Netflix Original series Sense8 gets renewed for round two
It’s hard to think of another company that’s changed the face of the television industry in the last couple of years more than Netflix. Beginning as a streaming service for third party content, Netflix made its first foray into the realms of original programming in 2012 with the understated Lilyhammer. Since then they have expanded their operations at an unprecedented rate, reshaping the industry and sparking an aggressive content war with other studios.
In 2013, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos infamously took to the public forum and said “The goal is to become HBO faster than they can become us,” At first his words were dismissed as mere bluster. At that time, they were still in the early stages of building a stable of original content whereas HBO is an industry titan that has been in operation for more than 40 years.
So it’s crazy to see just how far Netflix has come in the last two years, even in the face of fierce opposition. As distribution networks and theaters threaten to boycott the movies they buy, and other companies race to launch their own streaming services (including, somewhat amusingly HBO), Netflix has continued to forge ahead on its own path. Currently, not counting their original animated offerings for children (spin off tv series of Dreamworks properties like Puss In Boots, How To Train Your Dragon, Turbo, and Madagascar, as well as others) Netflix have a whopping 36 original shows in development, with more to be announced in the coming weeks, which positions them as the largest original content provider of any premium service.
Of course, it’s difficult to gauge Netflix’s success in more accurate terms because they don’t share their viewing figures with analysts (much to their chagrin), so only the senior staff at Netflix have any idea whether their shows are successful or not. Whether it’s on another season of mainstays like House Of Cards (which Netflix have now integrated Frank Underwood’s iconic double knock into their original programming logo), or on lucrative original movie deals with Adam Sandler, or on the five Marvel Tv shows, or on the rumoured three original Star Wars tv shows in development – Netflix are spending well over a billion dollars a year on original content. That’s the fastest growth of any tv company in the industry’s history, and it’s insane.
Of course, quantity doesn’t always mean quality, which is a perfect way to segue into talking about Sense8, the divisive, heady science fiction show created by Andy & Lana Wachowski, and Michael J. Straczynski of Babylon 5 fame. The first season debuted just two months ago and it would be fair to say that reaction to the show was mixed. While many would dismiss it as absolutely bonkers, overly convoluted and a complete mess, others would hail it as a charming, thought provoking, and thoroughly compelling science fiction yarn. Regardless of where you stand, it seems that the latter won out, as after a worrying delay, Netflix has confirmed that Sense8 will be getting a second season, which they did so by tweeting a charming little video featuring the principal cast (which you can see below).
There’s no other information about what the second season will entail as of yet, but I imagine that the cast and creative crew will be returning, and they will continue to expand upon the story they started. It will remain to be seen whether the show is quite as ambitious with its locations in the next season though, as Netflix usually likes to release a new season of its original shows once a year, and the first season was a massively expensive affair (some reports guesstimate anything up to $10 million per episode), taking a whopping three years from originally announcing the show to getting it on screens.
One would hope that with the difficult prospect of getting such a complex foundation in place, the Wachowskis and Straczynski can focus on creating a better show, one that could bring less forgiving viewers back into the fold. There’s no denying that Sense8 features a fascinating concept with enormous potential, and while the show does improve in later episodes, it doesn’t help that the first handful are an almighty slog. Hopefully they’ve been reading (the many) criticisms of the first season and can use them to improve upon the new season, and continue to expand the universe of the show, because if it actually delivers on its concept, then science fiction fans will undoubtedly want to keep watching Sense8.
For those of you who missed the first season of Sense8 – here’s the trailer: