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When Sense8, a sci-fi drama by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, the directors of The Matrix, and Babylon 5 creator J Michael Straczynski, was cancelled after two seasons, there were outpourings of grief and rage from its fans. Not just because there were unanswered questions, but mainly because they had come to love the show.
The premise – strangers around the globe become emotionally linked – was an intriguing one. Its characters are diverse and it explores identity, gender, sexuality and race. This is inclusive science fiction for a modern world; sci-fi with a heart. Well, it does the international sign for heart, anyway.
The trouble is, its fans might be passionate but there simply weren’t enough of them for Netflix to let Sense8 continue. So the plug was pulled … then put back in again, after the grief and outrage. There would be one more feature-length finale, to tie ends up, provide closure. Hey, Netflix has a heart, too.
Confession time: I wasn’t up to speed with Sense8. I’d only seen two episodes before – I didn’t want to watch more, probably for the same reasons that not enough other people wanted to watch. And those reasons are on show, big time, in the finale.
Visually it’s stunning. Most of the action – and there is plenty of it – takes place in Paris and Naples. There are great fight scenes and I loved one moment featuring the downing of a helicopter. It must have cost a bob or two. But it feels as if it’s the cinematography and issues that are leading it, more than anything else. The characters seem to be representations of things, rather than real human beings I care about. It’s ironic, when something is supposed to be about community and connection, that you’re left feeling so unconnected.
It’s also preposterous, self-indulgent, and very, very long. Two and a half hours! There are advantages to not being constrained by length but there aren’t any on show here – it’s baggier than a bag of bags. What Sense8 has in looks, in inclusiveness and budget, it lacks in pace, tight old-fashioned storytelling and character development.
At the end, transgender activist Nomi and her partner Amanita’s super-schmaltzy wedding, halfway up the Eiffel Tower, with fireworks, is practically shown in real time. Yeah, we got it: in spite of all our differences, love unites.
I hope they’re very happy: Nomi, Amanita and the audience. That’s what this is really about – a very expensive, very long tying of knots and placating of cross fans.
Hang on, that’s not quite it. Here’s an extra happy ending: sex for everyone. Yay! All varieties of course, everyone’s invited. Ooh, a threesome even! Happy days.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Sense8: the series finale review – sci-fi love-in is strictly for the fans | Television & radio