In a move that seems designed to annoy a good chunk of its fanbase, Netflix cancelled Sense8 on June 1st, the first day of Pride Month.
Sense8, directed by Lilly and Lana Wachowski, follows eight individuals across the globe. Slowly, they discover they’re connected through their senses and thoughts. Season One premiered in 2015 to critical acclaim and popularity. Season Two took two years to produce – only to be abruptly cancelled a month later.
However, the move seems to have ignited the Sense8 fanbase in a way Netflix has never seen before. In the last five days, angry fans have taken to Twitter, Tumblr, and even Change.org to petition Netflix for a renewal, or at least some answers. Not only that, but they’ve been swarming Netflix with angry phone calls.
I just called Netflix to try to #RenewSense8 – the person I talked to was so nice. He encouraged me to get friends to call in, so PLEASE DO.
— Ava (@Bookishwithtea) June 4, 2017
— jess / TOMORROW (@lydstilinskis) June 5, 2017
WHY IS “SENSE8” SO IMPORTANT?
Sense8 is incredibly unusual with how much backlash it’s generated from its cancellation. Like the screenshot above says, usually after a few days, people move on. However, this time, it’s different.
The Change.org petition for Season 3, 94,000 signatures away from being complete, gives one explanation.
“It is not just a tv show, to watch for fun, instead of just being that, Sense 8 has given the world a new way of seeing others: with acceptance, love and understanding.”
With the world getting scarier all the time, it’s an important message. Critics called Season One too political and cheesy. However, Season Two was exactly what the world needed after the sharp downturn of 2016. Lito comes out as a gay man at the Sao Paolo Pride Parade, for those who can’t come out of the closet. Nomi and Amanita propose to each other, for those around the world who can’t marry those they love. Capheus starts fighting for his neighborhood as somebody who understands the area; for those who feel downtrodden and ignored by their leaders.
WHY CANCEL SENSE8?
The short answer is: Nobody’s quite sure. The secondary aim of the petition on Change.org is to get some sort of definitive answer from Netflix. Unfortunately since Netflix refuses to release viewer numbers, it’s hard to say. Metro pinpoints the issue when it brings up that while Netflix apparently ‘needed to cancel shows’, Sense8 was cancelled unfinished while 13 Reasons Why got a second season it doesn’t need.
“The issue gets stickier when you consider critical failures like Marvel’s Iron Fist earlier this year, which is presumably untouchable being grid-locked into Marvel’s wider TV universe. The platform’s ongoing partnership with Adam Sandler for four more movies now also feels particularly sour. We doubt you’d see hashtag trends or online petitions if they cut that leash.”
In addition, Sense8 is far from the only inclusive show to be cut. The Get Down, the hip-hop chronicle from Baz Luhrmann, was cut last month. Outside of Netflix, CBS’s Doubt, ABC’s The Real O’Neals, and USA’s Eyewitness have all been cancelled this year. Doubt is especially tragic; featuring Orange is the New Black’s breakout star Laverne Cox as a trans lawyer, it ran for two unadvertised episodes before being quietly dropped.
Overall, it’s not a good look. In the wake of a tough year, networks should be giving diverse shows a chance to shine. Instead they’re being systematically axed and discouraged, spitting in the face of people who need these shows.
At least we have the promise of four more Adam Sandler movies on the horizon.