Sense8 was undeniably one of the best and most original series to grace television but, in a surprising move, Netflix announced last week that the sci-fi drama created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski will not return for a third season. The cancellation caused an uproar that prompted the streaming service to apologize, but reiterate that they stand by their decision. In a new interview, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos explained the reason behind the cancellation.
The series follows eight characters from around the world and with different backgrounds all mentally and emotionally linked. Filming meant flying back and forth toward eight locations including Chicago, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Seoul, Reykjavik, Mexico, Nairobi, and Mumbai. It boasts of an even bigger cast including Tuppence Middleton, Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, Tina Desai, Max Riemelt, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Brian J. Smith, Freema Agyeman, Terrence Mann and Toby Onwumere.
A result is a television series that plays like an eight-hour movie, but quality came with a hefty price. Sense8 became one of the most expensive titles from Netflix, but it does not have an audience.
“[A] big expensive show for a huge audience is great,” Sarandos told reporters (via Variety) on Saturday. “A big, expensive show for a tiny audience is hard even in our model to make that work very long.”
Sarandos also revealed that Sense8 Season 2 costs approximately about $9 million per episode. It added eight more locations including Amsterdam, Argyll, Chippenham, Los Angeles, Malta, Positano, Redwoods and Sao Paulo. To put things in perspective, HBO’s Game of Thrones needs about $6 million to make. Not only is the award-winning fantasy drama a little less expensive than Sense8, it also has a massive audience and has become a cultural phenomenon. The sixth season finale alone recorded 8.9 million viewers.
Simply put, Game of Thrones is worth the amount of money that HBO releases to produce an episode. Netflix does not release viewing numbers for any of its series so it is impossible to say how many people are watching Sense8. However, Sarandos’ statement implies that the fan base of the sci-fi drama is nowhere near as big as Game of Thrones.
Sarandos also spoke about The Get Down which costs $12 million per episode to make and was also axed by Netflix earlier this month. Last year, the biggest streaming company in the world also cancelled Marco Polo, another expensive series, after two seasons. Both were two of the most expensive television series anywhere.
Fans Petition To Bring The Sensates Back
Unsurprisingly, fans were upset by the cancellation. Season 2 has better reviews than its debut, receiving a 79% rating from critics and a 92% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Moreover, it ended with a cliffhanger that, because of the cancellation, will never be resolved.
Its dedicated viewers are determined to get it back by making noise on social media and creating online petitions. Netflix was forced to apologize last weekend through the Sense8 official Facebook page, but the series remained cancelled.
To our Sense8 family… We’ve seen the petitions. We’ve read the messages. We know you want to #RenewSense8, and we…
Now, a new petition appeared on Change.org highlighting the cultural importance of the series and demanding Netflix to explain the reason behind the cancellation.
“We believe it is necessary that tv shows and movies which, from its content, provide the world with a message of love, diversity and respect,” the petition read. “All these values have been brought to life by the characters of the show, and the message it has is extremely important for society.”
While it looks like Netflix is standing by their decision right now, fans are not completely powerless. Earlier this year, NBC cancelled Timeless, but the network eventually changed its mind and renewed the time-travel series to Season 2 thanks to its loyal following.
Photo Source: Facebook/Sense8