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The Definitive Ranking Of The Nine "Sense8" Story Lines

The Wachowskis' new foray into television has a lot to offer. But when you have eight main characters in eight different parts of the world IN ADDITION TO the overarching sci-fi plot, you're going to have to kick your attention span into high gear!

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Even before "Sense8" quietly premiered on June 5, devoted Netflix subscribers were already stoked for the promises of amazing cinematography, an expansion of the boundaries of science fiction, and the return of Daryl Hannah. / Via

Albeit this time with both eyes and non-amphibious lower appendages. Tarantino not included.

What the Wachowskis delivered was a visually gorgeous, well-acted, and expansive series of character studies, all united by a somewhat under-explained thread involving Terrence Mann and Naveen Andrews. / Via


What we have are nine mostly unrelated plots, each with its own benefits and flaws. If you're considering tuning in to "Sense8," here is a ranking of the story lines so you know which are worth the time and…well, which can be skimmed. / Via

If only to be able to understand the telepathic orgy in episode six. Yes, that's a thing that happened. And it's wonderful.

9. Berlin, Germany / Wolfgang Bogdanow / Via

Multiple gratuitous nude sequences of Max Riemelt may have caused a sexual reawakening in a good portion of viewers—cough—but the fact remains that the character, with his irrelevant crime schemes and flashbacks to daddy issues, merely isn't that interesting.

(But Riemelt does a great job with the material! Strong acting throughout!)

8. London, England, and Reykjavík, Iceland / Riley Blue / Via

See that softly bewildered gaze? Yeah, this plot is about 50% Tuppence Middleton merely making that face. There is, to its credit, an eleventh-hour, gut-wrenching addition to the story that works surprisingly well. But the pacing until that point is so plodding, not even Middleton's occasional heartwarming smile can save this story line.

7. Seoul, South Korea / Bak Sun / Via

I was beyond thrilled that the Wachowskis chose to work once again with Bae Doona (I'm putting her last name first, as is the Korean custom); she showed impressive range in her several "Cloud Atlas" roles. But while this story tackles important and universal issues like sexism, women in prison, corruption, and familial relationships, Bae is woefully underused. Sun is written as very stoic, and while her sang-froid is appropriate for her martial arts sequences, the character eventually appears wooden.

6. Chicago, U.S.A. / Will Gorski / Via

I'm going to judge the storyline centered on Russell Tovey I MEAN BRIAN J. SMITH (they could be twins, right?) minus most of the parts that relate to the overarching plot (the interactions with Riley and Jonas, etc.). What remains is a bunch of clichés including being "thrown off the case," the skeptical partner, and numerous daddy issues, to name a few. Besides Smith's demonstrated ability to serve as a quasi-leading man, the sole bright spot of this storyline is the probing commentary on police brutality against African-American people.

5. Various locations / Jonas, Angelica, and Whispers / Via

This particular entry is the overarching plot of the series, and it's a bit of a shame it didn't get the attention it deserved. Oddly absent for a good portion of the season, the conflict over the Sensates receives relatively little attention and even less context even when it is directly referenced. Now, this plot succeeds in its slow teasing of the big picture, but at the cost of setting up an abrupt and somewhat unfulfilling finale.

4. Nairobi, Kenya / Capheus / Via

Aml Ameen shines in this role and shows some excellent comedic timing, but the strength of this story is largely limited to his acting. Yes, there are a number of touching moments involving Capheus's love for his mother, who is badass and dying of AIDS, but the plot line relies a bit much on crime-related violence and the occasional car chase.

3. Mumbai, India / Kala Dandekar / Via

Tina Desai succeeds in adding emotional depth to a character who could have very easily been rather one-note. As the season progresses, what began as an underwhelming and hackneyed subplot becomes a rather engrossing musing on tropes such as religious coexistence and altruism.

2. Mexico City, Mexico / Lito Rodríguez / Via

It was so hard to choose a GIF for this plot because there were so many options! The cliché of a closeted actor and his secret lover is turned on its head when the actor's beard ENJOYS spending time with the couple, leading to a frank discussion about privacy, security, domestic violence, and honesty. Miguel Ángel Silvestre (Lito) has a tender monologue or three at various points throughout the story, but it is Alfonso Herrera's wide-eyed enthusiasm and wit as Hernando (the other half of the couple) that often steals scenes.

1. San Francisco, U.S.A. / Nomi Marks / Via

The best of the best. I can't tell who's better—Jamie Clayton as the grounded, trans hacktivist Nomi or Freema Agyeman as the consistently upstaging girlfriend Amanita. Regardless of the frequent intrusions of the Wachowskis' signature hyper-reality into this plot (honestly, I didn't buy the whole forced lobotomy bit for a second), these two characters are a beacon of hope, really, that representation of LGBTQ relationships—in this case, a multi-ethnic, cis-trans, lesbian one—on television is only improving over time. Nomi and Amanita carry "Sense8" on their shoulders, and it's really because of them that the show excels.

So what do you think? Prospective viewers, will you give "Sense8" a try? / Via

Here's hoping that season two is green-lit soon!

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