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Sense8 (Review)

Magnificent!

by Nav Qateel

The Wachowski's finally have the size of canvas needed to fully realize their expansive and complex ideas that they're usually unable to achieve in the likes of a two-hour film. And thanks to the Midas touch of Netflix, Sense8 has just become one of the finest TV shows I've ever had the pleasure of watching.

Show writers-creators-directors Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), have ingeniously put together a sci-fi drama in a somewhat similar fashion to that of Cloud Atlas, only it's set firmly in the present. The multinational cast face problems that would be typical for their lifestyles and locals, then the 8 main players begin to link up to one another via a strange connection the eight of them seem to share. They're termed as a "Sense8" (sensate), which is something that's slowly revealed throughout the length of the first season, as the layers of mystery are gently peeled away and exposed, leaving the audience wanting more with each episode.

Sense8
From Netflix
Cast Miguel Ángel Silvestre, Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Tuppence Middleton
Release Date 5 June 2015
Nav's Grade: A+

Shot on location all over the world, the eight characters are as diverse a group as you can get. Tuppence Middleton plays Riley, a London-based DJ who moved from Iceland after the death of her mother. Brian J. Smith is Will, a Chicago cop with a big heart. Korean banker and martial arts expert, Sun, is played by Doona Bae, who watches her brother destroy their father's bank thanks to blatantly embezzling funds to pay for his extravagant lifestyle. San Franciscan transgender blogger Nomi, is played by Jamie Clayton, who's in real danger of being lobotomized if she can't be rescued from her enforced and mysterious hospital stay.

Tina Desai plays Kala, an unhappily engaged Indian pharmaceutical rep. Aml Ameen plays Capheus, a Nairobi bus driver whose bus is named Van Damme after the Muscles from Brussels. Capheus looks after his sick mother and gets involved with a heavyweight gangster in order to pay for costly and rare AIDS medication. Mexican movie star Lito, is played by Miguel Angel Silvestre, and he's a closeted homosexual whose career could be ruined if his sexual preference were ever to be made public. And finally Max Riemelt plays Wolfgang, a Berlin safecracker who, with his partner-in-crime, have just pulled off a job that will make them either rich or dead.

Each of these apparent strangers are connected by a woman (Daryl Hannah), after they see her committing suicide by putting a gun in her mouth, in a sort of vision they share at the opening of the show. Jonas Maliki (Naveen Andrews) starts to appear to Will and Nomi, explaining a little about who they are and what's expected of Will in order for him to save Nomi from being lobotomized. Each of the characters begin to find themselves briefly in one another's country's talking to their fellow Sense8's while they simultaneously feel rain and sunshine, or each others feelings. There was one scene in particular that I found extremely funny. Sun has just started her period and she's also emotional because of her brother ruining the bank. But Mexican hunk and actor, Lito, spends most of the day bursting into tears and having emotional outbursts while filming his latest movie and trying to get through an interview. There's also a scene where Sun helps out Capheus after he's attacked by a gang of robbers. You can watch the trailer below for a taste of the action.

Like with most material from the Wachowski siblings, this show certainly needs patience and your undivided attention while you give the exposition and character development a chance to be absorbed. The reward, however, is well worth every second, and while I never felt restless for a single moment, I can see a certain demographic throwing in the towel because the show will feel a bit too cerebral and talky. And if you find gay men and women doing a lot of kissing and occasionally having sex objectionable, then you might find Sense8 isn't for you. Which would be a shame to miss out on such an original and fantastic sci-fi yarn like this. Obviously, Sense8 isn't a show for young people as the sex and violence is extremely graphic.

Not to be missed.

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