The television medium has come a long way since the first broadcast networks went on the air. Today cable networks, premium channels, streaming websites and even streaming services like Amazon and Netflix provide no shortage of additional choices for TV creators looking at where to share their series with the world.
Acclaimed director David Fincher, in particular, helped usher in a new age of original programming for Netflix just last year, when the two worked together to create the streaming service’s first series, House of Cards. In the time since, Netflix has gone on to partner with Kyle Chandler on a thriller, Chelsea Handler on a talk show and Marvel on five — count them, five — superhero series, one of which, Daredevil, will be led by Spartacus showrunner Steven S. DeKnight.
Thanks to a business model that gives artists the creative control, talent is flocking to Netflix for the opportunity to make what they want with very little restriction. It looks like The Matrix creators the Wachowskis and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski will be the next to benefit from this unique arrangement with their first TV series Sense8, which Deadline reports will debut next year and has finished assembling a large international cast.
At the center of the 10-episode sci-fi drama will be Brian J. Smith (Stargate Universe), British actors Aml Ameen (The Maze Runner) and Tuppence Middleton (who appears in the Wachowskis’ upcoming film Jupiter Ascending), South Korean actress Doona Bae (marking her third collaboration with the Wachowskis), Indian actress Tena Desae, German actor Max Riemelt, Miguel Silvestri and Jamie Clayton.
Joining them will also be more well-known actors Naveen Andrews (Lost), Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who) and Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill), as well as Alfonso Herrera, Erendira Ibarra and Terrence Mann.
Last we heard, Sense8 would revolve around eight strangers connected by a shared and violent vision who are being drawn to two entities, one trying to bring them together and another trying to kill them. Not much has changed from that logline, but the new plot description does flesh it out a bit more:
The series follows eight characters around the world who, in the aftermath of a tragic death, find themselves linked to each other mentally and emotionally. They can not only see and talk to each other as though they were in the same place, they have access to each other’s deepest secrets. Not only must they figure out what happened and why and what it means for the future of humanity, they must do so while being hunted by an organization out to capture, kill or vivisect them.
Previous reports focused on character details for the main eight, describing some of them as a closeted Mexican telenovela hunk, an Icelandic party girl, a German safe-cracker, a Korean businesswoman, an African bus driver and a transgender American blogger. This seems to match up with the cast announcement above.
Yet it’s the description of the two entities, Jonas, an apparently magic African-American who appears to all of the “visionaries,” and his evil counterpart, Mr. Whispers, that was most intriguing. So far, there doesn’t appear to be anyone that matches the description of Jonas outside the main eight.
Just like the Wachowskis’ previous projects, Sense8 will be a massive undertaking with a production that will span nine locations on four continents: Chicago, San Francisco, London, Iceland, Seoul, Mumbai, Berlin, Mexico City and Nairobi. So unless the Wachowskis and Straczynski choose to release more information, it could be a while before we get more details about the cast and production.
Sense8 is tentatively set to debut on Netflix in 2015.