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Widely reported to be Netflix’s most expensively produced show to date, Sense8 is an exciting, globetrotting adventure of epic proportions. Gorgeously shot and boasting some truly beautiful locations the characters inhabit around the world, Sense8 backs up its impressive cinematography with 8 cerebrally charged narratives intertwined together to form one interesting story.
It all begins with a mysterious woman’s death in the ruins of a church. 8 people around the world inexplicably witness the same incident via a strange vision and what follows, thanks to some guidance from the mysterious Jonas, is a dangerous, thrilling adventure that sees the 8 characters share each other’s lives. As the series progresses it becomes increasingly apparent these people have more in common than they all originally thought, utilizing one another’s abilities during tense, action packed moments. All of this builds towards an adrenaline-soaked finale that sees one of the Sense8 held captive and facing imminent death unless the other 7 can work together and save her.
The various characters are all interesting and diverse too, contrasting nicely with each other’s lives and emotional highs and lows. Icelandic female DJ Riley (Tuppence Middleton) winds up caught in the ugly crime underbelly of London, Korean woman Sun’s (Doona Bae) family woes come to a head as she has to make a decision regarding her Father’s business and vengeance seeking Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) has his own issues with a local gang. Nomi (Jamie Clayton) and Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) both have their own interesting juxtapositions toward their sexual orientation in their respective storylines; one embraces their homosexuality, the other hides it from the public limelight.
Speaking of hiding, Indian Kala (Tina Desai) has conflicted feelings toward her husband-to-be, exacerbated by seeing Wolfgang while African Capheus (Aml Ameen) has his own crusade too – a blood-soaked mission that sees him doing everything he can to obtain crucial medicine for his Mother, inadvertently becoming mixed up with some very dangerous people. The final Sense8 and arguably the most prominent figure in the series is straight-and-narrow cop Will (Brian J. Smith) who does his best to help the others in their times of need.
For most of the series, Sense8 focuses much more heavily on the personal drama of each character rather than moving the overarching plot line forward. It works reasonably well too; each of the characters are given enough screen time to flesh out their interesting stories with each experiencing a fair share of dramatic tension and well written dialogue. Inevitably there are some story lines that don’t quite feel as exciting or indulging as others but given how diverse the characters and stories in Sense8 are, this will probably differ from person to person.
From the cold streets of London to the sun-kissed bustling streets of Mumbai, Sense8 makes the most of its breathtaking locations around the globe and it’s easy to see why this show has been such an expensive endeavour. The money certainly isn’t wasted though and some of the interesting switches between various cities during the same conversation are realistically depicted and testament to the care put into making this the excellent series that it is.
That’s not to say Sense8 is perfect, quite the opposite. Some of the acting is a little hit or miss at times, especially from Nomy’s girlfriend Amanita (Freema Agyeman), and there are lulls in the story that feel dragged out far longer than they should. Through the 12 episodes some of the story lines lose the same energy they begun with and a couple just fizzle out altogether with barely any closure. Understandably, some of this is in preparation for the inevitable second season but it’s still a little deflating to spend so much time with these characters and not be given a definitive, satisfying close to their story arcs.
Having said all of that, there really isn’t anything out there quite like Sense8. The beautifully shot locations and cerebrally charged storyline make this a unique proposition with its ambitious concept paying off for the most part; we really feel like these characters are connected and that never changes. A few questionable performances and a couple of uninteresting plot developments do take away a little from the overall appeal of this sci-fi thriller but regardless of any inconsistencies, Sense8 is a well written, absorbing show proving to be money well spent.
Verdict - 8.5/10