Netflix has been producing quality original programming for a number of years now, with programs like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and (most recently) Daredevil being its most prized ponies. What was once just a streaming service has become a competitor with networks like HBO and Showtime – one that doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon, either.
One of their most ambitious upcoming Netflix series will be from The Wachowskis, titled Sense8. The series is set to premiere around the beginning of June 2015; and if fans of the filmmaking duo thought they’d gone as high-concept as possible in their past works (including, most recently, Jupiter Ascending), wait till you hear about Sense8.
Buzzfeed debuted the first trailer for the series online earlier today, and as one might expect – it’s a bit of a mind bender. The series follows eight different people, in eight different countries, from all different walks of life as they all slowly realize they are connected in some way. It begins through sensory input: one character might be eating Chinese food, then another character can taste it in their mouth; or one is listening to a music at a club as the other begins to hear the music in a quiet room by themselves.
The eight different characters in this instance are; Will (Brian J. Smith), Riley (Tuppence Middleton), Capheus (Aml Ameen), Sun (Bae Doona), Lito (Miguel Angel Silvestre), Kala (Tina Desai), Wolfgang (Max Riemelt), and Nomi (Jamie Clayton) – people living in such different places as San Francisco, Chicago, Mexico City, London, Berlin, Iceland, Mumbai, Nairobi, and Seoul. The characters become connected at the beginning of the series when the death of a sensate – a member of a group of eight people connected through their personalities, rather than beliefs – births the creation of a new group. After the first few minutes of the pilot, the series is shot from only the POV of each of the eight characters.
Joe Straczynski (who co-created the series with the Wachowskis) described the realization process as the following:
“It starts off with sensory input then gradually, it becomes more and more literal where you’re in a room by yourself, but there’s somebody else there and you’re in San Francisco, but that character is in Seoul. You see each other in the same room no one else can see, but you can see them and you have a conversation and that person knows parts of you and knows things about you. Initially they don’t know what the hell is going on, so as they begin to figure it out, we begin to figure it out… the first episode is a little bit confusing.”
The series also features TV veteran Naveen Andrews (Lost) as a character named Jonas, who helps to guide the eight characters through their experiences – helping to bring them together. Straczynski said that the Wachowskis and himself were inspired by how factioned the world has become in all different aspects of our lives, liking the idea of linking eight completely different people together to help show, “we are better together than we are apart.”
There’s no question that Sense8 will end up being Netflix’s most ambitious series to date, as that fact becomes fairly evident from the trailer alone. The most difficult hurdle for the series to tackle (other than explaining its premise in a way any consumer can understand) is being able to develop and give enough time to each of the eight characters. Whether or not it will be able to, will have to be seen, but its not unheard of – just look at Game of Thrones.
Netflix’s budget and past level of original programming quality should help to give Sense8 the kind of global feel that Straczynski speaks of. The Wachowskis have been on a bit of downslope in the quality of their films lately, but this new series might just be the project long-time Wachowski fans have been waiting for. It’s now up to the series itself to be as intriguing as its concept.
Sense8 is set to premiere on Netflix on June 5th, 2015.