don’t talk about, or talk about way too much, and doesn’t talk about them because . . .  why would we? It doesn’t need discussion, it’s normal. I love it!
  • Kala saw Wolfgang’s dick and fainted. LOL.

What were the problemos:

  • SUN. SUN. I LOVE YOU, WHY MUST THEY USE YOU. Sun is an amazing character that you hate/don’t give two shits about until maybe halfway through the series. She’s fucking badass, but she’s presented exactly how they use her – an unappreciated woman who’s only redeeming feature is that she can kick serious ass. They used her better as the series wore on, but she’s still not as prominent or enjoyable as the other characters.
  • So were they born psychic or what? I’m assuming that the suicidal woman killed herself when they were all “reborn as senates” which was pretty damn recently, but Will saw a sensate when he was younger, so he must have been one then too? Or maybe she killed herself ages ago? So were they born sensates? Or how were they picked? Like what?
  • Is the “cluster mama” all their dead parents and did said dead parents die at once. If so, Kala’s parents have some explaining… This  is just a theory, but throughout the “cluster mama” seems to appear in the body of some of their parents and a consistent theme for the sensates is one dead parent – the issue of them merging to one person was raised by Nomi, so maybe she is everyone’s dead parent. I don’t know, but either the writers need more original person background stories, or there’s some kind of connection between all the dead parents.
  • Not that these are direct problems, but it’s more the lack of sense and explanation that goes with this show. It’s like the kissing in public thing that Will seems happy to do; utterly nonsensical.
  • The writing. Oh, God, the writing. There are times you’ll be looking at a character like “did you just say that?”
  • Inconsistency. Right, this is going to lead me to the next thing that annoys me, but WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH THE LANGUAGES? ARE WE MEANT TO PRETEND THEY’RE ALL SPEAKING THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGE? Like, they slip into their native tongues (or another person’s) really randomly, or to highlight that they’re understanding and speaking each other’s language, but they are usually speaking English. And I’m confused as to whether we’re meant to think that they are. Like, after the whole “What’s Going On” singlaong, Kala’s sister comes in and is like “WTF, sis, you were singing in English” . . . in English. The same way they’ve been talking the whole time. Little inconsistencies like that are plenty in Sense8; they don’t take away from the enjoyment, but they make me a bit confused.
  • Why is everything in English? Okay, I get it – people are lazy and don’t like subtitles, but . . . I think it could do with a bit more of their native languages, otherwise the whole immersion to their separate worlds effect is a bit lost.
  • The first few episodes.

What I want to be explored:

  • Will they mesh into one? This was a question  raised by Nomi and it was a good one. She basically raised the point that they can access/share everything together, so what if they eventually lose individuality? And this is a good point – what if they can’t stop switching bodies, or feeling other people’s emotions for people? Wouldn’t it be funny if their sexual orientations all got switched?
  • I just want to understand. What actually are sensates? Where do they come from? Are they a science experiment gone wrong, Orphan Black style? Are they natural?
  • Is there only one cluster at any one given time? Can we meet some other clusters?
  • More Hernando and Daniela; I loved Daniela, little odd child that she is, but I feel like she was really underused in this. At least Hernando gave Lito the kick up the ass he needed. I feel like these two need to be involved more (maybe Amakita style) because Lito loves them, so the entire 8 will.
  • You know how I said Sun is underappreciated? She’s stuck in a prison. Can someone please break Bae out already?

So my overall feelings for this show are definitely positive and if there isn’t a season two I’m going to drown myself in a combination of the melted pints of ice cream I’m going to fall asleep eating and the tears I’m going to cry. I would definitely recommend binge watching it and, if you have, do share your feelings with me.

One response to “Sense 8 Series Review

  1. Pingback: { My Natural Glow Make-Up ft. Lime Crime Cashmere } | Okaaythen.·

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