From the creators of The Matrix and Babylon 5 comes this tense series in which eight people can telepathically experience each other’s lives.
It’s best to go into this unspoiled and let the show explain everything to you. But basically: eight people, scattered across the world, discover that they’re sensates; through telepathy, they can access each others’ thoughts and skills, as well as communicate with one another. (As if a force awakens* within them!)
*This show has nothing to do with Star Wars, but LOOK HOW TOPICAL I AM.
Aml Ameen as Capheus
Hey, it’s Alby from The Maze Runner! Capheus is JOY PERSONIFIED. If joy was a bus driver with a Jean-Claude Van Damme obsession, I mean.
Tina Desai as Kala
Kala is a pharmacist and a devout Hindu that’s about to marry the perfect man. Only problem: he’s not perfect for her.
Miguel Ángel Silvestre as Lito
I’ll let the show reveal Lito’s deal, but I will say that his wardrobe contains an obscene amount of floral shirts.
Jamie Clayton as Nomi
Nomi is a hacktivist and a blogger, whose holy terror of a mother is a shoo-in for the Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting, given how far she’ll go to in refusing to acknowledge that Nomi is a trans woman.
Tuppence Middleton as Riley
Riley is a DJ, which seems like one of those jobs that are much more common in TV and movies than they are IRL. Meanwhile, Tuppence Middleton is a graduate of the Rose McIver School of Pulling Off White-Blonde Hair.
Doona Bae as Sun
Between being a business exec at her family’s company and a growing star in the underground kickboxing world, Sun interacts with her share of assholes. Fortunately, she can also totally take care of said assholes.
Brian J. Smith as Will
Maybe this actor has a knack for playing law enforcement types, because he was an FBI trainee in Quantico and he’s a police officer here. Anyway, Will’s reactions are truly beauties to behold. (AS ARE HIS ARMS.)
Max Riemelt as Wolfgang
On the other side of the law is Wolfgang, a safe-cracker born to a family heavily involved with organized crime. A family that he hates. Like, a lot.
Freema Agyeman as Amanita
Alfonso Herrera and Eréndira Ibarra as Hernando and Daniela
Hernando and Daniela are from Lito’s story, and THEY ARE BOTH PRECIOUS TO ME. Not just because of instances like the photo above, in which they lounge around half-clothed. Like Will, Hernando is a master of the reaction, esp. of the snarky variety. And Dani is quite delightful in her own way, too.
Naveen Andrews as Jonas
Sayid! Balraj! I’m always happy to see Naveen Andrews show up, even if he mostly serves as a source of cryptic exposition for the newbie sensates. Or, as one could say… a sensate sensei. (Terrible pun, I know, and probs already made zillions of times in the seven months that this show has been available. BUT I REGRET NOTHING.)
Daryl Hannah as Angelica
Whlie Angelica’s role is significant, her screen time is not. So if Daryl’s your main draw, you might want to pop in something else instead.
Terrence Mann as ???
I don’t want to deprive y’all of learning the silly, fit-for-a-kitten codename that the sensates use for this dude, because it’s pretty terribad — and I find his villainy just as lackluster. (Maybe Netflix has spoiled me with a great villain in Jessica Jones‘ Kilgrave.) And sadly, despite Terrence Mann’s illustrious theatre career, this character never once broke into song and dance.
Given all the storylines that this show juggles, there are LOTS more recognizable actors, esp. those that are more famous in other parts of the world. But this list is ridiculously long enough already, so I’m only pointing out a couple more faces that have also been in YA adaptations.
Christian Oliver as Steiner
OH MEIN GOTT, Wolfgang’s shitty cousin is Luca from The Baby-Sitters Club movie! In retrospect, Luca’s love of berets should have tipped us off that he was up to no good. (I don’t know what happened to my VHS — also the fact that it’s a freaking VHS — but I’m, like, 99% sure Luca wore a beret in some point. OH, THE ’90S.)
Frank Dillane as Shugs
If you’ve ever wondered what Tom Riddle from Half-Blood Prince would look like as a grownup with a nose… well, here you go.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Select Audiences Only
I was initially going to suggest that any potential viewing buddies be fairly open-minded, but this might also be the kind of show that more close-minded people should watch, since it’s very literally about walking in someone else’s shoes. In any case, it’ll def. spark some interesting and thought-provoking discussions.
However, I’m sticking with the label, given the general North American hang-ups over nakedness. There’s a bit of nudity throughout the show: some in non-sexualized context, and some just straight-up sex — even though the sex itself isn’t exactly straight, more often than not.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Low
While this show has some definite fromage from time to time, there’s also a lot to keep track of. But feel free to have libations handy, for the times that the show leans into clichés a little too much.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Excellent
I’ll admit: I actually almost bailed a couple of episodes in, but the show grew more compelling as it progressed and eventually hooked me. It might have its flaws, but Sense8 is an ambitious and original feat to experience.