Excellent news for Sense8 fans: The show will get one final episode.
Created by the Wachowskis (the siblings behind The Matrix) and J. Michael Straczynski (who previously created Babylon 5), Sense8 premiered in 2015 with its story of eight psychically linked individuals living in San Francisco, Berlin, Mumbai and other cities all over the world. It was probably my favorite show on Netflix.
I’m not saying Sense8 was perfect, but with its unembarrassed melodrama, kinetic action and wild ambition, it didn’t resemble any other show on television. And thanks to its global scope, the show seemed to represent the future — or at least a future — of television.
And then it was canceled. While Netflix doesn’t release ratings data, the reasons for the cancellation weren’t all that mysterious — shooting globally is expensive, and Sense8 probably didn’t have the viewership to justify the cost. Plus, CEO Reed Hastings had just declared that Netflix should be canceling more shows.
Still, it was a blow for the show’s creators (one of the actors, Brian J. Smith, lamented that “future audiences will never pick up a story they know has no resolution”) and for fans like me, since it meant the story wouldn’t be completed.
The cancellation also seemed to go against how Netflix had been operating. Not only did the video service give virtually all of its shows multiple seasons to play out — it even became known for reviving older properties like Arrested Development and Full House. Netflix, it had seemed, was the place where shows go to live again, not to die.
Am I crazy to wish Netflix would pledge to never cancel a show without properly ending it in some way?
Time is our scarcest currency.
— Greg Kumparak (@Grg) June 6, 2017
Even though you can argue about whether those shows should have been brought back, and about whether or not fans’ fixation on complete stories is all that healthy or realistic (I’ve enjoyed plenty of books, movies and shows despite ambiguous or cliffhanger-y endings), today’s announcement that Sense8 will get a two-hour finale feels like a very welcome gesture.
Yes, canceling shows may be an unavoidable part of the TV business, but the subscription model seems to give Netflix a little more freedom, and I’m glad it’s taking advantage of that freedom.
More importantly, for viewers (particularly passionate fans), these cancellation decisions aren’t just bottom line calculations. These shows contain stories and characters that we connect to, that we care about. By giving Sense8 a chance to say goodbye on its own terms, Netflix is acknowledging that connection.