Sense8 (a play on the word sensate /ˈsɛnseɪt/) is an American science fiction drama web television series created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski for Netflix. The production companies behind Sense8 include the Wachowskis’ Anarchos Productions (replaced by Lana and her wife’s Venus Castina Productions in the second season), Straczynski’s Studio JMS, and Georgeville Television, with Unpronounceable Productions having been set up specifically for this show.
The show’s first season introduced a multinational ensemble cast, with Aml Ameen, Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai, Tuppence Middleton, Max Riemelt, Miguel Ángel Silvestre and Brian J. Smith portraying eight strangers from different parts of the world who suddenly become “sensates”; human beings who are mentally and emotionally linked. Freema Agyeman, Terrence Mann, Anupam Kher, Naveen Andrews and Daryl Hannah also star. In the second season Toby Onwumere replaces Ameen. The show aims to explore subjects that its creators feel have not been emphasized in many science fiction shows to date, such as politics, identity, sexuality, gender and religion.
Each episode of Sense8 was written by the Wachowskis and Straczynski in the first season; in the second season, Lilly Wachowski took a break from the show, and the scripts were written by just Lana Wachowski and Straczynski. Most of the episodes of the two seasons were directed by the Wachowskis (or just Lana, in the second season), with the remainder being divided between their frequent collaborators James McTeigue, Tom Tykwer and Dan Glass. Lilly’s break during the second season marked the first time in the sisters’ career that they did not work together as a writing and directing unit. Sense8 was filmed almost entirely on location in a multitude of cities around the world.
The first season, consisting of 12 episodes, became available for streaming on Netflix on June 5, 2015, and was met with generally favorable critical reception. It became notable for its presentation of LGBT characters and themes, winning the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series. It has also been recognized with a Location Managers Guild award for its use of locations as an integral part of the story, and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.
Netflix released the first episode of the second season, a two-hour Christmas special, on December 23, 2016; the remaining 10 episodes of the season were released on May 5, 2017. The season was met with positive critical reception. On June 1, 2017, Netflix announced that they had cancelled the series, despite preliminary negotiations with the cast for a third season.