Netflix's Sense8 is one of the most uniquely progressive shows available at the moment. The Sci-fi drama follows a group of strangers separated by geography, gender, race, and sexuality, who discover they are bonded to one another in a shared consciousness, able to advise and help one another by sharing strengths, talents, and sometimes just a different perspective.
During season 1 of the show (from Matrix creators The Wachowski Sisters), we got to know the individual Sense8 members, and learned of the mythos surrounding their special connection. That journey involved people who are usually worlds apart having to find the sort of common ground and intimacy that we often idealize in the real world.
However, in the time since Sense8 season 1 aired on Netflix in 2015, the world (and even The Wachowskis themselves) has been drastically changed.
Popculture.com had a chance to speak with Sense8 actor Brian J. Smith, who plays Chicago cop Will Gorski in the show. When talking to Smith about the challenges of crafting season 2, the actor touched on what it was like trying to film the new season in many different international locales, as the rise of Trumpism was happening all around them:
"I hate to get political, and believe this does go beyond politics: I think after the most recent election; I think after Brexit; I think after the rise of nationalism in Western Europe, I think a lot of people who thought we were making a lot of progress - in terms of inclusiveness, in terms of race relations, in terms of the LGTBQ community - of being accepted or embraced by the communities they live in, I think a lot of people walked away from these events feeling very scared. Feeling very rebuked, in a way, that this constant edging toward progress and feeling that we're all more and more connected, seemed to hit this really interesting roadblock - and for a lot of reasons! Because I know there are a lot of people out there who are scared and wanted to react to the progress being made, and maybe it was happening too fast for some people - who knows? That's not for me to decide.prevnext
The Election Effect
As it happened, Sense8 season 2 was already in production as the 2016 Election unfolded. When talking to Brian J. Smith, we asked how the ominous and sometimes shocking turns of that election affected what they were doing with the show. As it so happens:
"It's so funny: when we were filming, the primaries were just starting, and Trump was kind of like a joke at the time? Like 'Ha, yeah, Trump is right for president, that's hilarious,' and we really had no idea [his win] was going to happen. Also, at the time we were filming the Brussels attack happened - I remember I had to go to the Berlin airport the day after the Brussels attack happened - it seemed to be the summer of terror. And the world, while we were out there, did feel different. It felt more dangerous, and a little more violent than when we did season 1.
And I think that's definitely informed the show; I think you can feel that sense of unease in the second season, and to me it would be very intriguing to see where we went with season 3. Especially a show like Sense8 in Trump Era. I'm sure Lana [Wachowski] has a lot to say about it (Laughs). I'm sure she's got a lot of ideas. I hope we get to do a season 3, because I'd selfishly love to know how this would affect the story going forward."
You can catch Brian J. Smith in Sense8 season 2, which is now streaming in its entirety on Netflix.0comments