The revival of ‘Sense8’ and the power of fandom


Photo Credit: Sense8/Netflix; Image Acquired from Netflix Media Center

Just a handful of weeks ago Netflix announced the cancellation of their original series ‘Sense8’. Despite that, the fan base for the show decided not to take no for an answer.

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Since the start of the series, Sense8 has been a unique and unusual tale. It makes sense then, that its cancellation would also be unusual. When any popular television show is canceled there are almost always fans that get upset and cry out about a revival. Those cries often fall on the deaf ears of networks.

However, in the age of internet streaming Netflix has made a name for itself by being the safe haven for cancelled or forgotten television series. The accessibility and quality customer service of Netflix make it singularly vulnerable to fan outcry. The money behind Netflix has enabled to give most series their due and rarely cancel anything before it’s done. Sense8 was the first big Netflix cancellation of a series with a story being left untold.

The Campaign

Almost immediately upon cancellation fans began multiple petitions and spamming every outlet with requests to bring back the series. One of the biggest reasons the fans of this series were so upset about the loss of the series is that Season 2 left so many story threads dangling. The season ended on a massive cliffhanger that the entire series had built up to from the very beginning. There was a certain amount of trust with Netflix that they would not let a show end on such a cliffhanger.

Among the reasons listed for cancellation was that Sense8 can be very expensive to produce. The series is filmed across multiple continents and various countries. Not an unreasonable claim, but this did not persuade the fan base. In early June, Netflix did put out a very small statement trying to sympathize with the fans and soften the blow of canceling their show. It apparently only emboldened the fans to push even harder. To be fair the statement did not show an overflow of empathy.

It was about six sentences long and they tried to even refer to the fan created hashtags. Fans of the show call themselves Sensates just like the cast of the series and Netflix tried to co-opt that in their statement. They stated that they “wished they could” bring back the show but “unfortunately we can’t.” It all read like a corporation politely saying, ‘please stop bugging us about this show we canceled. Move on.’

The Revival

The fans refused to give up and less than a month later Lana Wachowski posted a statement announcing the revival of the series for a two-hour special to give the series some closure. It was a massive victory for the all the people who pushed to bring this show back. Even the cast of the show rang in with their support and thanks for all the hard work put in to bring the series back.

The full future of this series is unknown and Lana Wachowski has not signed off on even the two-hour special being the final story for the Sensates. It does appear that this announcement has abated the fans. However you feel about this show, you can’t deny that they have amassed a rabid and loyal fan base.

Next: Sense8 season 2 is all about coming out

I think one of the reasons that this series spoke so strongly to the people that it reached is that it is all about love and acceptance. On of the underlying themes of the series has always been that the more we accept everyone’s differences, the stronger we all become and we can accomplish more amazing things. If you think about it that way, it sort of makes sense that a small but vocal group of fans could come together to bring Sense8 back from cancellation.

Seasons 1 and 2 of Sense8 are streaming now on Netflix, and look for the two-hour special return next year.