Netflix has officially responded to Sense8 fans over the weekend stating they’ve thought long and hard but can’t make a return of Sense8 happen. If it’s about the cost, though, then this decision doesn’t make sense.
Fans have been clamoring for the renewal of Sense8 ever since Netflix announced the cancellation of the series on June 1, which also just happened to be the first day of Pride month.
And the voices of these fans have been unreal. There’s petition after petition (the largest of which is just shy of half a million signatures) and even a damn professional looking website at http://renewsense8.com encouraging fans to contact Netflix by any means necessary.
But all of these attempts have apparently fallen on deaf ears. According to Netflix, they’ve “thought long and hard to try to make it work,” and ultimately they couldn’t.
I call bullshit. If the show’s third season was going to be as expensive to film, then we’d understand, but with the way the series ended it honestly doesn’t make any sense.
Warning: Spoilers for season 2 of Sense8
In the previous two seasons, Sense8 was no doubt one of the most expensive shows to film because of its unique location requirements.
In season 1, the show traveled to nine cities around the world, and in season 2 they traveled to 16. I’m no mathematician, but logistically speaking, the cost of production must’ve gone way up when you add that many cities to the roster — there are reports of Sense8 costing upwards of $9 million per episode.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos spoke about the network’s decision at the PGA’s Produced By conference on Saturday, saying “relative to what you spent, are people watching it? That is pretty traditional.”
Sarandos continues, “When I say that, a big expensive show for a huge audience is great. A big, expensive show for a tiny audience is hard even in our model to make that work very long.”
Had the series stayed on the path that it’s on and the characters remained in their hometowns, then it would make sense for the show to not get a third, especially considering Sense8 never had the same viral success as its predecessors House of Cards or Orange Is the New Black.
But that’s the thing! If Netflix just watched the end of the series, they’d notice that the characters have all been moved to one central location: London.
Therefore, Netflix doesn’t have to spend a whole season traveling the world. They can film a two hour special to finish off the series and it’d be considerably cheaper than both of the previous seasons.
To “think long and hard” of ways to make it work and not come up with a cost-effective way to finish the series simply doesn’t make sense when you factor in the smaller production costs come from not having to travel to 16 cities again.
While it wouldn’t be the same as seeing each character in their home country, the series has already gotten to a point where the characters need to band together in one place anyway if they want to stop the villain of the series. It’s a sacrifice I know I’m willing to accept in order to get a fulfilling ending.
Here’s another thing that doesn’t make sense: In March of this year Deadline reported that Netflix reached out to the cast for season 3, and that these potential renewals were on hold for June when Netflix would hopefully announce a third season.
Well, we know how that turned out.
If Deadline’s sources were right, then the real questions become: If Netflix was ready for a third season back in March and was approaching actors about their availability, what changed? If the costs were actually the reason, then you’d figure the network would’ve known about this way before March and wouldn’t have even approached the actors to begin with.
And if the third season wasn’t as expensive to film, then what is it about Sense8 that makes it so impossible to make happen? Netflix’s refusal to answer specifically what is making this so hard is really what makes this all so frustrating.
I know, it’s not rare for a network to cancel a show without any real explanation. But it’s frustrating because Sense8 isn’t just another Netflix show, it was a groundbreaking piece of television breaking down barriers and bringing people together regardless of sexual orientation, faith, race and so many more factors.
Read our thank you to Sense8 to truly get an understanding of just how important this was to so many people.
Sarandos did leave us with an interesting quote from Saturday, trying to explain the decision again. He said, “It’s one of those things that you know you’re pushing the envelope if every once in a while you fall. And you go back and start over again. If you have hit after hit after hit, you question yourself — are you trying hard enough? Are you too conventional?”
That makes no sense — if you’re having hit after hit then it means you have something truly special on your hands, you have a formula that is working so well that you should be fighting to keep it.
If Netflix is going to go with money as the reason for Sense8‘s cancellation, then they really don’t have an excuse to film a final two hour special in one city, which would be a quarter of the costs of a full season in 16 cities.
Finally, if they don’t want to bother with a movie regardless of the cheaper costs, then I believe they should give the rights back to the Wachowski sisters and J. Michael Straczynski so they can take it elsewhere, because I know it has a fanbase. Let’s not make this Firefly 2.0, shall we?