First, let me preface this post by saying that if you enjoy something, don’t let someone else’s opinion disparage you from continued enjoyment of said thing (especially if that opinion is mine). If you’re into Tiny Tim’s music, more power to you. Hell, I’ve even been known to listen to a John Denver song or two.
That said, I can’t say I’m a fan of the new show Sense8.
Let’s start with the characters. This is how I imagined the pre-production meetings went (Also, major (sort of) spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk):
Creator: So, what you you guys think of the new show concept?
Executive #1: Well, considering that you’ve got the Wachoski bro… er… siblings and the guy from Babylon 5 on board – We love it!
Executive #2: You’ve got a greenlight, buddy!
E#1: Yep, you’ve got all the hip new stuff in it! The kids are gonna love this!
C: Er… I don’t really think it’s aimed at k-
E#2: Yep, you’ve even got the lesbian couple in there! Excellent work on hitting the demographics, man!
E#1: Buuuut… everyone’s got gays now in their shows, it seems? We need to go deeper…
C: I think you’re missing the poi-
E#2: I’ve got it! One of the lesbians is… wait for it… a transsexual! That way they can still technically be lesbians, only better!
C: I… ah… but it’s not really part of our intended plot-
E#1: Yep, that’s an awesome solution!
E#1: So, how’s casting the new couple working out?
C: It’s… ah.. screw it.. it’s great… just great…
E#2: Remember to get a chick that kind of looks like a man.
C: … So… our next character is the young man from Africa-
E#1: Yep, have you scouted out which dilapidated shanty village we’re going to use as his hometown?
C: Sorry, what?
E#2: You know, they all live in mud huts over there?
C: I… what… you know, they do have citie-
E#1: Oooh, you know what else is African? AIDS!
E#2: Hey, you’re right! Give him AIDS as well! You know, all skinny and bedridden and stuff.
C: What!?… He’s supposed to have several action scenes!
E#1: Ah, crap. Can we change that?
C: Um… not really…
E#2: Hey, I know! Give his mother AIDS instead!
E#1: Awesome! That works too!
C: I give up…
E#2: Hey, I got another idea!
E#1: What is it?
E#2: You know how they love hilariously outdated crazy stuff over there? Like David Hasselhoff?
C: I think that’s actually Germa-… you know what, never mind…
E#1: Okay, I see where you’re going. What are you thinking?
E#2: You know how he drives a bus? How about we have the bus be decorated with… wait for it… a gigantic mural of Jean Claude Van Damme?
E#1: Hey, Buddy! How’s the show coming along? Did you find any good rundown villages for us to film in yet?
C: … Look, we’ve got one more casting choice. The Korean lady.
E#2: Hell yeah! I love Asians. But, don’t tell my wife! Ha!
C: Moving on – and I can’t believe I’m going to ask this – are you guys happy with her character sketch?
E#1: So, she’s a super powerful corporate type, right?
C: No. Actually, she’s just an office worker-
E#2: Ooh! And she totally gets no respect from anyone because they don’t like women over there!
C: Even though she somehow managed to get a “super powerful corporate type” position?
E#1: Yep! Great stuff!
E#2: Ooh you know what else? Let’s make her be one of them kung fu masters!
C: Seriously, are you guys just f***ing with me?
(Note: I *do* realize that the above is more than a little over-the-top hyperbolic, and that the “Creator” would actually be one of the Wachowskis or Straczynski. But, you know what? Executive privilege on my part.)
Now, I’m not trying to claim that the show is racist, or that they used the above route to create characters. However, none of the characters really stand out as appealing, or even quite original, to me – from the “cop with a troubled past” to the “handsome closeted male actor”.
Still, a lot of people enjoyed this show, so maybe I’m just a grumpy old man.
That said, there were a few things that I liked about the three or four episodes that I did see before giving up.
First, they didn’t drag out the show for an entire season, and then have the main characters finally meet (or even becoming aware of) each other during the end of the season finale. I think it was in the second episode when they started meeting up (albeit telepathically).
Second, the “mysterious mentor” role, played by Naveen Andrews (A.K.A. Iraqi torture-guy from LOST), looks like he plays a big role. Totally not a wizard who pops in every now and then, just to drop an extremely obtuse hint to the main characters then pulling a disappearing act. At least for the few episodes I saw.
All said and done, it does seem to be a hit. Just not my cup of tea. If you enjoyed it, then good! That’s all that matters.
Now, get off my lawn.[Disclaimer: This is meant to be humour. I am quite aware of the existence of matatu buses, etc…]