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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sense8 is a drama about strangers who have mysterious visions and how they connect to one another. Created by the Wachowskis, most famous for their Matrix films, the series has some violence, including an on-screen suicide (no gore), and characters threaten each other with guns. Cursing includes sexual language (a reference to one woman "f--king" another's brains out) as well as unbleeped four-letter words and violent epithets. Characters smoke, drink, and consume drugs on-screen. Very graphic straight and gay sex scenes include nudity (breasts and buttocks), graphic descriptions of sex acts, a shot of a wearable sex toy, moaning, thrusting, and the like. It's an interesting premise but all the above makes it appropriate for only the most mature of teens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In eerie drama SENSE8, eight strangers living very different lives in different cities all over the world suddenly find themselves linked together. A Korean businesswoman allows her attention to drift from a client meeting and suddenly she has a vision of a woman committing suicide. A Chicago cop starts seeing scenes from the life of an Icelandic DJ. A Nairobi bus driver appears over the shoulder of a Mexican movie star, an Indian scientist experiences the crimes of a petty thief in Germany. None of the newly minted "sensates" know why they're having these visions, what they mean, or what they portend. But they're going to have to figure out pretty quickly, as a nefarious, mysterious corporation knows much more than they do -- and it's already working on tracking the sensates down and using them for a yet-to-be-discovered purpose.
Is it any good?
Let's be honest: Sense8 is saddled with one of the more clichéd premises of modern TV: strangers with a mysterious connection? What is this, Lost? Yet the show's intriguing execution of said premise puts this drama on the "has something" list, despite some downsides. Chief among them: painfully clunky exposition. In addition, audience members will wonder exactly why characters in far-flung locations all are speaking English. The Korean/German/Icelandic/African characters can't be subtitled, really? They can't even have accents?
Nonetheless, Sense8 has interesting things to offer -- chiefly, characters viewers haven't seen before. Sticking a transgender character right in the middle of the action and making the story not about her gender is a nice modern innovation, and the female characters in general are given plenty to chew on. That's a nice touch for TV sci-fi, which tends to treat its women like love interests with no inner life. Sense8's slow-burn storytelling also is well-suited both to Netflix's binge-watch capabilities and to viewers who insist on TV that stands up to repeat viewing and Internet recap-style criticism and analysis. There are clever ideas at work here. Give this show enough time and attention, and it might grow on you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's premise. Is it realistic or fantastic? Do people really have visions of the lives of other people? How do you know? Do TV shows have to be realistic to be interesting?
How do you suppose the creators of Sense8 choose the cities their characters are from? What's the percentage of dramas you see set in cities such as New York or London versus small towns? Why do you suppose this is?
Sense8's nonlinear plot makes it more challenging to figure out what's going on. Which other dramas or comedies can you name with plots that jump around in time or setting?
For kids who love mysteries
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.