How to watch Sense8 – what’s it about and who’s in the cast?

The Netflix original sci-fi about mysteriously connected strangers broke boundaries with its focus on topical issues

Sense8 characters

A Netflix original, Sense8 takes what might seem like a familiar sci-fi trope — ordinary people discovering they are mysteriously connected through supernatural powers — but uses it to explore progressive and topical issues like gender, sexuality and religion. Created by the Wachowskis (The Matrix, V for Vendetta), who are also trans women, alongside J Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), the series built a small but extremely passionate fanbase when it first aired in 2015.

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Where can I watch Sense8?

Sense8 is available on Netflix.

What is Sense8 about?

Eight strangers, living in seven different countries, begin to discover they are ‘sensates’—linked through their ability to feel the others’ feelings and think their thoughts. Meanwhile, another sensate, working for a mysterious organisation called the BPO, is determined to capture the group. As they work to figure out how they are connected and why they’re being targeted, the strangers begin to influence—and sometimes save—each other’s lives.

Sense8 is action-packed, but with a twisting, carefully paced plot that challenges viewers to piece together clues as the narrative unfolds.

How many seasons of Sense8 are there? How many episodes are in each season?

There are two 12-episode long seasons of Sense 8, plus a one-off two-hour special released after the second season.

Who is in the cast of Sense8?

Designated Survivor star Jamie Clayton plays Nomi Marks, a trans activist and blogger living in San Francisco.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 07:  Jamie Clayton attends Netflix's "Sense8" Series Finale Fan Screening at ArcLight Hollywood on June 7, 2018 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
Jamie Clayton (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

The other American sensate, Chicago cop Will Gorski, is played by Stargate Universe actor Brian J. Smith.

German actor Max Riemelt plays Berlin-based jewel thief Wolfgang.

Tuppence Middleton (Dickensian) plays Riley “Blue” Gunnarsdóttir, an Icelandic DJ living in London.

Nairobi minibus driver Capheus “Van Damn” Onyango is played by Aml Ameen (The Bill) in season one. Ameen left the show after season one and was replaced by Toby Onwumere in season two.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 07: Toby Onwumere attends Netflix's "Sense8" Series Finale Fan Screening at ArcLight Hollywood on June 7, 2018 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
Toby Onwumere  (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

Korean actor Doona Bae, who previously starred in Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending — also by the Wachowskis — plays underground kickboxer Sun Bak.

Tina Desai (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) stars as intelligent Indian pharmacist Kala Dandekar.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 07:  Tina Desai attends Netflix's "Sense8" Series Finale Fan Screening at ArcLight Hollywood on June 7, 2018 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
Tina Desai (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

Fictional actor Lito Rodriguez is played by real-life actor Miguel Ángel Silvestre, who also plays Franklin Jurado in Narcos.

Why was Sense8 cancelled?

According to Netflix executive Ted Sarandos, Sense 8’s audience wasn’t big enough to sustain its production costs and the show was cancelled after two seasons, ending on a major cliffhanger.

A massive, fan-driven campaign resulted in the release of a two-hour finale special that wrapped up the loose plot-lines and answered some of the series’ most pressing questions.

Where was Sense8 set? Where was Sense 8 filmed?

German actor Max Riemelt is pictured on the set of Netflix TV sci-fi series "Sense8" in the Montmartre area of Paris on october 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Geoffroy Van der Hasselt / GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT        (Photo credit should read GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images)
German actor Max Riemelt (Geofrroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images)

The series was set—and filmed—in cities all around the world, no doubt one of the reasons production costs were so high. Locations for the first series included nine cities in eight countries, including Berlin, Mumbai, Nairobi and Seoul. The second series was even more ambitious, filming in 16 cities and 11 countries including Malta, Brazil, Italy and Scotland.

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Some filming was scheduled with major events and festivals in mind, including the Dyke March in San Francisco and Christmas in Berlin.