TELEVISION REVIEW [PREVIEW]: The "Sense8" Christmas Special Offers Fun, but Not Enough Plot or Character Development

This review contains spoilers for “A Christmas Special.”
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I remember rapidly refreshing Google as soon as I finished season one of Sense8, the Netflix sci-fi epic by the Wachowski sisters and J. Michael Straczynski, fervently hoping for news of its renewal. The first season, which dropped onto the streaming platform in summer 2015, was a cheesy but heartfelt adventure about eight people from far-flung corners of the globe who become psychically linked and must use their bond to protect themselves and each other from nefarious forces seeking their destruction. As can be expected from the Wachowskis, Sense8’s first 12-episode season combined thrilling visuals and gushing emotion with less successful elements such as awkward pacing and banal, overly-metaphorical dialogue. But these eight individuals—Will (Brian J. Smith), a Chicago cop; Riley (Tuppence Middleton), an Icelandic DJ; Kala (Tina Desai), a Mumbai-based pharmacist; Wolfgang (Max Riemelt), a German safecracker; Sun (Doona Bae), a Seoul businesswoman; Capheus (Aml Ameen), a Nairobi bus driver; Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre), a Mexican telenovela actor; and Nomi (Jamie Clayton), a San Francisco hacker—interacted in ways that were both heartwarming and utterly bizarre, culminating in a memorable psychic orgy scene, a sing-along to Four Non Blondes’ “What’s Up?”, and a gruesome montage of each of them being born (all on August 8th, naturally). The relationships and bonds that formed among the Sensates, as these characters are called, were not only awe-inspiring, such as when Sun used her clandestine martial arts skills to protect Capheus, acting through his body as well as alongside him, or when Capheus used his skill at driving to rescue Nomi from attackers, but touching and romantic as well, and when a second season was finally announced, I was beyond thrilled...

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