Netflix has canceled its original sci-fi drama Sense8 after two seasons, the streaming service announced Thursday. The show, which was created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski, followed eight strangers who suddenly experience an inexplicable psychic connection and was notable for having multiple LGBTQ characters among its ensemble cast. Its final 10 episodes were released in May.
Netflix’s vice president of original content Cindy Holland said in a statement:
After 23 episodes, 16 cities and 13 countries, the story of the Sense8 cluster is coming to an end. It is everything we and the fans dreamed it would be: bold, emotional, stunning, kickass and outright unforgettable. Never has there been a more truly global show with an equally diverse and international cast and crew, which is only mirrored by the connected community of deeply passionate fans all around the world. We thank Lana, Lilly, Joe and Grant [Hill, a producer] for their vision and the entire cast and crew for their craftsmanship and commitment.
Whereas cancellations of its original shows were once rare for Netflix, the streaming service also announced last week that Baz Luhrmann’s series The Get Down had been canceled after just a single two-part season, a first for the network. Marco Polo was also axed earlier this year, while Bloodline’s demise was announced in September 2016. All of these shows came with blockbuster-tier price tags and incredibly ambitious visionaries at the helm. (Earlier this month, Sense8 producer Roberto Malerba reportedly said that the cost of each episode—around $9 million—would be a big deciding factor for whether it got a third season.)
Because Netflix doesn’t disclose its ratings, it’s hard to know how popular they were outside of their devoted fan bases, but perhaps those numbers weren’t enough to justify their costs. And yet Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently suggested that the network’s original content is too successful. “Our hit ratio is way too high right now,” he told CNBC. “I’m always pushing the content team: We have to take more risks. You have to try more crazy things, because we should have a higher cancel rate overall.”
Read more in Slate:
- “Here’s the Best Queer Scene in Sense8”
- June Thomas on why Sense8 was the most overlooked show of 2015 for Slate’s TV Club
- “Sense8 Is Back, Preaching the Power of Empathy for Queers—and Everybody Else”