We learned recently that “Sense8” was on the bubble at Netflix, and on June 1 the streaming service officially announced the cancellation of the big-budget sci-fi series about eight individuals who share a psychic connection across the globe. The series shoots all over the world and was thus a particularly expensive commitment. However, the second season of the series ends on a cliffhanger, which means fans won’t have closure. Did Netflix make the right call, or should they have given “Sense8” an opportunity to wrap up its story?
Netflix vice president of original content Cindy Holland said in a statement, “After 23 episodes, 16 cities and 13 countries, the story of the ‘Sense8’ cluster is coming to an end. It is everything we and the fans dreamed it would be: bold, emotional, stunning, kick ass, and outright unforgettable. 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. We thank Lana, Lilly, Joe and Grant for their vision, and the entire cast and crew for their craftsmanship and commitment.”
But would “Sense8” have more continuing value to Netflix as a complete narrative? It will continue to be available to stream even though it won’t produce any new episodes, but curious new viewers might be more inclined to check out the series in the future if they know it has a proper ending. Consider that Netflix streamed the first three seasons of AMC’s police procedural “The Killing,” and after AMC cancelled the series Netflix picked it up for a fourth and final season in 2014 to conclude its storylines.
Other networks have also chosen to close out unfinished stories. Showtime ended “The Big C” with a miniseries titled “Hereafter” that ended up winning an Emmy for Laura Linney in 2013. Then HBO earned an Emmy bid for Best Limited Series in 2014 for the shortened final season of “Treme.” HBO also cancelled “Looking” after two low-rated seasons, but gave the series a farewell TV movie that premiered in the summer of 2016. Investing in a proper conclusion might be good for the brand, especially if fans of other shows start to become skittish about their favorite series ending prematurely.
But these days the end is never really the end. Consider “Twin Peaks,” which was cancelled on a cliffhanger way back in 1991. Now Showtime is continuing that story in 2017. By that standard, keep an eye out for a “Sense8” revival sometime around 2043.