The Sense8 fandom exploded with joy after the biggest cancellation-related emotional rollercoaster ever. But while we celebrate, let’s not forget that there’s still a lot to be done.
Sense8 was officially cancelled only a month after its second season was released. This prompted one of the biggest fandom protests we’ve ever seen online, with petitions, tweetstorms and emails to Netflix, begging for closure. After Season 2 ended in such a cliffhanger, it was unbearable to think that we would never know what happened to the cluster, or have the questions this season raised answered.
Despite initial assurance that there was nothing fans could do, last week Lana Wachowski officially announced that Netflix had given a 2-hour Sense8 finale the green light. Maybe the show creators managed to renegotiate with Netflix, maybe the fandom outcry did its job, or maybe this was somehow the plan all along, but we’ll be getting a conclusion in 2018, and that’s something worth celebrating.
But let’s not let this victory blind us from what’s still at stake here. Netflix made a point of explaining that there was a reason for the cancellation: low viewership. With Sense8’s insanely high budget, the show just wasn’t sustainable without a big audience. We may just be getting the finale because so much of it can be shot in London.
Is there still a chance of a third season? It doesn’t seem like it, but the way things are going, and as Wachowski’s own letter stated: you NEVER know. Netflix may decide to bring Sense8 back someday; if not next year, then later in the future.
While it’s not worth getting our hopes too high, Sense8 is a show worth fighting for. We’ve never seen such an incredible amount of diversity on screen, or had a show that explored so much of humanity and the globe. The world cannot forget that Sense8 existed, that it had an audience, and that it mattered.
It makes sense, in a way, that people wouldn’t watch it as much as they watch Orange is the New Black, or Black Mirror: Sense8’s plot is really difficult to explain. How do you explain a show that is 30% exposition, 70% chilling with friends? How do you explain the story’s ability to make you fall in love with every single character, and to connect eight different plots that take place all around the world?
Add that to ingrained prejudice against stories featuring foreign characters in foreign places, LGBTQ+ couples, and a plot that tackles all of these issues fearlessly, and you’ve got a story that is incredibly difficult to market. For many people, diverse stories are still niche. They can’t imagine themselves identifying with a Kenyan bus driver, or a trans woman, or a gay Mexican actor.
And of course, at first glance, Sense8 can be kind of shocking. From the dildo scene in the first episode to orgy scenes in later episodes, many people might feel uncomfortable watching for the first time. But Sense8 isn’t the only show that gets so graphic, and unlike others, it treats human sexuality respectfully, intimately — not like something to be objectified and consumed. Even audiences who may not normally go for shows with explicit content can find a connection to these characters and find comfort in their stories.
So while it’s not necessarily a show you would watch with your parents, try to encourage as many people as you can to watch it. Explain to them why you love it, and sit with them through the first couple of episodes if you can. Watch it remotely with friends over Skype. Make your own Sense8-watching cluster!
It matters, because these fears and prejudices are mostly unconscious. We don’t realize that we have them until we fall in love with a new character or a new genre, and realize that we’ve never loved something like this before. Until new people watch Sense8, they’ll never give the show a chance, because they won’t know that it’s also for them.
Make fan art. Make gifsets. Write about it. Circulate everything. Make noise. Tweet at the actors who have been fiercely fighting to keep the show alive (on Twitter, most notably Brian J. Smith, Freema Agyeman, Jamie Clayton and Miguel Angel Silvestre), and email Netflix if you can. Thank everyone for what they have done, and for what they have given us. Show them how many we are, and by raising your voice, make other people curious enough to give the show a try.
And most importantly, watch the Sense8 finale when it comes out, and talk about it online. Show the world how much this show has meant to you, and how you need more of it. Make those ratings soar.
More viewers make for a bigger audience. A bigger audience means that there will be more demand for shows like Sense8 in the future. And maybe cancellations can be avoided… and more Sense8 can happen.
Everything Sense8 has taught us — everything we’ve experienced with Nomi, Riley, Will, Kala, Wolfgang, Sun, Capheus and Lito — can’t be forgotten. This show has set a precedent, and it must leave a mark.