After only two seasons, the latest project from Chicago-based filmmakers Lana and Lily Wachowski is over. Netflix announced yesterday they have decided to cancel “Sense8,” the LGBTQ-inclusive sci-fi thriller.
“[Sense8] is everything we and the fans dreamed it would be: bold, emotional, stunning, kick ass, and outright unforgettable,” Cindy Holland, Netflix’s VP of original content said in a press release. “Never has there been a more truly global show with an equally diverse and international cast and crew, which is only mirrored by the connected community of deeply passionate fans all around the world.”
Brian J. Smith, an actor who played a Chicago police officer in the show, tweeted that it was largely about money and made the argument that the level of viewership did not justify the admittedly large production costs.
You all are putting up an incredible fight. We hear you and it’s so moving. But not enough people watched the show and it’s $$$ to produce. https://t.co/FXUvlQFzBc
— Brian J. Smith (@BrianJacobSmith) June 2, 2017
“Sense8” was filmed in 13 countries and had a HUGE budget. The LA Times estimated the network spent around 9 million dollars per episode. For context, Forbes reported that HBO currently spends around 10 million dollars per episode on “Game of Thrones,” while Variety reported that Netflix spends about 4 million per episode on “Orange is the New Black.”
The cancellation of “Sense8” is extremely unfortunate because queer representation and diversity in television matters. In response to this, a petition on Change.org was recently launched to get an official explanation from Netflix about the cancellation and to urge them to produce a third season. The petition has a little under 300,000 supporters as of publication.
Recently, Netflix stepped up cancellations of current programming to assumedly make way for new shows. “The Get Down,” a drama helmed by Baz Luhrmann, which included a focus on queer characters and people of color involved in the early days of disco and hip-hop, was cut last week.
It shouldn’t be dismissed though that Netflix did give two transgender filmmakers pretty much a blank check to do whatever the hell they wanted, and in exchange audiences were treated to a visually spectacular testament to LGBTQ pride alongside the fight for civil and social rights. It’s a shame a show so inclusive couldn’t have kept going for longer.
UPDATE: This story been altered to include information about a petition on Change.org to try and save the show. (H/T DNAinfo Chicago)