Sense8 Season One

My partner and I just finished watching the first season of this and just… what the fuck. This show is so terrible, and so beautiful.

The point where I lost it was the birth sequence. This is a pretty long bit of television of them all being born, intercut with them all sitting and listening to classical music. It’s so unnecessary, and bizarre, and never really works. I think it’s supposed to be something meaningful and beautiful, but instead it’s just… what the fuck? Really, what the fuck is this show?

Towards the end, when it became increasingly obvious that things weren’t actually going to cohere in a way that they should, I started getting increasingly frustrated with the show. There’s a lot of stuff happening that just is not very good storytelling.

It’s never clear who knows what, which makes the finale more of a mess than it needs to be. It doesn’t establish that they’re all on the same page until they’re working together. It’s missing some essential connective tissue. This show would be so much better if it had given us just a little bit more exposition and clarity around what’s happening in the present. Just a little bit more.

Having this many storylines going on at once is hard. Dropping and picking up threads without feeling like characters are getting thrown aside is hard. One of my issues was that the different plotlines don’t climax at the same point. Lito’s story thread gets settled, and then he disappears for an episode before showing up in the finale.

DO A BETTER JOB OF KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR CHARACTERS SHOW!!!!!! DO A BETTER JOB OF MAKING IT CLEAR WHAT THEY KNOW!!!!! There’s a point where it stops being mysterious or whatever, and starts being crappy storytelling.

Basically all of the flashbacks seem unnecessary. They’re almost all clunky exposition, like, look at how these characters were when they were kids, that explains what they are now, but in a very shallow sort of way. They’re also uneven — if they wanted to do flashbacks they could have committed to them more. It feels odd that we see a lot of some characters in flashback, and none from some others. A bunch of relatively recent flashbacks, where the characters are played by the same actors instead of children, seem completely unnecessary. They drag the story down. Most of the flashbacks do nothing to move the story forward.

There are a few flashbacks that work really well, which makes me more pissed about the ones that don’t work. The cut to see child Wolfgang kill his father is phenomenal, and Lito remembering his first date with Hernando is great. If the show had been pickier about its flashbacks these moments would have stood out more. Instead the show is overloaded with unnecessary flashbacks.

Soooooo many flashbacks. Sooooo boring. By the end they started to cause me physical pain. They’re boring!

The show has a lot of flaws I can get behind, but not ones that make it boring. Some of its flaws are fun! Some of the flaws are thrilling!

Every time things got really off their rocker we’d turn to each other and say, “Wachowski’s man,” and shake our heads. Wachowski’s gonna Wachowski. It’s a mess, but a beautiful one. It looks great, and I love a lot of the characters, I love a lot of the spirit. Who cares if it makes sense. There are ten thousand grey network procedurals that make perfect sense: there’s only one Sense8. I’m glad it got renewed for a second season, and I hope another dozen episodes will give it a chance to chill out and come together and do something really cool. It has the potential to be phenomenal.

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