Sense8, TV review: Does it have a plot? I don’t know and frankly I can’t care

Our eight ‘sensates’ are so hilariously clichéd that it feels less like a TV programme and more like the character selection screen of Street Fighter 2

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The Independent Culture

The kindest thing you can say about Sense8, produced by a dream team of Netflix and The Wachowskis (creators of The Matrix, a modern classic, and The Matrix Revolutions, one of the worst films in living history) is that it does some very clever things with metaphysics and time. All 66 minutes of the opening episode feel like a small eternity and you’ll often find your mind transported elsewhere. This is the worst kind of twaddle.

The premise, eight random people around the world find themselves telepathically connected following the suicide of the mermaid from Splash, is intriguing enough but the execution is woeful, the characterisation borderline insulting and the script, oh my the script, should be sealed in an iron box and sank to the bottom of the deepest ocean. I’d suggest firing it into space but I’d be concerned that an alien race may stumble across it and then decide to destroy Earth in order to put us out of our misery.

Bafflingly, despite the action taking place all around the world, every single character speaks in English at all times (though, of course, using the accent of whichever country they’re in). And what English too! London ravers spout things like ‘That DJ can spin. Period’ and Korean businessmen come out with ‘You sly old dog you!’ What’s nice is as we have characters from Nairobi to Mexico City, via Chicago, London and Mumbai, everyone in the world can feel slightly aggrieved at the same time by the relentless stereotyping and superficial dialogue. Now that is what I call limbic resonance.


Our eight ‘sensates’ are so hilariously clichéd (the Mexican guy is a hammy actor, the Indian woman is having a wedding – of course! – and the gay intellectual lives in, you’ll never guess, San Francisco) that it feels less like a TV programme and more like the character selection screen of Street Fighter 2. The recognisable worldwide locations, the distinctive costuming, the bright colours - the only real mystery to Sense8 is who’s going to have to fight M. Bison at the end.

In among the towering inferno of exposition and Character Information (sample dialogue: ‘You know my work is important to me, father.’ ‘But it’s your wedding soon!’) we were tossed a greasy rag of philosopho-neuro-pseudoscience to wipe our hands on. ‘Limbic resonance. It’s a language older than our species.’ Ah, ok then. ‘Scientists talk about it being part of an eco-biological synaptic network.’ Do they? Righto. Pity poor Joseph Mawle, who was given the lion’s share of heavy lifting in the psychobabble department.

As for the plot, I don’t know and frankly I can’t care. It’s as if someone has filmed the longest, most tedious United Colors of Benetton advert possible and overlaid it with quotes from Yoko Ono’s Twitter feed. Except it’s not as good as that sounds. Sense8? Senseless.