The 7 Most Confused Reactions to The Wachowskis' 'Sense8'

Friday, 05 June 2015 - 11:00AM
Friday, 05 June 2015 - 11:00AM
The 7 Most Confused Reactions to The Wachowskis' 'Sense8'
< >
The Wachowskis' foray into television, Sense8, is finally available for binge-watching on Netflix starting today, and no one really knows what to make of it. The reviews aren't all terrible; a few more positive ones have rolled in since those scathing first offerings. But there's one thing everyone can agree on, whether they view the show as an incoherent mess, a philosophically ambitious experiment, or a frustrating but promising sci-fi mystery: Sense8 doesn't make any sense.

Some reviewers just called it like it is:

"After watching the three episodes that Netflix made available for press, I'm still not entirely sure what's going on."EW

"A dense sci-fi construct that's poorly explained through three episodes, 'Sense8' bears some resemblance to Fox's short-lived 'Touch,' infusing a sense of global interconnectedness with mystical mumbo-jumbo. But the main problem, simply, is that the show doesn't make much sense."Variety

"Together, Straczynski and the Wachowskis have teamed up to make a show about... well, I'm not entirely sure. There are eight central characters, scattered around the world - they live in Chicago, London, Nairobi, Seoul, Mexico City, Mumbai, Berlin, and San Francisco - each with their own separate narrative and problems, each essentially existing in a different storytelling genre, but all are connected... somehow."Hitfix

Others termed the central conceit a "mystery" rather than just plain nonsense, but were having post-traumatic Lost flashbacks. A central mystery is all very well and good, but extremely convoluted sci-fi premises have the tendency to go off the rails, especially in the hands of artists who are known to get carried away with their labyrinthine mythologies:

"Three episodes in, the connected-minds premise has only occasionally figured into the narrative, with almost no explanation for what's going on. It's not that the show relies on mystery too much; it's that it doesn't rely on it enough, at least not yet."The Atlantic

"Little is revealed in the three hours made available for review. If this... sounds like 'Lost' or 'Heroes' territory, it is... Those shows... threw together a collection of people from all over the earth, told their many stories, and promised to explain how they were connected and why. The promises were great, and we expected the pieces to add up to something - a great revelation, a fell swoop - that would justify everything before it. I won't reiterate my disappointment with the end of 'Lost' or the mid-section of 'Heroes' here, but for me, their shortcomings undermined the series entirely. 'Sense8' is heading into the same dangerous waters, and I won't deny feelings of post-trauma. I hope it will all add up to something meaningful, that the chaos will find some kind of fresh order. But I simultaneously fear that it will just keep throwing clues at us, pointing fingers at shady characters with hidden motives, and then devolve into some third-rate sci-fi mess or a lame good-versus-evil struggle."The Boston Globe

But there were several optimistic reviews that almost re-interpreted the confusion and narrative flaws as a check in the pro column, as they assert that the show lacks internal logic because it's operating under "emotional logic":

"'Sense8' is working with 'emotional logic' more than structural. If you might think that this concept and approach would be difficult to craft into a narrative for a TV series, you'd be right... To complain that 'Sense8' doesn't make traditional sense is to undervalue how it's working more emotionally and philosophically."RogerEbert.com

"Late in the pilot, one character praises a singer by saying, "She uses a language of pure emotion," and that's true of the early episodes; their music works better than their lyrics. As often as the show made my eyes roll, it sometimes made my eyes pop, a fair tradeoff."Time

The first season of Sense8 is now available for streaming on Netflix. It is co-created by Babylon 5's J. Michael Straczynski and stars Lost's Naveen Andrews, Brian J. Smith, Tuppence Middleton, Aml Ameen, Bae Doona, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Tena Desae, Max Riemelt, and Jamie Clayton.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi TV Shows