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 SENSE8, and 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.
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?!
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.
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.