After blowing our minds with the cult hit Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski is coming back to the small screen — and he’s bringing the Wachowskis along with him.
Straczynski has partnered with Matrix directors Andy and Lana Wachowski to create the mysterious new 10-episode Netflix series Sense8, and has finally opened up to explain what the project is actually about. Spoiler alert: It sounds awesome.
The show will follow eight people from across the planet who simultaneously develop telepathic abilities. The series will delve into their journey, as well as the reaction from the world. Think a smarter (and hopefully better) version of The Tomorrow People, basically. With Straczynski and the Wachowskis all involved, this really could be a gem.
Here’s how Straczynski described the series, which sounds like a great high-concept think piece:
“We started out at one point talking about how evolution involves creating ever greater circles of empathy: You belong to your family, then you belong to your tribe, then two tribes link up and now you have empathy for your people on this side of the river, and you’re against the people on the other side of the river … on and on through villages, cities, states and nations. One day we’ll hit the planetary level but we’re not there yet. So what if a more literal form of empathy could be triggered in eight individuals around the planet, in India, the U.S., London, Mumbai, Nairobi and elsewhere, who suddenly became mentally aware of each other, able to communicate as directly as if they were in the same room.
How would they react? What would they do? To what degree could they accept each other? What does it mean? And what would the world think about people with this ability? Would they embrace it, or hunt them down as threats to our own evolution? How would they survive? It would give us a perfect platform to do a show that was loaded with action, big ideas, some amazing stunts that no one’s done before, and play to a planetary audience.”
As for how the series actually came together, Straczynski says Netflix was the first and only distributor they met with. The streaming service snatched up the project before they could even make it to anyone else for pitch meetings.
He also noted that, even though this is a Netflix production, we shouldn't take that to mean it’ll have a low-ish sci-fi budget. In fact, they’ll be shooting on location for most of those globetrotting scenes:
“We plan to block shoot this as a 10-hour movie, and the best part is that we’re going to be shooting in the very same locations we describe, meaning we don’t fake Mumbai, we go to Mumbai, we go to Nairobi, we go to London. The plan is to shoot as much as we can on stages in Chicago, then the Wachowskis, I and two or three other directors will blitz out and shoot simultaneously in seven different countries, taking along the appropriate cast.”
What do you think? Do you plan on checking this one out?