Netflix says “Happy Pride” by prematurely canceling Sense8


Netflix confirmed on June 1 that it has canceled its original series Sense8 after just two seasons. The news falling on the first day of Pride Month feels like a slap in the face to LGBT audiences. Trans women created the show, which starred a trans woman and featured multiple LGBT characters.

Netflix is getting social media heat after canceling two original series featuring racially diverse casts and prominent LGBT characters. The network confirmed it had canceled the Baz Luhrman-helmed hip-hop drama The Get Down at the end of May. On June 1, it also confirmed it had canceled sci-fi series Sense8.

Fans are calling Netflix out for eliminating some of its most diverse programming while renewing shows like 13 Reasons Why, which had an open-and-shut, one-season story arc.

The cancellation of Sense8 is an especially poor way to kick off Pride Month. From creators to characters, the show brought positive visibility to trans people and LGBT people of color. It explored multiple stories of LGBT characters and didn’t shy away from difficult subjects, but also celebrated love, sex, and acceptance.

Created by the Wachowski sisters (The Matrix) and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), Sense8 was television at its most artistic. It was also television at its best, with a diverse cast and a compelling storyline that gave each cast member a chance to shine.

Sense8 intertwined the lives of characters whose gender identities, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, religions, careers, and locations were radically different. It connected them psychically, forcing them to work together and utilize each other’s skills and experiences to survive. The concept was original and interesting. The execution was beautiful.

Canceling Sense8 hurts everyone, but especially the LGBT community.

To see Sense8 go out after just two seasons feels like betrayal. In the current political climate, escapism is a tool used by many who are increasingly targeted by hateful words, actions, and policies. Series like Sense8, which features characters who are not caricatures, are more important than ever.

This show preached tolerance without seeming preachy. It presented characters who were gay, straight, cis, trans, white, Indian, African, Mexican, Korean, and gave each of them enough life to draw in audience members from every demographic. It was compelling, thought-provoking, and accessible.

Sense8 deserves to be saved.

Netflix has become the service that people look to when their favorite shows are canceled. We pray for reunions, renewals, and specials to come to the streaming service after networks have canned our favorite shows. So what do we do when Netflix decides not to move forward with a beloved Netflix Original Series? Where do we turn?

A Change.Org petition to renew the series gained nearly 1,500 signatures in less than eight hours, spurred by fans’ desire to see the season two cliffhanger properly resolved. On social media, some are hoping for just one more chance to see the sensates off.

Others are simply in mourning.

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If enough people make enough noise, perhaps Netflix will follow in NBC’s shoes and bring back this canceled series. Sense8 was just getting started. We need it — and programs like it — to stick around.