Netflix Defends Sense8 Cancellation

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It’s been a rough couple of weeks for fans of Netflix’s Sense8. After the second season premiered to strong reviews and positive reception from viewers, the streaming service shockingly announced its cancellation.

A big-budget project such as this – coupled with its lengthy production process and costly VFX – meant that Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s series, one created in tandem with J. Michael Straczynski, really needed to hit the big leagues in order to be considered a success. And unfortunately, Sense8 never quite reached the dizzying heights of, say, Orange is the New Black or House of Cards, the result of which is a cancellation that many fans will no doubt consider to be premature.

As such, a petition sprung up that urged Netflix to change their mind, and while it garnered a tremendous amount of support, the company stood by their decision, taking to the show’s official Tumblr page earlier this week to post the following message:

“To our Sense8 family… We’ve seen the petitions. We’ve read the messages. We know you want to #RenewSense8, and we wish we could #BringBackSense8 for you. The reason we’ve taken so long to get back to you is because we’ve thought long and hard here at Netflix to try to make it work but unfortunately we can’t. Thank you for watching and hope you’ll stay close with your cluster around the world. #SensatesForever“

So, it seems like it’s a done deal then. Sense8 will not be returning and at the Produced By conference this weekend, Netflix head honcho Ted Sarandos defended the company’s decision to cut both the Wachowski’s show as well as The Get Down, which also got cancelled recently.

We couldn’t support those economics. If you put all your money into something that a very few people are watching, eventually you’ll have nothing for people to watch. … But relative to what it cost to make [The Get Down], we couldn’t put together enough audience to support those economics. … Similarly, the audience [for Sense8] was very passionate but just not large enough to support the economics of something that big, even in our platform.

Reportedly, The Get Down and Sense8 cost $12 and $9 million, respectively, making them some of Netflix’s most expensive productions. As such, what Sarandos says makes perfect sense. There’s no denying that each show has a dedicated, passionate fanbase, but there just weren’t enough people tuning in to justify keeping the series around.

That’s obviously not what fans want to hear, but at the end of the day, Netflix is a business and they can’t be pouring money into something that doesn’t produce a return. It’s unfortunate, but it’s how things work and while there’s always the chance that either Sense8 or The Get Down may one day find a home elsewhere, we wouldn’t hold our breath.

For now, it’s best to just accept the cancellations and move on, knowing that we still have two tremendous seasons (or in the latter’s case, a two-part season) of each show to hold onto.

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