In a surprising reversal of its previous decision, Netflix plans to bring back Sense8 for one more two-hour special to wrap up loose ends. The Sense8 fandom is, of course, thrilled.
Nearly a month after Netflix announced it canceled Sense8 after just two seasons — a decision that hit especially hard at the start of Pride Month — the network has apparently had a change of heart. Series co-creator Lana Wachowski posted a letter to social media this week declaring that Netflix has listened to the Sense8 fandom. The series will return for one more two-hour special, slated to air next year.
It’s certainly a better way to end Pride Month than the way it kicked off.
The news comes as a huge surprise. Following the initial outcry from the Sense8 fandom after the cancellation, Netflix released a statement that it just couldn’t make the series work. However, as Wachowski pointed out in her letter, “while it is often true that those decisions are irreversible, it is not always true.”
Wachowski’s mention of numbers suggests that the show’s massive budget wasn’t justified by its viewership. However, as the Timeless fandom proved just last month, it’s possible to reverse a network’s cancellation decision. Now, the Sense8 fandom is getting just a little taste of that victory and joy.
It’s not just about viewership.
Netflix does not release its viewership numbers, which makes it difficult to gauge how truly popular their original content is. Traditional TV ratings cannot be taken into consideration when Netflix makes announcements about the fate of its series. The data is not available to the public.
Regardless, fandom is making a difference, one series at a time. In a landscape where viewership numbers are skewed by streaming services, DVR recordings, and illegal downloads, the power of fandom is becoming more pronounced.
The Netflix and NBC reversals suggest that fandom has power beyond the Internet. Fandom outcry clearly has the power to change networks’ minds. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility, but fandom fighting for better representation can only be a good thing.
For example: following the death of Lexa on The 100, fandom banded together to create LGBT Fans Deserve Better. This movement is aimed at educating people about the importance of positive LGBT representation in the media, and it’s gaining steam all the time. The outcry following Lexa’s death was massive; it made waves across every fandom.
Following in that wake, canceling shows like Sense8 just doesn’t make sense. Sense8 has its issues, but it’s one of the most representative series out there. It’s important. It deserves a longer run.
Fandom is a massive and powerful force. Netflix has only offered the Sense8 fandom a two-hour finale special to wrap things up. However, the decision is still significant. It sends a message: keep fighting, tooth and nail, even when it seems like all hope is lost.