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Review: Sense8

The Matrix was a game changer in terms of the action and science fiction genre, the then Wachowski Brothers produced a film that would change the action movie. The beginning of the film franchise got off to a great start, but its two follow up films made little sense. Since The Matrix I have always liked the idea of seeing another great Wachowski film. The Wachowskis still fail to meet their own high standards. Their latest summer blockbuster was a bizarre tale of a long lost Princess, which reminded me of Santa Claus: The Movie. Sense8 doesn't leave me with much hope.

The series follows eight characters as they become one. This follows the suicide of a homeless woman called Angelica (Daryl Hanna). This in turn causes them to be re-born and connected as group. The problem lies with each of the backstories. None are all that interesting.

Angelica is on the run after looking into the eyes of Whispers (Terrence Man) who wants to rid the world of Sense8s, why? EMMM? Well?

Angelica is helped by Jonas (Naveen Andrews) to avoid coming in contact with Whispers. As she commits suicide her death is seen by 8 new Sense8s. Whom Whispers can’t see.

Nomi (played by Jamie Clayton) is a transgender character who lives in San Francisco. Her mother isn't happy with her son's transformation from man into woman and her choice of girlfriend. After seeing Jonas she falls from motorcycle and is brought into hospital.

After scans show problems with her brain, she is told that she needs a lobotomy. She is forced to stay at the hospital for the operation, but it’s not really explained how her mother (or family) could insist on such an operation. This is the most intriguing part of the story.

Nomi is helped to escape by a cop from the Chicago, Will Gorski (Brian J. Smith), who connects to her while she is under anaesthetic.

The connections continue with different characters in different countries. A Korean woman (Sun) helps an African bus driver (Van Damme). A German (Wolfgang) jewel thief connects to an Indian woman (Kala). An Icelandic woman (Riley) living in London helps Will in Chicago to find the place where the homeless woman commit suicide.

The stories are slow moving and largely uninteresting. Lots of scenes that are just images of the cast meeting for the first time. The programme fills a lot of space by even explaining why the Cop can escape from handcuffs. Though the series is beautifully shot.

One of the other problems with the series is that for an international show all of the characters while speaking in their own language are speaking English. When the Germans are speaking English we assume they are speaking German, when the Koreans are speaking English we assume they are speaking Korean. Hence when the characters do meet, a few words are spoken in their native languages followed by how do you know how to speak...? This question seems hugely unnecessary considering they are all acting in English. The series would be better by having large parts in the character’s native tongues.

Meet the Sense8s

Icelandic – Riley Blue (Tuppence Middleton)

Her story is laid out the best. She starts in London and ends up back in Iceland. Allows the audience find something new about her in each episode. The other characters stories don’t connect with the idea of Sence8, her story is more about sence8. Why she left Iceland, her mother, her father, her life etc?

Power: High tolerance for drugs, though she is the most connect to Sense8

American - Nomi Marks (Jamie Clayton)

It is understandable that Lana Wachowski would want linger on the transgender storyline. Perhaps this is the problem with her story, it seems to be only really well thought out story, and while it may go on several rants (e.g. the video blog where she questions the Seven Deadly Sin. She asks why hate isn't one of the seven? It is an interesting question, however the answer is that hate is part of the seven deadly sins, the sin of Wrath. Pride in the 7 deadly sins means not to recognise accomplishments of others but only your own, for example if someone in a team was to say they did the most work and the rest should not be recognised for their work, that would be a sin.), however it does show the character in a good light. Providing a strong female/transgender role model in the series.

Power: Not only a journalist with passion, but she was a computer hacker in her past. Chicago -

American - Will Gorski (Brian J. Smith)

He is the most general of all the characters. Though I would question if any police officer would refuse to help someone in need or that a nurse would question helping a child with a gunshot wound. If we live in a society where we think we can save the world be letting the bad guys kill each other we are living in a mad world.

Power: He’s a Cop! ... That can escape handcuffs!

Korean - Sun Bak (Doona Bae)

She is the loneliest of all of the characters, going to prison for the sins of her father and brother. Her story is one of the more interesting, while it fails to be resolved it is the most intriguing story. Will she leave prison?

Power: Not at all stereotypical of an East Asian she kicks ass, a prize winning fighter.

German - Wolfgang Bogdanow (Max Riemelt)

The Thief of the group. This is a good story but you wonder why the rest of the show is related to it, he seems out of place and could have a success comedy/drama of his own.

Power: He doesn’t give a shit, and he can crack a safe.

Indian – Kala Dandekar (Tina Desai)

A traditional girl in a modern world. It’s a half-baked story. The marriage isn’t arranged. She isn’t in love with him, do we care?

Power: She’s a chemist, get ready for some homemade bomb making MacGyver style.

Kenyan - Capheus Van Damme (Aml Ameen)

Form a story perspective his is the one with the most hope and most enjoyable of the 8 stories. Though he fails to connect to the rest of the characters all that much.

Power: He’s a very good driver.

Mexican - Lito Rodriguez (Miguel Ángel Silvestre)

A closeted gay action hero. The problem with this section of the show is that it at times feels like a telenovela. Again no real connection to the rest of the story. Yes he gets to see each of the characters but in general he’s the least aware of Sense8.

Power: He will be your hero! Bit of a Johnny Bravo, smooth with the ladies and the guys, you want to get into a room? Well, he has the key.

Throughout you almost expect Negative Zero to appear.