Netflix’s latest original series, Sense8, definitely has the sci-fi heritage. Co-created by the Wachowski siblings (The Matrix) and J Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), and starring actors like Doctor Who’s Freema Agyeman and Lost’s Naveen Andrews, the series aims to explore the subjects most science-fiction shows tend to skim over, like gender, sexuality and religion. Based on the first episode, does it succeed?
It’s difficult to judge the show from the first episode, given that so much time is given over to introducing the characters (although if you manage to catch more than two of their names without subtitles on, you’re a better person than this reviewer). But it’s a bloody intriguing start, raising questions and not explaining anything quite yet. For example, just who is Angelica? Why are all these people linked? Who’s the mysterious bearded man, and what’s he up to?
And then there’s the scene in this first episode which lets us know that this is very definitely an Adult Show – lesbian sex where one of the partners is trans, with lots of shots of breasts and a rainbow strap-on. Diverse sexualities in this genre which usually barely admits that people can be anything other than straight? Hurray! It’s just kind of sad that with the boobs and strap-on and swearing throughout the first episode, people below a certain age won’t be able to watch it, and based on this first episode alone, we’ve got high hopes that Sense8 could be one of the science-fiction staples in years to come.