Exploring the lasting legacy of Netflix’s Sense8

With the recent announcement of a fourth Matrix movie with one of the Wachowski sisters at its helm, we’re taking a look back at their last project: the groundbreaking and diverse Sense8.

Last month, it was reported that Lana Wachowski would be returning to The Matrix franchise, along with stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, with an additional upcoming installment.

The Wachowskis, pre-transition, revolutionized the way science-fiction movies were made with The Matrix trilogy, yet they struggled to replicate that commercial success in subsequent projects — that is, until Sense8 came along, allowing them to create a defiant, weird, and amazing world where eight strangers across the globe suddenly find themselves mentally connected.

Sense8 was one of the first Netflix original series, with the first season premiering in June of 2015. The show was a heady mix of action, sci-fi, love story, and cultural phenomenon that viewers had never seen before. Starring Darryl Hannah, Naveen Andrews, Freema Agyeman, and a handful of relatively unknown actors, it became a sleeper hit.

However, its popularity quickly rose, especially in international markets, due to its wealth of racial and cultural diversity. The story followed a group of young adults who became mentally connected to each other, thus allowing each person access to the others’ experiences and knowledge. Along with dealing with their everyday lives, there’s also a shady organization (isn’t there always?) that wants to hunt them down and either kill them or turn them into killing machines.

Sense8 resonated with a lot of people who felt out of place in the world, whether it was because of the color of their skin, their religion, or even their gender identity. The series gave those people a home, with a cast so diverse there was at least one character for every type of person you could imagine.

In addition to it’s diversity, another one of its themes was inclusivity and connectedness —  that no matter how different we might all be on the outside, we are far more similar than we think on the inside. The series also featured multiple strong female characters.

Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who, New Amsterdam), who played the role of Amanita Caplan on Sense8, which ran for two seasons, appeared at Dragon Con in Atlanta over the weekend in a one-woman panel about the series. Despite citing that the show lacked enough viewers to justify it’s production costs (it was filmed on location all over the world) as the reason for canceling the celebrated series, the ballroom at the Hilton was packed full of fans.

Agyeman spoke so richly and eloquently about the experience of filming such a show and seeing the impact it had on people. She said that the series gave her hope at a time in her life when she was ready to give up on working in the television and film industry; the pilot script for Sense8 changed her mind. She stated that she was “really excited and really scared” to audition for the role of Amanita, but won the role thanks to her talent and her obvious chemistry with Jamie Clayton, who played Amanita’s love interest, Nomi. “I love her,” Agyeman said about her onscreen girlfriend turned wife.

Agyeman talked about what she hoped the legacy of the show would be: to be open to new people and experiences and to never stop being what makes you different from everybody else. The show united a group of actors who became a family on- and off-screen, and she was extremely touched to see that the show had done the same for the viewers.

The viewers and fans of the show had become an extended family, all across the world, just like the characters of Sense8. In a time when the world is reminding us that what makes us different should divide us, Sense8 is a show that flies in the face of logic and proclaims that what makes us different also makes us stronger. It reminds us that love is capable of conquering all. Although the series was cancelled in June of 2018, we are still talking about its impact to this day.

Have you watched Netflix’s Sense8? Do you feel it should have had more seasons to work with? Share your thoughts in the comments below.