Lana and Andy Wachowski are about to branch out into a new medium, and anticipation is high as audiences ponder whether their particular brand of storytelling might fare better on the streaming platform Netflix than in cinemas. Since the mixed reactions to 2012’s Cloud Atlas, and the undeniable disappointment of the recent Jupiter Ascending, the heady days of The Matrix brilliance seem increasingly to be a fading memory. For this reason, the arrival of the first trailer for Sense8 is a significant development.
Woven together with a seemingly omnipresent Naveen Andrews, we find eight characters suddenly and inexplicably linked through their own senses. Executive producer Grant Hill outlined the premise of the series to Games Radar.
“At its heart it’s a drama, it’s love stories, it’s contemporary, so it doesn’t have that futuristic element. It has this one basic conceit, which is very much the core of the project – what these Sense8s are. Where this series starts, you identify these eight characters, very different lives, and at about the same time they all experience a really violent vision from out of nowhere. They individually feel very alone, not to mention freaked out. As it goes on they don’t have the violent visions anymore, but things are slightly out of whack. The characters starts to see these flashes from somebody else’s lives in places they don’t know about.”
While each episode is written by Lana and Andy Wachowski, along with their co-creator J. Michael Straczynski, the filmmakers have made room for fellow distinctive directors to get involved. The Wachowskis directed seven of the twelve episodes, while two were helmed by James McTeigue (V For Vendetta), two by Tom Twyker (Run Lola Run) and one by renowned visual effects supervisor, Dan Glass (Batman Begins). The cast is led by Jamie Clayton (Hung) and Max Riemelt (Warsaw ’44), and also includes Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who), Doona Bae (Cloud Atlas), Tina Desai (The Second Best Marigold Hotel) and Daryl Hannah (Hawaii Five-O).
This first trailer is notable for two things: phenomenal sound design and stunning visual impact. These ensure that this preview footage perfectly encapsulates why this union between Netflix and the Wachowskis could well be a match made in heaven. The filmmakers love their sprawling, complex, layered tales which have proven in recent years to be poorly conceived for cinema. The limited series structure should allow their most intricate concepts room to breathe, while maintaining tightly paced action and innovative camera-work – all of which are signature Wachowski moves.
With the whole first series of Sense8 due to arrive on Netflix on June 5th 2015, we should soon see whether Lana and Andy Wachowski have finally found their creative home.