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When Netflix decided to spend $5 billion in original content, who knew it would all be Sci-Fi! Look, I’m not complaining. Science Fiction is clearly a great to tool for evaluating our everyday problems. Unlike some of the other Sci-Fi originals, Netflix has to offer, Sense8 is intelligent and tackles a shit load of problems. I’d list them, but just google protest signs, 21st Century and you’ll get it. Aside from the issues this show tackles, it also scandalously offers full frontal male nudity, the most progressive sex scene I have ever seen, and man on man intimacy… There are moments when you really start to see past gender, race, sexuality, all of it. YOU REALLY SEE PAST IT. I have never seen this accomplished by a television show before. But, I’ll stop with this intro bull shit and just get to it.

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Sense8 follows eight strangers (Sensate, Sense8… play on words) who very quickly discover they are connected. From all over the world, suddenly these strangers are able to see each other (imagine a mental astral projection), share each other’s knowledge (imagine suddenly knowing how to speak Korean because I can), and even carry out actions through each other’s bodies (think possession). Sounds great, right? Well, it would be… If they all didn’t have a gang of their own problems to deal with, not to mention the fact that their being hunted. But, luckily these people are all very skilled in their own ways and when you got abilities like these, you can get by with a little help from your friends. I was brought to tears, seeing these characters struggling alone and afraid and having their peers come to their rescue. In their most vulnerable moments, they have 7 friends who can see it all and love them, unconditionally. I hope you have that in your life. There is nothing more beautiful than helping a neighbor in need.

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This show intelligently crosses the very, outwardly different world of these people who share a common inner reality. It seamlessly puts you in the shoes of someone you thought you didn’t identify with. These character accept each other, no matter their differences and it begs you to do the same, I honestly was sooo incredibly shocked by the male on male intimacy. I don’t group-dance-sensates-boys-edition-sense8-40127175-500-282have the words. Even when it’s sexual, it’s not. It’s a glimmer of this Utopia, many of the sexually disenfranchised have hoped for. It allows for this openness that society denies you, a fluidity, the thought of which, honestly, brings me to tears. The connection between these people is beyond any category we have used to divide us and I hope we are all able to find connections like this.The group montages of this show are so artfully done. In television, there is often a fear of silence, networks shy away from scenes where there isn’t much dialogue, for fear of “losing” audiences. But, these montages are so captivating and really help the story on its journey. It will also give you hope that in your darkest days, you can find joy and that when you feel the most secluded, maybe you’re not alone.  This show is an example of what is possible, when we dare to be honest. It’s diverse. It’s real. it’s love.

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IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT SEX!

Where to start? Where to start? How about I talk about each character… they really make the show.

CHARACTERS

All these characters are exactly the same age (Yeah, they share birthdays)

Capheus “Van Damme” Onyango

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“Van Damme” is the driver of a privately owned mini-bus in Nairobi. Dude is seriously the sweetest guy in the world, with so much goddamn integrity the shit is insane. He’s the type that would be dying of starvation, find a million dollars in cash and turn it in to the authorities.

Skills

Problem Solver Like for real! When you’ve got nothing, you pretty much do anything to fix a problem and this man is brave and creative.

Driven Like literally, he is driven. He can drive a vehicle like it’s nobody’s business (a skill that comes in handy a few times… and not just for himself). But, also, this man is driven to succeed. He admires Jean Claude Van Damme so much for his abilities, his work ethic, and determination. He does his best to mimic the qualities and he succeeds.

Obstacles

His mother is very sick from AIDS and they are quite poor. There are ways for him to make money, but many of them put him in mortal danger. Can he provide for his mother, keep his integrity, and stay alive?

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Sun Bak

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Sun Bak is a straigh up “G”. I am not kidding when I say, I want to grow up to be as strong as this woman, both mentally and physically. Sun is a business woman, she works for her father who has been very successful over the years, but could he have been so successful without his daughter? Oh, but that’s not all. Sun Bak is also a bomb ass kick boxer. She’s the type to knock on someone’s door, set a timer for 30 seconds, and by the time the timer runs out…. errybody dead. She is also, by far, the coolest character. She got swag.

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Skills

I will state the obvious first. Sun can kick ass. That’s all I have to say. Just watch the show. But, she is just as strong emotionally as she is physically. She makes sacrifices when others are too afraid to step up. She takes care of business.

Obstacles

Sun lost her mother at a young age and her father and brother don’t respect her as much as they should. But, because she is such an amazing woman, she still cares to protect them, but in order to that, what must she give up?

Nomi Marks

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Nomi is a hacktivist who happens to be trans. Homegirl is intelligent, she’s been hacking alongside seasoned adults since she was a child and if it’s connected to the net, she will find it. Nomi fights for justice at every chance she gets…. also, her and her girlfriend are the cutest.

Skills

Like I said, girlfriend can hack. But, she is also very connected, she knows people in the hacking world, which is very useful. But, I don’t want to down play her hacking skills, this woman saves the day for the group a few times. Nomi also holds steadfast to her beliefs, which is a skill more people could stand to have.

Obstacles

Nomi’s mother is a piece of work, and while I don’t want to give too much away, when the big bad comes for Nomi, her mother hands her right on over, in the worst way possible, legally…. Yeah, her mother believes all of Nomi’s problems are rooted in her being trans, so she is easily manipulated when the big bad comes for her. What does the big bad want? To take away her ability to think….

Side Note

Nomi and her girlfriend are feel like such an established couple. They seem real and it is refreshing to see. You don’t feel they have been cheapened for public consum[tion. It is wonderful to see. I am so happy for all the lesbian women who have felt under-represented in television. Not that this makes up for everything, but it’s a start.

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Kala Dandekar

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Kala is a young Hindu woman living in Mumbai, working as a pharmacist. She has a heart of gold and a child like joy to her.

Skills

Her pharmacy skills save the day from time to time (she smart!). But, her primary “skill” in my mind, is listening to her heart. During the course of the first season, she is weighing the options in a major life decision and it is very nice to hear her be honest with herself about how she feels, in moments when most of us, might just say what we think we should. Her decisions are complicated, but… they are her own to make.

Obstacles

What does she want from life? Love? Is it more about a feeling or about who the person is?

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Riley Blue

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Riley is a London DJ, from Iceland. She’s got a reputation for being sick on the turntables. But her troubles seem to be keeping from turning a new leaf.

Skills

Riley’s need and desire to overcome a troubled past, has proven to be her greatest skill; the ability to continue on.

Obstacles

Riley believes she was cursed as a child. She was warned to stay away from her homeland or her loved ones would all die. She didn’t believe it at first, but then life happened. Unfortunately, she never fully dealt with these issues, so it seems the universe plans on throwing it in her face until she faces it.

Wolfgang Bogdanow

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This my nigga. This dude is tough, sensitive, loyal, and sexy as hell. He the type of dude you get pregnant with by accident. Why? Because you never intended to have sex with him, you weren’t even sure you liked him as a person, he’s so quiet. But, one day he let his guard down and before you knew it, you were letting him hit it raw.

Skills

Wolfgang is a locksmith… and a safe cracker. He’s good. He will find his way inside the box. He’s also street smart. He grew up as the black sheep of his neighborhood, so he had to fend for himself and man… over the years that has developed into some serious, serious bad ass-ness. He need his own movie.

Obstacles

His father was abusive. I’m sure you can imagine the ways this surfaces in his everyday life. Also, his “family” is full of crime lords who care more about money than his well being. His childhood best friend is the only family he has, but that also means, he’s got to protect him in the dangerous world of crime they are drowning in. But what if he fell in love? Would he give it all up?

Also, he is so sexxxy. That’s difficult.

 

Lito Rodriguez

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This the baby daddy you got on purpose. I know I am bias, I know! But this man is so charming and the character is so well rounded. He wears his heart on his sleeve. His is sensitive. He is a coward. He is brave. He is shameful. He is proud. He is daring, But, most of all, this man is a ball of love. This show is more of an ensemble piece, but sometimes Lito seems to be the main character and, at times, the comic relief. There is nothing more life affirming than hearing this man describe his love.

Skills

Lito is an actor, so he has a way with words and is more comfortable navigating dangerous situations involving elaborate pretend. He saves the day a few times, this way. Lito is also guided by his heart. He wants to do what is right. He wants to love. He is so in touch with his emotions that he comes to tears, often. It’s easy to feel what he feels. This is a useful skill.

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Obstacles

Lito is a closeted Mexican film star…. yeah. In the land of Machismo, he is king, but what happens when he must choose between his career and his loving boyfriend (who is fine as fuck). So, far he has managed to get to get the best of both worlds, while those around him have sacrificed, now it’s his turn. His world is turned upside down when the woman he has been leading on in the public eye to maintain his machismo finds out about his love life. His life becomes even more complicated when he sets his apprehension aside, and this woman becomes part of his family; he and his boyfriend develop a special love with this sweet, charming, initially intrusive woman. But this new bond is what also leads the hitting of the fan with the shit. What will he do to respect his boyfriend and protect his former beard/now best friend from an abusive relationship that she has been willing to endure to protect him?

Side Note:

This show does a good job of portraying a loving relationship between two men. It feels well rounded and real and it doesn’t shy away from the physical aspect of their relationship, but doesn’t feel like it exploits it either. I honestly fell in love, just watching Lito and his boyfriend. I was brought to tears. Even in their moments of spent playfully lounging in bed. It’s all you ever hoped you could have, but what you’ve felt society has said, you can’t. I’m so happy there are young gays growing up with shows like this… As much as we think it doesn’t, it makes a difference. I love these men.

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Will Gorski

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Will seems to be the all American Male. He’s white, he’s a cop, and his dad is a legend in the police force. But, will isn’t quite like his peers in blue and everyone tries there best to ignore it, but I’m not sure they can any longer.

Skills

Integrity. Dude wants to do what’s right, even if that means saving a black kid, dying of a gunshot wound, that otherwise would have been left behind. His peers shame him, but he keeps going.  Another skill, even when the outside world tries to get him to deny his reality…. he doesn’t.

Obstacles

Will seems to have had a connection before this group of 8 formed, when he was a child. A young girl was murdered and he could see her, but no one believed him. Everyone around him has done what they can to silence him over they years and get him to “behave” but he can’t take it anymore, even if it means losing the respect of his father.

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iBoy

Netflix clearly has a boner for Science Fiction, because here we have, As DJ Khaled once said, “Another one!” iBoy is a Netflix original Sci-Fi “thriller.” So, here’s the gist of things: Tom is a high school student that lives in a tough neighborhood and is sort of the odd one out. You’ve seen it a million times. He’s got one childhood friend, a crush on a girl, Lucy,  who he is too afraid to talk to, and trauma associated with having lost his parents. I imagine you can see the picture hanging on the wall. Now, let’s focus on the frame. A bunch of the asshole students from the school have been sucked into a gang, because…. why not. I never understood how humans can be that young and that awful to other people, but anyway, here we are. Tom has made plans to stop by Lucy’s flat, for some reason that I don’t remember and frankly, it doesn’t matter. When baby boy arrives, the front door is open…. Here we go. 19484744_unnamedHe looks down the hall way and sees hooded figures leaving his crush’s bedroom as she screams, one of them, filming with their phone. The group of boys, maybe 4 or 5, see Tom and chase him around the building. As he runs, he dials the police and holds the phone up to his ear to speak as one of the, needs an ass whoopin boys, shoots him. Tom wakes up in the hospital some time later, to his grandmother, who is also his caregiver. Like you might expect, he spends most of his time expressing regret for not having done more to stop the gang… Do I need to explain why this is ridiculous? Anyway, as time goes on, it turns out that the chip from his cell phone has been embedded in his brain, in the accident,  and now homeboy got superpowers…. White kids always gettin’ special abilities and shit! That’s fucked up.

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So, there’s a bit of disbelief to suspend, given this plot, but it’s easily done.  I’d like to quickly note, that this film is done surprisingly well for a Netflix original, as far as cinematography goes. I was genuinely surprised. Good for Netflix, gettin’ shit right. The film shines as we see Tom discover his abilities and learn to command them as he and Lucy deal with the aftermath of game_of_thrones_star_maisie_williams_swaps_swords_for_guns_in_first_look_at_netflix_film_iboywhat has happened to the two of them. This film focuses heavily on Tom, but what I am grateful for, is that we are given the opportunity to learn exactly what happened to Lucy, and we get a nice glimpse of what it means to her, as a person, not just a damsel. She is given time to live in front of the camera, so we can see things from her perspective, which I think is very important. Meanwhile, Tom aims at getting revenge against the gang that has hurt him and his Lucy, but in doing so, he may cause more life threatening problems… for EVERYONE. Now that Tom has been “upgraded” how will his relationships change with his best friend, his grandmother, Lucy…. himself? I don’t want to give too much away about the film, but I will say this: We all like films, in which there is a clear underdog for us to cheer on. iBoy has that. We love when characters have special abilities we could only dream of having. iBoy has that. We love watching two people’s attraction for each other slowly meet in the middle. iBoy has that. It’s interesting enough, but we don’t have much to cling to as far as how the characters are written, and while I definitely cared about their well being (I really dislike seeing young people in danger, I immediately start crying), aside from their circumstances, I’m not sure the audience ever develops a true liking of them. The film goes from feeling like a “diet thriller,” if you will, to feeling like a “diet art film.” Don’t get me wrong, this film is worth your time if you are looking for something interesting to watch one Friday evening, you will enjoy it. Will you remember it a week later? I don’t know, but it’s worth your time. Check it out.

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From your career in social media, it’s clear to me that you need to refresh the browser that is your sense of humor. Why not breathe in some fresh comedy from across the pond? There are plenty of talented people in the world who don’t appear on American television. I know… you don’t have the drive to do the research on your own. It’s fine, I’ve done it for you.

I’ll just cut to the chase, Chewing Gum is the shit. It’s funny as fuck. You need to watch it.

There’s no real point in describing the set-up for a comedy, unless the situation is that outrageous. And with Chewing Gum, it’s not. The writing and the performances are what really make this show, but I’ll give you a little something, something to go off of. Chewing Gum follows Tracey, a 24 year old young lady who is a “religious virgin, who wants to have sex and learn more about the world,” according to Wikipedia. The show is written by and stars Michaela Coel. Ms Coel is a straight up “G”! I’m telling you, if she was white and from the US, Millennials would be on this show like wet on water. In real life, Coel is from East London, coming up in school as the only black person in her class… Perfect! Nothing inspires greatness like struggle! She came up in the Poetry and Theatre scene and get this…. The television show Chewing Gum is based on her Senior Project… Yes, you read that right. Her senior project from her college years was adapted into television show…. I mean damn! Homegirl is spoken for, don’t even try and come for you unless she sends for you. Thank you!

The entire cast gives stellar performances. It seems her entire building serves as her supporting ensemble.  Michaela, who, in my opinion, is of the same tribe as Kristen Wiig, Will Smith, maybe even John Leguizamo, breaking the fourth wall and commiting like her life depends on that shit. The scenes in which she explores parts of her sexuality for the first time are some of the funniest. Watch for yourself:

The show is surprisingly articulate when it comes to discussing sex and it really allows for some funny as fuck situations.

I really don’t have anything else to say about the show, there’s no point… Just give it a try. Season one is Netflix, Season two just started over seas in January, so it’ll be some time before we see it. WATCH IT!

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Travelers is co-produced by Showtime & Netflix. Airing first on Showtime and appearing on Netflix two months later. Here’s the basic idea of the show… The future is all fucked up, so in order to fix it, future humans develop the technology to send the consciousness of humans in the future, to the bodies of humans in the past. What happens to the consciousness of the human bodies they take over? Good question. Because it’s the future, they have the records of all past deaths, time and place. So… if Joe is going to die at 2:20 on Wednesday, they send someone back in time, to occupy his body seconds before his death, giving the new being in Joe’s body, time to stop the physical death and carry on in his body. What about Joe? He’s basically dead, his consciousness has been kicked out of his own body… “He was going to die anyway, so what’s the difference?” – seems to be the logic. These being call themselves, Travelers, and they are something like a SWAT team, coming back in groups to carry out missions.

The concept alone had me hooked. It’s a good spin on Sci-Fi. Eric McCormack of Will & Grace fame, stars as the lead. And don’t worry, seeing his familiar face does not take you out of the action of the show, he does a good job of making you forget you knew him. I’d like to keep the plot on ice, as much as possible, because I don’t want to spoil it for you. But, I’ve come up with a few categories to help evaluate the show.

Innovation

The show definitely puts its own spin on time travel, which has been done a million times. The first few episodes enlist some futuristic tools and concepts, I have yet to see. These episodes are probably the most interesting because you are gaining context, learning what tools characters are equipped with, in order to better understand how the characters can navigate the ensuing drama, and when conflict arises, have a better understanding of why the stakes are so high. Cool!

Diversity

Science Fiction is a genre that, more so than most others, gives you an excuse to diversify. Personally, I don’t think it should be that difficult with other genres… suspension of disbelief goes a long way… but, let’s play stupid for a moment and say something like this:

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-Tim Burton

Because Science Fiction is almost always associated with the future and is… FICTION, you can literally do whatever the fuck you want. Race, Gender, Sexuality, Color….. what the fuck does it matter, right? Apparently Not. Travelers is so surprisingly white, it’s frightening. These people can come and jump back in any body, as long as they are about to die… Any. Body. Yet, 4 of the 5 main travelers are white… Three out of five… men! Ya’ll could have jumped back in anyone! Okay, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, just because. Let’s say they jumped back into white bodies for the social benefits. Naw, nigga! One of the white bodies they jump back into is an “intellectually disabled” woman, who is registered with the state and has a social worker… Another white body is a “college aged, drug addict”… Do I need to say more? And the leader of this group…. is a man! A white man! I’m not saying white men can’t do anything, but damn, you could have switched up the formula. Just a bunch of straight white people saving the world, what a missed, mother fucking, opportunity!

Storyline

39511f10-a8aa-0134-195d-060e3e89e053While Travelers focuses on saving the world from impending doom it also follows the lives of the “host” bodies. One of the many laws travelers must follow, is continuing the life of the host body, or the identity of the person they have taken on… Okay, this is an opportunity to discuss a shit load of problems we have today, through the lens of someone from the future, where maybe they have a different perspective, where maybe we find that the absolutes we live by today, in all actuality, mean nothing…. Nope! Doesn’t happen, we just follow these boring ass, repetitive stories of their host lives where almost nothing is solved. It actually gets quite annoying, given how much time they spend on these stories. One traveler is a high school student, struggling with grades and obeying his parents… Who the fuck cares? This is a Showtime/Netflix original, this ain’t Degrassi! Another traveler, the only person of color in pretty much the entire show, is a single mother with an abusive baby daddy. Okay, this has been done, but it’s still worth navigating. But, they don’t do anything with it. The structure of the show let’s you get away with almost anything and you can’t even give us Sleeping With The Enemy! Damn! Ain’t nobody dealing with race, sexuality, gender identity, Beyoncé Deniers…. I mean come on! When the show strays away from the main focus of saving the world, things get boring at an alarming rate.

Writing

The writing of this show is 50-50. The problems that arrive will capture both your attention and interest, but it’s the follow travelers_1through that gets fucked up. The character bend the rules of being a Traveler SO MUCH, nothing matters. One episode can’t hinge on the need to follow a rule, so much so that characters have to make difficult decisions.. the drama! and then the next episode, another character just decides, “nah, I don’t feel like following that rule today.” and then… no consequences. You can’t play with us like that. We just spent all this time learning the rules and basing our panic off said rules and you just gon’ throw them out the window whenever you feel like it? Hell naw! We pissed off, you can’t place us. We’re devoting 13 hours of our lives to this show, don’t play us like that. Shit, what’s the point of any of it then? Let’s just break all the rules. Let’s just give up on all the missions and do whatever we want. Would you like it if in The Matrix, Neo said… “I could try and save humankind, but I’d rather fuck a bunch of women and go shopping…” …would you be happy with that? I don’t think so! Homie don’t play that.

Conclusion

Overall, the show is worth watching. You care about the characters, a little bit, enough to keep watching and see what happens. And there are some touching and exciting moments. It’s just when you look at the world of possibility for a show like this, you might find yourself a bit disappointed… or, depending on what makes America great, in your eyes… maybe not.