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TV Series Review

It can be hard enough to figure out your own brain without a lot of other folks trying to shove their way into it.

It’s a recurring problem in Netflix's Sense8. Each of the eight main characters is the same age and was born on the very same day (Aug. 8). Each comes from a different part of the world and holds, at least ostensibly, a different worldview. All of them were, in a sense, reborn at the beginning of this series when they psychically experienced the suicide of their mind-mother "Angel" Turing, who kinda-sorta gives birth to their abilities to hop into one another's minds.

If all that doesn't make a lot of (ahem) sense to you, don't worry. It doesn't to them, either.

Initially, they have no clue they've been "reborn" as sensates. They're in the dark about the other folks who are like them. All they know is that they start seeing people who aren't there, feeling things they shouldn't be feeling and, occasionally, are pursued by evildoers who want to either kill or lobotomize them.

Psychosis? No. Just another entertainment offering from the Wachowski siblings.

On one level, Sense8 (its first 12-week season released en masse, as Netflix is wont to do) is a sci-fi thriller with a compelling premise—not so unlike The Matrix or Harry Potter or any number of franchises that give ordinary blokes extraordinary powers and then manufacture a dark, nefarious entity with which to do battle. And while the Wachowskis have had difficulty in recapturing the magic they found in their freshman movie hit The Matrix, neither sibling shies away from mulling big, provocative themes, like religion, politics and identity.

But there's a fine line between mulling and preaching, and at times the show gallops headlong past it.

Though Gallop reports that 3.8% of the population would classify itself as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, a full 25% of this class of sensates come from that self-identity pool: Lito, a closeted gay actor from Mexico; and Nomi, a transgender "hacktivist" living in San Francisco. While co-creator Lana Wachowski has become highly visible in the transgender movement, she says she was not behind the creation of Nomi (played by transgender actor Jamie Clayton). But the character does make for a convenient avenue through which the Wachowskis might express their own feelings on sexual identity. So it's suggestive that Nomi was raised by conservative Christian parents who continue to call Nomi by the birth name Michael, refuse to let Nomi's girlfriend visit in the hospital and, unwittingly, are working in league with the same shadowy forces who would like to see their child disappear altogether.

(Lana Wachowski's upbringing as a boy named Larry involved going to a Catholic school and the contemplation of suicide.)

It's against that background that Nomi unleashes a virulent scree about Thomas Aquinas—Mom's favorite saint—on the eve of a Pride parade. Nomi says that pride was the worst of sins in Aquinas' eyes. But hate and shame—two grave sins in Nomi's view—weren't on his list at all. "So go f--- yourself, Aquinas," Nomi concludes. Nomi's girlfriend roars in approval.

Which is exactly the kind of language one comes to expect from Sense8. Raw sex scenes (be they straight, gay or transgendered) come complete with graphic nudity and grunting gyrations. Bloody violence can be an issue, too. With their show given a TV-MA rating by Netflix, the Wachowskis are given no reason to hold back gratuitous content. And they don't.

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Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Sense8: 6-5-2015

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Aml Ameen as Capheus; Bae Doona as Sun Bak; Jamie Clayton as Nomi Marks; Tina Desai as Kala Dandekar; Tuppence Middleton as Riley Blue; Max Riemelt as Wolfgang Bogdanow; Miguel Ángel Silvestre as Lito; Brian J. Smith as Will Gorski

Director

Distributor

Network

Netflix

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Released

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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