Sense8…… CANCELLED!?

For almost a year, I’ve had a blogpost in my drafts folder titled 80 Reasons To Love Sense8. It was originally going to be titled 8 Reasons, and the setup was that I’d link each of the main characters to one of my favorite aspects of the show. The reason it didn’t work was because I had TOO MANY THINGS I LOVE ABOUT SENSE8and so, after the New Year’s special and the equally stellar second season, I started working on the 80 Reasons. It’s a moot point now: the show has been cancelled.

sense3.gif

The first stage of grief, as you know, is denial. Is this a hoax? Is Netflix on some sick power-trip? Are they going to up their monthly rates and is this an attempt to show us how reliant we’ve become on them? Because if so, it’s working. I’m biting my nails to the quick and tearing my hair out and one wrong comment away from crying. No kidding. They don’t call me Frenzied Fangirl for nothing.

And the reason I’m sad isn’t even primarily that I won’t get to see any more of my favorite cluster, although, after last seasons cliffhanger that breaks my heart. I’m dying to see how Nomi and Neets organize their wedding. I’m dying to see what Kala’s shady husband is up to. I’m dying to know how we’re going to rescue Wolfgang, and what we’re going to do with Whispers now we’ve got his sneaky ass caught. I want justice of Sun Bak. I want Capheus to be elected president and I want to see Lito achieve commercial success as an openly gay man. Is that too much to ask?!

sense1

But that’s not the main reason I’m sad. I’m sad because this television show was a game-changer for the entertainment industry and I’m afraid its cancellation has brought us back to square one. I’m sad because of what Sense8 means to me, and to countless other people who have felt like they were other for most of their lives. I’m sad because Nomi was shoved under boiling hot water for being trans, and I’m sad because Lito’s career has somehow become threatened by his sexual orientation, and I’m sad because Nigerian politics are corrupt and because the world is full of sexism and racism and homophobia. I’m sad because sometimes, sometimes, just for a little while, Sense8 made me believe that a strong sense of community, empathy and mutual understanding could overcome these hateful phenomena. Tonight I mourn a show that gave me a sense of empowerment and agency and belonging.

giphy3

Nomi: Your life is either defined by the system or the way you defy the system.

Sense8 was cancelled tonight, but in a thousand ways it’s only just beginning. For me, this show was the opening salvo in a long-lasting war against bigotry and hatred, which will be battled in terms of television and books and songs and comics and any type of media we deem useful. I will miss Sense8 because it reminded me of the political power of stories, and that power is not something Netflix can cancel.

sense2

 

Advertisements

“You’ve Got Time” OITNB Season 4

Tomorrow is the day we’ve all been waiting for. Tomorrow is when the gates of Litchfield Correctional Facility will open once again to grant us access. Tomorrow we will once more join the ranks of ladies dressed in orange, stabbing each other with plastic forks. Tomorrow, the forth season of Orange Is The New Black will come to Netflix.

So I thought this would be a good moment to tell you all how much I love this show, and why I think that is. I must warn you beforehand that there will be spoilers here up to the end of season three, so if you aren’t caught up yet you shouldn’t read any further.

First of all, let me introduce Orange Is The New Black to those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few years. We call it OITNB for short. It’s Netflix’s most watched original show, and it’s about the inmates of a women’s prison. The story is based on Piper Kerman’s real life experience of prison, which she wrote down in her book: Orange Is The New Black: My Year In A Women’s Prison.

The show is both tragic and hilarious. It is both witty and honest. It is, perhaps the greatest achievement on television to date when it comes to diversity and representation, and that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

uzo aduba let me be me.gif

 

OITNB has African American characters. It has Asian characters. It has Latino characters and caucasian characters. It has gay people and straight people. On the show, there is a transsexual character who is played by a transsexual actress. There are characters of all body types and costumes and make-up are minimal, so there are no attempts at disguising or glamorizing what real women look like in real life. The result is breathtakingly beautiful.

But that is not all. You can make your show’s cast as diverse as humanly possible, and I will applaud you for that, but that doesn’t necessarily make it engrossing television. And if there’s one thing OITNB is, it’s engrossing television.

For one thing, the narrative structure is astounding. Throughout the seasons, an intricate web of characters is woven and like the true ensemble cast, none seem to be more important than the others. Sure, the show starts out from Piper’s point of view, but by now it’s shifted so often that no one gives a damn about Piper anymore. Actually, I never cared for Piper much in the first place. She’s a brat.

Even Pennsatucky, who I disliked for the first half of the show, was recently given a storyline in season three that humanized her and, dare I say it, made me love her.

orange-is-the-new-black

The show draws attention to a lot of problems of modern day society, such as the ill treatment of prisoners in over-crowded American facilities, the stigma upon those with mental illness and America’s drug problem. It shows us that discrimination is still deeply ingrained into our lives and how harmful that is. It shows us the pervasiveness of rape culture and all the suffering it causes. It shows us how violence begets violence and how women can be incredibly strong when everything, everything, is against them.

Pennsatucky: “No offense but men being in charge hasn’t ever done me any good.”

In my weaker moments I turn to the inmates of Litchfield to see an example of what strength truly looks like. I will greatly enjoy doing so again tomorrow, and I invite you all to turn on your television sets and get trapped with me.