Yesterday, Netflix announced that Sense8, the ambitious show created by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczinsky about eight people from around the world who are mentally linked to each other, will not come back for a third season. It’s a decision that hit me totally out of the blue. As anxious as I was after Season 1 about a renewal, given its ever-growing popularity, it’s globe-spanning fanbase and the more positive reviews from critics that Season 2 received, I was certain that the show would return for at least one more season. So sure was I, in fact, about Sense8’s return, that when the first articles made the rounds two days ago stating that the show was in trouble (started by a tweet from one of the show’s stars, Brian J. Smith), I dismissed them as alarmist clickbait. Yesterday, I was proven wrong in spectacular fashion. But it’s not just the shock of a (dis)believer whose convictions get turned upside down. Sense8’s cancellation really hit me hard. Harder than any cancellation and squashed film project that I can remember.
“Grow up, it’s just a TV show.” That’s what people usually say when news like that hits and the outcry starts. However, when it comes to Sense8, I honestly believe that this is not entirely true. Sense8 hit a nerve with a lot of people around the world. Not just with its exemplary representation of the LGBT-community, but also as a shining beacon of positivism in a TV landscape that is dominated by dark and depressing shows, one of them bleaker than the other. Even more important though is that it provided a glimmer of hope in a world that seems to get shittier with every single day. A world that grows more and more divided, where alliances seem to fall apart, where it’s growingly commonplace to think first and foremost about yourself our your country instead of others and/or the greater whole. Where, as sad and depressing as it is, more often than not, hate seems to trump love. Which is exactly what, in my very humble opinion, made Sense8 the most important show on TV right now. It made us come together. it showed us that we’re not alone. That kindness and compassion can make a difference. That we’re stronger together than we are apart. That our diversity is a strength, not a weakness. That love, no matter its form, is the most beautiful thing in the world. Most of all, though, it gave us hope. For a better tomorrow. For a kinder future. For a world where no one is judged, pursued or even killed for what he/she is and/or whom he/she loves. Which is why “Sense8” was so special, and also so important to many of us – and also why its cancellation is such a hard blow for so many people from around the world.
However, for me, it ultimately is less about the fact that it ends – because, face it, nothing lasts forever, and sooner or later, saying goodbye to this show and its characters would have been inevitable – but how it ends. Because I get it. Sense8 is a highly expensive show, and even though it has a globe-spanning and highly devoted fanbase, it never came to be a cultural phenomenon like, say, Stranger Things. Still, letting it end this way is just a tragedy. Season 1, even though it left the door wide open to continue its story, still offered a satisfying conclusion to the overall arc of the Season. In contrast, Season 2 ended with a cliffhanger, and left the show and its characters in a rather dark place. Letting “Sense8” end with this bitter note completely undermines the uplifting message of hope that the show set out to spread. Which is exactly why this decision leaves such a sour taste in my mouth. A show that was all about kindness and love and optimism ends on a note of bitterness and war and hopelessness; thus, in a way, destroying everything that it set out to do in the first place. Yes, the idea that we have to say goodbye to these characters that we came to love over the last two couple of years would have hurt anyway, no matter if it comes today, or in two, or in ten years. But what I’m truly heartbroken about is the fact that Sense8 is to end in this frustrating kind of way, thus at least partially extinguishing the joy that it brought to so many of us.
Which brings us back to my earlier statement: I can’t remember ever being similarly heartbroken about the cancellation of a TV show. Thus, I share the pain and despair of all the Sensates around the world who mourn the loss of this unique and important show. However, if you decide to take a stand and to get up and fight, I urge you to do so in a civilised and respectful manner. Make a lot of noise on social media. Write them. Call them. Let them know how you feel, and how important this show is to you, and why. Sign and share this petition. Cancel your Netflix accounts if you have to. But please, never forget that Sense8 was a show about empathy and respect and acceptance and compassion and – most of all – kindness. Don’t kill its lessons in your efforts to try and save it. Sense8 means a lot to a lot of people around the world. It’s what brought us together. It brought a lot of joy to us. Don’t let this cancellation ruin that. Right now, I still hold out a slight glimmer of hope that Netflix might reconsider and give us at least one more season, to give the Wachowskis and JMS the chance to wrap up the story in a satisfying way. But even if we don’t, and these 23 episodes are all that we’re ever going to get… no, especially if those are all that we get, it’s important that its lessons and values live on in us. Sense8 might be over. But we are its legacy. Let’s make sure that it’s one that its creators can be proud of.