Watching television has never felt like a chore… until now.
I so wanted to love Sense8. It’s got a high-concept (people around the world become connected for unknown reasons), ambitious producers (the Wachowski brothers are responsible for the Matrix trilogy), and a network (Netflix) dedicated to creating binge-worthy television (House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Daredevil). So imagine my surprise when Sense8 turned out to be an utter flop.
The main problem with Sense8 is that it’s so darn slow. That would be fine if the material was gripping and engrossing (a la True Detective), but this is an empty, hollow show that fails to live up to the artsy, pretentious expectations it sets for itself. The action is sparse, and while several set-pieces are undoubtedly thrilling, they are few and far in between. In addition, the show fails to make singular episodes satisfying. Individual episodes simply fail to give any sense of short-term resolution, and the whole thing just drags on and on.
It doesn’t help that the cast is a weak one. Sense8 is supposed to be about characters, but out of eight central performers, no one stands out as outstanding and no one really rises above the material. I watched all 12 episodes and I have zero emotional investment in what happens next. Bringing the eight sensates together in the finale was somewhat satisfying, but I fail to see how the show can overcome its flaws and become riveting television. The mythology with some shadow-y organization hunting down our protagonists is uninteresting and cliched; Sense8 is simply unable to inject or sustain any momentum until its anticlimactic finish.
Bright side? It’s an ambitious production – the first of its kind to film in eight different countries across the globe. That makes for some stunning visuals, but it also feels like a case of style over substance. Moreover, the show tries to be controversial and it succeeds (jury’s out on whether that’s a good thing). There’s a captivating orgy sequence that sadly has no thematic payoff, full frontal male nudity that adds nothing to the story, and a painfully drawn out birthing sequence filled with gratuitous (and disgusting) shots of all eight sensates being born.
Also, couldn’t they give the female Korean character another name besides Sun? Talk about a Lost-ripoff.
With lazy execution and a slow pace, Sense8 is a half-baked show that manages the impossible: it makes binge-watching boring. And that, is the gravest sin of all.