Sense8 is the brainchild (so much pun intended) of the Wachowskis, probably best known for creating The Matrix series. And like The Matrix, Sense8 is a wild ride and a visual treat. The gist of the show is that eight strangers, all from various backgrounds and countries, are gifted with a powerful mental connection that enables them to experience whatever the others are experiencing. They can communicate with one another, see through each other’s eyes, and even temporarily inhabit each other’s bodies. It sounds impossible to show all of that on screen, but the Wachowskis make it work.
And despite its complex plot, the series has a very passionate fanbase, one that managed to temporarily bring the canceled show back from the dead. Still, despite the triumph of getting Netflix to agree to put out a two-hour special after they’d already canceled the show, there is no sign of a season 3. While there is no replacing such a beloved and unique show, there are plenty of shows out there that the Sense8 fan may enjoy. So without further ado, here are 10 Shows To Watch If You Like Sense8.
10. Altered Carbon
Altered Carbon checks the boxes for both visual and story complexity. The story is set in a future where humans have the technology to download their minds into other bodies, so as you can imagine, things get pretty wild. The show does lack the found family trope that is the bedrock of Sense8, but Altered Carbon still has plenty to offer. After all, the main character wakes up in a body that isn’t his own to solve a murder after being put on ice for 250 years, so you know there has to be a good story there.
9. Stranger Things
What to say about Stranger Things that hasn’t already been said? It’s among one of the best Netflix original shows, and if you haven’t watched it yet, well, do yourself a favor and watch it. It not only has a fantastically spooky plot, it also boasts a gnarly '80s soundtrack and a fantastic cast of child actors. These kids are an absolute joy to watch and the friendship among them will definitely give you those Sense8 cluster vibes.
8. Marvel’s Runaways
Runaways is another show that boasts that lovable found family trope. Based on the Marvel comic series created by Brian K. Vaughn and Adrian Alphona, this series centers on a group of kids who find out their parents are secretly criminals. (And you thought your parents were the worst.) Using their own personal gifts, the teens band together to stop their parents.
The show may not feel as worldwide as Sense8, but the bond the protagonists create with each other and the struggles with their identities and with each other will be familiar to fans. Even if you’re not into superhero shows, if you like stories about friendships and people finding themselves, this is worth the watch.
7. The Defenders
Unlike the above entry, The Defenders definitely fits squarely into that superhero show category. But unlike the other Netflix Marvel shows, The Defenders takes the unlikely and somewhat reluctant vigilantes and tosses them together. While perhaps not the best series in Marvel Netflix’s repertoire, the uniting of the various characters makes the show a unique entry. And watching the ragtag group push and pull against each other is a pleasure to watch (especially the scenes between Matt Murdock and Jessica Jones).
Unlikely friendships is the name of the game in the Australian show Wanted. A very unfortunate turn of events brings two women together as they become involved in a massive criminal conspiracy. The show has a nice thriller element to it as the two women, Lola and Chelsea, attempt to navigate the impossible situation they find themselves in. The charm of the show, however, lies in the friendship that develops between the two women. While the connection is only between two people, Sense8 fans are still bound to appreciate it.
This is yet another Marvel entry, but Legion very much exists in its own separate world. The character Legion, also known as David Haller, is the schizophrenic mutant son of Charles Xavier. He is immensely powerful, but incredibly unreliable due to his mental state. The creators of the show do an amazing job showcasing this with everything we, the audience, see. David experiences hallucinations and perceives the world as a mix of '60s and modern-day designs and elements. We can’t trust his view of the world, but that psychedelic feel is probably somewhat that Sense8 fans will enjoy about it.
4. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
The show is quirky, to say the least. The titular character, Dirk Gently, calls himself a holistic detective and solves crimes by simply going wherever fate takes him. This leads him and his reluctant assistant, played by Elijah Wood, into plenty of odd situations. For instance, in season 2, a search for a missing boy leads them into a fantasy land where people fight with giant scissors. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is weird, but like Sense8, it’s a good weird.
3. The OA
Like Sense8, The OA is a show that’s difficult to explain. In fact, it might be even more difficult to explain that Sense8. It’s a show that leaves us with so many questions, like the big one: did everything the OA claims happened to her even happen? The creators of the show seemed to have purposely made The OA into something to be analyzed and picked apart. Even after you stare it incredibly hard, there are no definitive answers to be found. Luckily, there will be a season 2, although when Netflix will release it remains a mystery.
Travelers centers around a group of operatives from a post-apocalyptic future. It’s a classic “change the past to save the future” storyline with a bit of twist. Instead of having their entire selves sent back, these “travelers” inhabit the bodies of people in the 21st century and completely assume their identities. They have to maintain their host body’s lives while carrying out missions to help guide the course of the future so it doesn’t end in complete human annihilation. No pressure or anything.
Glitch is an Australian show in which a small town police officer comes across seven people who have apparently risen from the dead with no memories of who they are. Like Sense8, there is that sense of mystery as to why this all happened. It becomes clear that the risen are all connected in some way though, and finding out how as they each unravel the mysteries of who they are is exciting. For the Sense8 fan who is looking for a show that pairs mystery with complex human relationships, Glitch is a good choice to make.