I can’t claim to have ever cared much for the work of the Wachowskis: the Matrix (the first one) was pretty but left me cold, and I frankly haven’t sat through the entirety of any of their films since. But Sense8 looked interesting, and oh my god it is.
It’s sort of a slow build, with a lot more focus on the characters and their connections in the first couple of episodes, but it pays off; I cared more about this cast than about the cast of any other recent show with the exception of Orphan Black. I was invested not just in their safety but their happiness and their relationships.
The relationships! I don’t know if I have ever seen a story like this that portrays love–romantic, platonic, and familial–in such an adorable, moving, believable, and non-cloying fashion. The handling of the queer characters is exceptional. There is a trans character played by a trans woman! Who is confronted with realistic resistance from family and other characters! But is in a loving and sexy relationship! And is defined by characteristics other than the fact of her being trans! I mean, one would have hoped that Lana Wachowski would handle this well, but you never know.
In fact, while the show does have lots of cool mind-talking and body-hopping and crazy shit, it’s as much if not more about the newly-forming connections between the leads, and the ways that they are forced to confront their secrets–there’s a neat safe motif (as in a big metal box that locks) early on that calls attention to the fact that nearly all of these people have something big locked away that is going to bubble up to the surface as a result of becoming bonded with one another.
There is also abundant action of a few varieties: sequences that poke fun at the Wachowski’s own signature operatic violence; action that solves short-term problems while creating longer-term ones; and your basic cathartic over-the-top violence-solving-problems action. One could wish for more of the former two and less of the latter, but there’s a lot going on with this action–each of the characters has different skills, and sometimes they can be there to help each other, and sometime they can’t, and sometimes they handle things in a pretty unconventional way. Shout out to the great Doona Bae, who gets to kick the most ass.
I am just gushing here, so I will stop, but come on! Gorgeous cinematography; amazing use of scoring and soundtrack; calling out and responding to verbal misogyny; hot kinky sex; just, like, ALL THE THINGS and ALL THE GOOD and I am in love with the cast and I can’t wait for another season. Y’ALL SHOULD WATCH.