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Netflix’s “Sense8” Demonstrates Characters’ Diversity

Netflix+science+fiction+series+Sense8+embraces+empathy+and+diversity.++%28Courtesy+of+Facebook%29
Netflix science fiction series Sense8 embraces empathy and diversity.  (Courtesy of Facebook)

Netflix science fiction series Sense8 embraces empathy and diversity. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Netflix science fiction series Sense8 embraces empathy and diversity. (Courtesy of Facebook)


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By Colette Nolan

When I first saw trailers for Netflix’s original show “Sense8,” I figured it wasn’t going to be something I’d really enjoy. However, once I finally got around to watching it, I was treated to one of the most engaging stories I had ever seen. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I grew attached to the myriad of diverse characters.

“Sense8” follows eight individuals from entirely different backgrounds, as they discover that they are all mentally linked together.
The group consists of an array of unique and talented individuals ranging from a Chicago police officer to a Korean businesswoman and kickboxing star, as well as a Spanish actor and even a trained pharmacist living in Mumbai.

The chracters’ connection allows them to experience the emotions that others in the group are feeling and even share knowledge and language. While the newfound “cluster” seems to be having fun connecting with one another at first, trouble soon emerges in the form of a sinister man by the name of “Whispers.”

The group, called “sensates,” must work together to track down Whispers and keep him from destroying the cluster as he did with his own.
The science fiction aspect of the show may not appeal to everyone, but other aspects of “Sense8” are just as enriching as the plot.
Creators Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski used “Sense8” as an opportunity to offer diversity of race, gender, sexuality and identity that is often lacking from other science fiction shows and films. It was precisely this diversity that drew me to the show and got me to stick with it.

There are multiple members of the LGBT community in the main and supporting cast, something that is celebrated in the show and never used as the butt of a joke or a tool of oppression.

Despite the show’s genre being science fiction, it is strongly rooted in the concepts of emotion and empathy. The sensates’ connection is a strongly emotional one. They learn that they are often called to the aid of another sensate to respond to their emotional dilemmas. This helps lead to strong ties between them that outside forces are unable to break.

“Sense8” developed its cult following because of the pure empathy it displays in conjunction with the diversity of the cast. It asks a very simple question: when there is nothing keeping you from understanding another person, what can you realize about the things you have in common?
For some of the characters, this commonality is their sexual orientation. For others, it may be the complicated relationships they have with their families.

In any case, “Sense8” shows its audience that there will always be someone you can connect with over an aspect of your identity, but also that we must be willing to overlook simple differences, such as race, religion or gender, to do so.

If I were asked to summarize “Sense8” in one sentence, I’d have to call it a love letter to the human race. Each character, scene and story is infused with life and all of the scary and wonderful things that accompany it. The sensates’ connection mirrors the ways in which our everyday relationships shape who we are.

The more we let others in and try to understand them, the stronger we will be as a community. Sense8”’s message of empathy and acceptance is an important one that reminds each of us of our impact on others: “I am also a we.”

 

 

“Sense8,” created by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, premiered its first season on Netflix in 2015 (Courtesy of Facebook).

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Netflix’s “Sense8” Demonstrates Characters’ Diversity