J. Michael Straczynski On His Netflix Series Sense8

JMS returns to TV. (Well, sort of.)

By Rudie Obias | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

sense8With original offerings such as House of Cards, the fourth season of Arrested Development, Orange Is the New Black, and Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove, Netflix has been the toast of pop culture over the last year. The online streaming service is the pinnacle of online TV and attracts the best of the best in movies and TV. One of Netflix’s more exciting projects in the works is Sense8, a science fiction series from J. Michael Straczynski and the Wachowskis.

Sense8 surrounds eight people with different backgrounds who spontaneously develop the ability to connect with each other telepathically. Straczynski explained how he got involved with the new series and why the Wachowskis wanted to create something new for television instead of returning to the big screen after the release of Cloud Atlas. Straczynski told Comic Book Resources:

After doing a truckload of amazing films, Andy and Lana began looking for new challenges and thought it could be really cool to try their hands at television. Since I have that background and it was all still new to them, Lana invited me up to San Francisco for several days to toss some ideas back and forth.

Straczynski has an extensive background working on television with credits on notable sci-fi shows such as Babylon 5, Jeremiah, and The New Twilight Zone. He got his star in animation with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and The Real Ghostbusters in the ’80s. Of course, the Wachowskis made The Matrix trilogy, the recent Cloud Atlas, and the upcoming Jupiter Ascending.

Straczynski continued:

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.

Honestly, it sounds like Sense8 could be a spiritual spinoff or companion to Cloud Atlas. Both stories examine how a small connection can branch off into something bigger and more important. Like Cloud Atlas, Sense8 appears to be a global series and will most likely begin with the individuals discovering their new powers and then slowly coming together from all around the world in the course of one season. Thankfully, with Netflix, we can watch all of the first season in one convenient binge-watching session.

Straczynski also confirmed that Sense8 would be an international TV series with characters and locations from all around the globe. The series will shoot in sound stages in the Wachowskis’ native Chicago, but the production will also travel to the various countries with the cast and crew for the international portions of Sense8.

It’s good to see Netflix branching into sci-fi programming. Considering the success of its earlier original series, subscribers will mostly likely tune in to Sense8, just because it’s on Netflix and convenient.

Netflix didn’t announce an exact date for when Sense8 will be available for streaming, but the service revealed the series will be ready for late fall 2014. As for the Wachowskis, Jupiter Ascending will open on July 25, 2014, in 3D and IMAX.