The new original series from NetFlix, Sense8, shares thematic complexities with The Wachowskis' past big screen experiments, The Matrix and Cloud Atlas. The narrative scope of this ambitious sci-fiction sprawls over the lives of eight ethnically-different individuals, who are called sensates, after receiving the vision of the mysterious woman named Angel, who, as seen at the very beginning of the episode, has committed suicide.
The complex structure of this series, no doubt, requires a hell lot longer time to relay its motives to the audience, so there's really no need to rush everything in its first hour. But any TV show should establish grip right at the very first episode, and in Sense8's case, it largely fails.
Too ambitious and hasty, the pilot episode tries to lay groundworks for all the eight leads. Such choice seems bold, but it requires more than just flabby backstories to actually generate interest for these characters. There's a lurking hint of the show's attempt to properly knit all these eight characters together, but aside from the same exact consciousness that they all share, there's really nothing else that this pilot has provided to construct a coherent storyline to connect the characters. Leaping from one character to another, Sense8 travels through different cities across the world, to set up character bases for all its leads. For a TV show, I'd say the cinematography has managed to pull off incredible shots here, and that's really inviting to follow every character building it aims to commence. Visual artistry is no doubt a Wachowski expertise, and once again, they've done quite a compelling demonstration here. And yet, that very same seemingly singular focus, may take the blame for the pilot's bland and convoluted narrative construction. An hour is too short for all that eight to be properly introduced, and yet, the show tries to stretch all those parallel story lines to as equal lengths as possible, that the resulting turn out for each, isn't really something engaging. Few of these characters, have actually made a drawing presence, while the rest are reduced to nothing more than a faint interest.
The breathtaking visuals employed for capturing city skyline scenes, and probably future ambitious setpieces, will undoubtedly save a further script letdown, but it surely needs to pick up from here, if the Wachowskis want to sustain their audience.
While this isn't the kind of pilot episode I've expected to see from this new series, I'm not totally convinced that a dead end is what awaits my pursuit. It's 12 episodes after all, and trying a few more won't hurt. 6/10
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