I started Sense8 because I had heard a lot of praise for the show. I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive. It sounded too good to be true. Luckily for me, I was wrong and have really enjoyed it. The diversity of the cast of characters is something that really sold me on the show.
Sense8 centers around eight different people. Capheus, is a matatu driver in Nairobi who is trying to save money for his mother’s medication. Bak Sun, is the daughter of a powerful Seoul businessman who works for her father’s company and is hiding more than one secret. Nomi Marks who the audience watches struggle as a transgender woman hacktivist and blogger living in San Francisco with her girlfriend Amanita. Kala Dandekar, who is a university-educated pharmacist and devout Hindu in Mumbai. Riley Blue is an Icelandic DJ living in London with a dark past. Wolfgang Bogdanow, a Berlin locksmith and safe-cracker, and Lito Rodriguez, an actor living in Mexico City. Finally, Will Gorski is a second generation Chicago police officer.
What could these people have in common? They come from different backgrounds, races, sexualities and religions. They live in different countries with different occupations. They even speak different languages. Well they are connected by one of the things which connect us all: birth.
As I said before, Sense8 does have some flaws. One of which is the concept of the Cluster. A Cluster is a group of eight people who have all been born on the same day and are destined to have a psychic ability to link to others, especially each other. There seem to be rules for the Cluster, like they can all visit and even communicate with each other without having to speak the same languages. Some of my favorite scenes are those where the Cluster interact for the first times with each other. They note upon the differences in language and how they can understand each other. Most of the time, the characters speak in English but, to the writers’ credit, they have studied the pattern of speech for each country as it would sound translated into English and write lines to match it.
One of the confusing things about the rules of the Cluster is that is that other Sense8 can visit a person of a different Cluster, but only if they have both made eye contact with each other. For example, a character named Jones, a member of another Cluster, makes contact with both Nomi and Will. He becomes a sort of guide to both Will and the rest of us. He does his best to explain what a Cluster is and how Will can best help his Cluster, since Sense8 are being hunted by a sinister man called Whispers.
Being able to see so many different parts of the world is one of my favorite things about the show. The viewers get to experience Pride in San Francisco, Fourth of July in Chicago and the Holi Color Festival in India. The cinematography is almost a character in and of itself when in these different countries. The Holi scene was brilliantly shot and gave the viewer such insight into Kala’s character, how she could be both scientist and so devoutly religious. The cinematography also is necessary when showing the Sense8 “visiting” each other. When the Sense8 are in contact with each other sometimes they take over each other’s bodies. Some Sense8 help the others fight or drive. The camera shows both sides of the scene and it is fantastic to see the characters in both places as they help each other.
The colors are amazing to watch. The costumes are wonderful. At one point, there is an Indian wedding, which is a very lavish. It was like a banquet for my eyes. The music and the clothing was so different from any wedding I, as an American, had ever seen. The contrast between the costuming of a slum in Nairobi vs the business attire for Korea is stark and really aids the viewer in seeing the difference in the lives of the people who live there.
The music of Sense8 is also extremely well done, in my opinion. There is a lot of focus on it since Riley is a DJ and we find out that her father is a musician. The tone is well set for every scene. The score does its job of conditioning us to the characters and feelings that go with them. The characters are even connected twice by music. In one of my favorite scenes, all of the Sense8 sing “What’s Going On” by 4Non Blondes. It is funny and fun to watch.
The story is well woven. It makes the viewer anxious in all the right places. I felt very strongly for all of the main characters very quickly in the show. I was also surprised to find how well written all the characters are. They are flawed and fleshed out so well. It would be easy to fall on stereotypes for so many of them, particularly Sun and Nomi but instead they are given just as much care to be as properly written as Will. The only complaint that I had for the story writing was with one minor character that just doesn’t seem to develop well. The other was the end. I felt a little let down by the very last scene, but I understand that the writers were not sure if the show would be renewed or not, so they had to end it, make it feel like an ending but to leave it open just in case.
I would highly recommend Sense8. It was easy to watch. The main cast of characters is more than likeable. The cinematography is wonderful to watch. The story flows well and gets you invested quickly.
I would rate this show a must watch!