Netflix has announced the cancellation of Sense8, an original drama developed by visionary filmmakers Lana and Lilly Wachowski. Sense8 debuted its 12-episode first season on Netflix in the spring of 2015. The series followed eight vastly different characters around the globe, whose minds are linked, as they each dealt with the problems of their everyday lives as well as the threat of an organization hunting down their kind. The first season was followed by the Sense8 Christmas special released at the end of 2016, while season 2 premiered last month.
Sense8 debuted to middling reviews of season 1 in 2015 (holding a respectable 67 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but returned with a much stronger season 2, including the two-hour holiday special; the series averages a 79 percent critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. Aside from critical reviews though, Sense8 has inspired a dedicated fan following, one that has raised the show’s audience score to 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite these numbers, Netflix has decided to cancel Sense8.
Netflix’s VP of original content Cindy Holland issued an official statement concerning the cancellation of Sense8, thanking the creative team involved:
After 23 episodes, 16 cities and 13 countries, the story of the Sense8 cluster is coming to an end. It is everything we and the fans dreamed it would be: bold, emotional, stunning, kick ass, and outright unforgettable. Never has there been a more truly global show with an equally diverse and international cast and crew, which is only mirrored by the connected community of deeply passionate fans all around the world. We thank Lana, Lilly, Joe and Grant for their vision, and the entire cast and crew for their craftsmanship and commitment.
Thank you for being a part of our journey. Sensates forever. pic.twitter.com/SClwiY3rwy— Sense8 (@sense8) June 1, 2017
The series’ ensemble main cast traveled all around the world to tell the stories of Nomi Marks (Jamie Clayton), Riley Blue (Tuppence Middleton), Will Gorski (Brian J. Smith), Wolfgang Bogdanow (Max Riemelt), Kala Dandekar (Tina Desai), Sun Bak (Doona Bae), Lito Rodriguez (Miguel Ángel Silvestre), and Capheus Onyango (Aml Ameen in season 1, Toby Onwumere in season 2). Unfortunately for fans, Sense8 season 2 left off on a bit of a cliffhanger, with all the sensates finally gathering together in London to take on the Biological Preservation Organization and the man who was hunting them, Whispers (Terrence Mann).
Of course, the cancellation of Sense8 comes as somewhat of a shock, considering it was reported earlier this year that Netflix was in talks with the cast for season 3. Plus, Netflix has been known not to cancel many series; the first such major cancellation only arrived recently when the streaming service cancelled The Get Down after one season. Like The Get Down, Sense8 undoubtedly cost Netflix a great deal of money to produce, which may have contributed to the show’s cancellation, as was the case with Baz Luhrmann’s 1970s-set series.
That said, the cancellation of Sense8 will be tough for fans since it inspired such dedicated viewers. Additionally, it’s a devastating blow for diverse programming on both network and streaming as Sense8 followed the lives of a Transgender woman (Nomi) and a gay man (Lito), as well as portrayed characters from incredibly varied cultural backgrounds. And, with Netflix traditionally being the streaming service known for saving series cancelled before their times, it’s unclear how much hope fans may have of another network or service swooping in to save Sense8.