“This might be a good time to start making some noise,” tweeted “Sense8” star Brian J. Smith on May 30. He was responding to a fan who commented, “If we don’t show our support for ‘Sense8’ it might not get renewed. Let’s tweet as much as we can the hashtag: #RenewSense8.” Netflix doesn’t publicly release viewership figures for its shows, so it’s hard for fans to know if their favorite streaming show is at risk of getting the axe, and so they might not get a chance to fight for the show until it’s too late, but as a star of the show, perhaps Smith knows something we don’t know.
As with premium cable outlets like HBO and Showtime, what matters for Netflix are subscribers and not viewership numbers, per se. In that sense it seems like it should be good for business to produce a series with such broad appeal. “Sense8” follows a group of characters across the globe who share a psychic link, so it features leading characters who run the gamut of identities: male and female, gay and straight, transgender and cisgender, Kenyan, Korean, Icelandic, German, Mexican and American. Those aren’t just characters, but potential connections to be made to under-served audiences worldwide — all of them potential Netflix subscribers.
Then again, the globe-trotting “Sense8” is an expensive commitment for Netflix. Producer Roberto Malerba revealed in a recent interview that the cost of season two averaged $9 million per episode. And as we’ve seen recently with the cancellation of “The Get Down” after one season, Netflix is only willing to pay so much for a show relative to how many people are watching it (the similarly budget-busting “The Crown” will return for season two). But when it comes to that cost-benefits analysis, no one knows exactly what that math looks like without public viewership figures.
If nothing else, it might be in Netflix’s best interest to at least give the writers and producers an opportunity to wrap-up the story (without giving anything away, the story is far from resolved at the end of season two). The series will continue to be available to stream on Netflix even if the streaming service decides not to order another season, so it will still have a chance to attract future eyeballs. And future viewers will be more likely to seek out the series (translation: more likely to subscribe to the service) if they know it has a proper ending and not an abrupt cliffhanger. Consider HBO’s recent strategy, giving the acclaimed but low-rated “Treme” a shortened final season in 2013 and green-lighting “Looking” for one final farewell movie in 2016.
Have you watched season two of “Sense8” on Netflix? If so, will you be joining the online campaign to #RenewSense8? Check out Smith’s galvanizing tweet below, discuss this with your fellow TV fans in our forums and keep up with all the latest Gold Derby entertainment news.
This might be a good time to start making some noise. https://t.co/N08EgzD8E4
— Brian J. Smith (@BrianJacobSmith) May 30, 2017