Should ‘Sense8’ Be Resurrected on a Porn Site?

Matthew Loffhagen
Netflix
(Photo: Netflix)

A lot of weird news broke over the weekend, so it probably would have been easy to miss the announcement that a benevolent media company has offered to fund future seasons of the Wachowski siblings’ cult classic show about love, life, and telepathy, Sense8.

After the show was mercilessly cancelled by Netflix earlier this year, an enormous fan petition forced the streaming giant to bring it back for a one-off finale. Now, though, an ally has appeared in the most unusual of places: adult entertainment site, xHamster, has offered to take over funding and publishing the show for a third season.

Well, that’s certainly unorthodox.

Alex Hawkins, vice president of the pornographic website, has expressed an eagerness to allow the show to return, unaltered, on their platform, if that’s what it takes to get more Sense8 after the planned special finale:

“We recently read that you’re working on a third season of Sense8 despite the fact that Netflix has no plans to renew the series,” wrote xHamster vice president Alex Hawkins. “We know it’s unconventional, but we want to bring it back — on xHamster. We’re not talking about a parody, or something less than, but an actual revival of the series.

“We also have the disposition. We know that a series about polymorphous perversity is a hard sell for a mainstream network like Netflix. We have no such limitations, and also understand implicity the interconnectedness of sexualities across boundaries. In short, we are a we.”

This is a pretty big step for xHamster – while the open letter from Hawkins poses this as an act of altruism for a show that’s become a cult classic, it’s also a move that could serve to earn the site a lot of new revenue.

If fans absolutely have to visit a porn site in order to keep watching Sense8, then for many, that will seem like a hurdle worth crossing. If this move goes well, we might see the site branching out to offer a wider range of original programming that’s less about explicit pornography, and more about storytelling.

Sense8
Source: Netflix

From a business perspective, this does make sense – after all, xHamster and Netflix are essentially offering very similar products – online streamed entertainment is a growing media force. It wouldn’t at all be surprising for a porn site to want to leverage their existing audience to branch out into a new type of content.

For fans of Sense8, though, the looming danger is one of editorial changes. Sure, Hawkins has promised that the show would stay more or less the same, but with a different publishing setting, and a different inherent audience, comes expectations. Besides, it’s unlikely that all the actors, creators, writers, and members of the production team will be happy with the potential damage that the new setting could do to their reputations and careers.

If the Wachowski siblings turn down this offer from xHamster, it won’t be a huge surprise, and Alex Hawkins is probably aware of that.

This is a first step, though, towards a future where the lines between different forms of online entertainment begin to blur somewhat. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if xHamster or another porn site were to try creating their own regular, respectable content, for the sake of branching out to a new audience.

In the meantime, Sense8 fans have a choice. Is it better to have more of the show, no matter who’s paying for it? Or is the indignity of logging onto a porn site too much for some to bear.

For many, this won’t be a problem at all – it will seem like the perfect marriage of different beloved forms of entertainment. For many others, the whole concept will feel a little murky.

Either way, it’s going to be interesting seeing what happens next. For Sense8, there might be a very sexy life after Netflix death on the horizon.

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