Starring: Naveen Andrews, Daryl Hannah, Jamie Clayton, Max Riemelt,
Directed By: The Wachowski’s
Well, Netflix can’t make all hits. Sense8 is just an example of the problem with ordering something straight-to-series, or doing a blind commitment because someone like The Wachowski’s are interested in doing some TV work. Much like Aloha in theatres, Sense8 is what happens when you put blind faith in a director and give them free reign. Sense8’s pilot isn’t really functional as a pilot. It doesn’t do a good job of introducing us to the world of Sense8, but rather does a slipshot job of introducing us to the eight main characters that span the world.
The pilot starts with Daryl Hannah having some odd visions, and then sending her power to eight other random individuals before killing herself. There’s some kind of sinister agency after her (possibly government, it’s not really established in the pilot). There’s the transgender LGBT activist, the burglar, the DJ, the cop, the bus driver, all pulled together. They’re held together by the absolutely awful acting of their supporting cast. Just… like… horrendous. I hope most of this cast gets lost in a ravine somewhere while filming the inevitable season 2. Side note: Netflix, you don’t need to order a season 2 of every single show. This would be a good place to start.
The cop (a Cory Monteith knockoff) has a partner, who is one of the worst cops ever. Just terrible. He’s also a terrible actor. Really, most of the supporting cast was apparently found on a budget. The leads aren’t great either. The pilot also just abruptly ends in one of those “this was meant to be a two part episode” ways, which is obnoxious for a streaming TV show. If you want to shoot a longer pilot, just do it. Have a 90 minute pilot, and call it a day. Don’t just cut to black and pick up in Episode 2. Actually finish the damn episode.
Calling Sense8 a sci-fi series would be a stretch of the word sci-fi. The pilot does so much to try and establish its wide variety of characters in a short time span that it doesn’t actually explain the sci-fi part of the series. The sinister organization doesn’t come back into play again, and cramming everyone into the pilot makes characters either underdeveloped or one-dimensional. In short, it would have been better to spend one episode on one person, then maybe add another person, and so on. Being afraid to declare who the lead of your show is isn’t helpful to your viewing audience.
If Sense8 gets better, I’ll never know, because I don’t plan on revisiting the series. It’s a shame, because there’s a few strong storylines in place. I actually enjoyed Jamie Clayton as the transgender activist, and thought her overall storyline (and her supporting castmates) was strong. I would potentially have watched a show that focused just on a thief living in the shadows of his father, a master thief. But when you throw them in with some other shitty storylines, awful acting, and an overall directionless pilot, I can’t help but think there’s a better way to spend my time.
Definitely the most disappointing Netflix pilot I’ve ever seen.
FINAL GRADE: D+