With its still-mostly-unique binge-centric approach to programming, Netflix is the sort of creative incubator that inspires writers to say that the story they're telling could only have been told at Netflix.
That's not always true.
It is, however, probably true when it comes to "Sense8," an almost description-proof sci-fi drama from "Babylon 5" creator J. Michael Straczynski and "Matrix" masterminds The Wachowskis.
"You literally drop the audience into the middle of the story and because again we’re staying with subjective point of view, the audience only knows as much as the characters know," Straczynski tells me. "As the characters figure out over the course of the next X number of episodes what’s going on, like a mystery structure, the audience also figures it out. And we knew that that would be really, really difficult to pull off on a regular network."
Nearly every piece of that quote may be an understatement. With a cast of variably familiar international actors shooting in London, Mumbai, Mexico City, Berlin, Nairobi, San Francisco and Reykjavik, "Sense8" does indeed drop both the characters and viewers into intriguing an scenario that involves consciousness-sharing (and much more) and says, "OK. Stick with this until you figure it out."
Straczynski is confident that viewers will, indeed, be able to take this journey, which begins on Netflix at 12:01 a.m. PT on Friday, June 5.
"I think that we are looking at evolution that allows for more complex storytelling, more depth of characterization and more complexity than we’ve had in the past," he says.
In our conversation, we talked about some of the surprising and not-so-surprising challenges of the show's global scale -- Time-zones, for example, are a pain -- and just a few pieces of what sounds like a mighty complicated production.
Straczynski also discusses his conviction that audiences are amenable to this kind of hard sci-fi and hints at the five-season plan he already has in mind.
Hopefully this interview and our podcast and review coverage of "Sense8" are at least conveying its ambition...
Check out the full Q&A below.