Background

The final episode of the Netflix series Sense8 is “Amor Vincit Omnia,” and has a canonical version of Season 2 Episode 12. It was released as a single two-and-a-half hour episode on June 8, 2018.

The alpha60 team sampled this media property for one month after release. The full analysis can be found in the report pdf. For the purposes of this document, this final episode of Sense8 is labeled as Season 3.


Lingering Questions for Sense8

  • Sense8 was notoriously expensive and difficult to produce due to its multi-locale setup and narrative ambition. However, it looks like the final episode (2.5 hours) was a ratings success, as it had an increase in total viewership of at least 150% and perhaps as much as 300% over the previous 10 episode (11 hour) regular season. Regardless of the magnitude of the increase, the trend is clearly upward. So…  why was this show canceled? The final episode alone had a similar number of viewers (if not more) than the entire Altered Carbon Season 1. It has more viewers than House of Cards (Season 5) and Narcos (Season 3). If the cancellation decision is based on economics, and it is the price per show that killed it, is there some intermediate number of episodes and hours (say 4-6) that would make a full Season 3 viable?
  • This show broke Neflix’s typical release pattern on two different occasions, as Season 2 is comprised of three distinct release points: December 2017 (Christmas special, Season 2 Episode 0), August 2017 (Ten episode arc), and June 2018 (final episode). It looks like there were certain times where geographic slices in South America outperformed (August) and certain times where geographic slices in Europe outperformed (December) and certain times where geograpic slices in North America outperformed (June). Given the global nature of Sense8‘s viewership, when is the optimal calendar date for release? Or, are multiple release dates preferred over a single full-series release date?
  • Time and geographic swarm phenomena. As above, there are lags and time lapses in the formation of the torrent collection, and thus subsequent distortions in geography for the swarm phenomena. The torrent collection is 117 individual torrent files: of these files, there are a larger than usual number with Asian-language subtitles or dubs. Why was it so popular in Japan and China? Also, there was an unusual one-week delay before any Sense8 torrents were present on any Russian-language trackers, namely rutor and rutracker.
    • Is the lag for Russian-language torrents related to LGBTQIA content in Sense8? Is this latent homophobia, or related to fear of being tracked and or associated with queer material? If so, is this issue also impacting or altering official Sense8 ratings worldwide?
    • Is the Asian interest in Sense8 related to subversion of porn blocking in China and the resulting image and internet culture loosely collected under the operating phrase/code word philosophy? Does the sexual/sexuality content in Sense8 make it especially on-point for China’s internet underground?
    • Where is the over-weight Brazilian swarm that was shown for the first ten episodes of Season 2? Has there been an increase in Neflix subscribers in South America?
  • Netflix shows that can be considered part of the action genre tend to do well in geographies with military and defense bases and industries. Sense8 fits this description, and has large peer swarms located in: Fort Huachuca (AZ), Ashburn (VA), and others. Why are these military locations showing such strong peer activity, and is this related to VPN phenomena or other distribution technologies that are heavily used by people in military service on military networks? Why is p2p being used to distribute entertainment content to military personnel?
  • Very strong African representation. One of the intriguing aspects of the earlier (2017) Sense8 Season 2 distribution is strong African peer swarms, perhaps related to African-specific characters and situations. This distribution continues for the final episode, shown in the summer of 2018. This pattern is characteristic of content that over-performs and builds over multiple seasons, like HBO’s Game of Thrones. If Sense8 had 7 seasons, would it continue to build in the same way that Game of Thones has built an audience steadily over Seasons 3-7?
  • The move to June from August shows Netflix programming intelligence. The appeal of release dates with multiple ‘8’ numerals, like 2018-8-8, for a show named Sense8 is obvious, but Neflix showed flexibility by releasing Sense8 in June instead of August, and tying the the release to Pride month in North America. Data shows the audience jumped significantly during SF/NY pride weekends (June 23rd in SF, and June 24 in NY). Should the release date be expanded to cover Sao Paulo’s pride event (June 3rd)? Did the miss of Brazil’s pride event for the final episode mean that it was less popular in that locale?