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We Want More Sense8, But Does How We Get It Matter?

Many of us were distraught by the news that Netflix had cancelled Sense8. I have a very personal connection to that show, and I know that it provided some much-needed representation for a wide swath of people. There has been talk among fans about the hope that another network or platform will step up to the plate and save the show, as has happened for so many others. Now, one has: and it’s porn site, xHamster.

As reported by IndieWire, xHamster stepped up to the plate and offered to produce a new season of Sense8, seeing similarities in their sex-positivity and flouting of mainstream norms. In a statement, the site said:

“We’re huge admirers of the show, as are many of our fans. Obviously, for both us and the Wachowskis this would be a big move, and the logistics would need to be worked out. This isn’t just about switching a network, this is about switching the way a show is delivered, and thus how the show is produced and what is produced. Does it open up possibilities for the storyline if the show is moved away from a mainstream corporation and onto a platform that’s not sex-phobic? Does a mainstream audience feel comfortable moving to a platform known for adult? What we admire about the Wachowskis, and about the show itself is that it takes risks. I think that we’re a nascent network, and I’d love to hear what they would do with us.”

They also make the point that xHamster has more views than a lot of mainstream publications of any sort, and that the site would be a “natural fit.”

They’re not wrong about a lot of that. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that xHamster has more views than even Netflix (though we’ll never really know for sure, since Netflix is cagey about their numbers), so the show would likely get to more people as a result. They’re also not wrong about there being lines that even a streaming service like Netflix wouldn’t cross with regard to sexuality.

There’s a big part of me that would love for this to be how Sense8 gets another season: in a completely subversive way that goes around what has become mainstream television (streaming isn’t necessarily the adventurous place it was anymore).

However, a big part of what makes Sense8 so amazing is that it presents the sex and inclusion it presents as normal. It shows sex as it is between partners of all types. The orgies between the sensates, while hot, aren’t really done for titillation so much as they allow the characters to be vulnerable with each other in ways most people could never be.

Unlike porn, which is all about fantasy fulfillment and seeing who can do the most athletic and strenuous positions, the sex in Sense8 is grounded and real. The only thing that makes it “groundbreaking” or “shocking” is that we don’t usually see sex between certain types of people represented anywhere. It would be different if xHamster were starting its own streaming service for non-porn, sex-positive content. That could be interesting. But nothing like that was mentioned.

So, if I were Lana Wachowski, I’d be hesitant about accepting an offer from xHamster, not because porn is inherently disreputable, but because the fact that they both have open attitudes about sex doesn’t make them the same. Having a porn site present Sense8 would make it seem as though the sex on Sense8 were a fetish, or not real. Something to be consumed as a fantasy rather than a depiction and representation of something true.

This is likely all moot, as Netflix owns Sense8, and likely won’t give up the rights to it so easily. However, if anyone is going to deliver a new season of Sense8, I would hope that it is a platform or network that would seat Sense8 alongside other mainstream shows, because it deserves to be there.

What do you think? Does it matter how Sense8 S3 returns, or is it simply enough that it exist in the world? Let us know your thoughts below!

(via Indiewire, image: Netflix)

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