A porn site wants to fund a third season of Netflix's Sense8. Seriously.

Contributed by
Aug 18, 2017

A new player has thrown its hat into the ring of scripted television in regard to a cult-favorite genre TV show. Porn site xHamster has offered a lifeboat for the recently Netflix-canceled show Sense8, in hopes of getting a third season greenlit. Co-creators Lana and Lilly Wachowski were sent a letter by xHamster Vice President Alex Hawkins with an offer to produce the show’s third season and become the permanent home for the series. 

This is a serious offer, folks. Hawkins boasts that the adult website’s daily traffic is larger than that of the New York Times, ESPN, or the Daily Mail. So they can offer an audience and the revenue needed to produce the immensely expensive television show and give the series a long leash to retain its current audience, who might need to accept the need to visit a porn site for more Sense8, or build their audience from the large xHamster user base to a size that it deserves. 

Sense8 films in several countries, on location, and in different languages, so herding mainstream viewers has always been a challenge, even at Netflix. Along with the Wachowskis, who direct and write episodes, J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Rising Stars) is a co-creator and writer, and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run), James McTeigue (V for Vendetta), and Dan Glass (Visual Effects supervisor) are additional directors. It’s got a fascinating creative team that has experimented in recent years, but found harmony on Sense8, despite its complicated production.

It features the on-camera talent of Doona Bae, Jamie Clayton, and Tuppence Middleton, to name just a few of its terrific ensemble cast. But as much as Netflix loved the show, the viewing numbers (which the company never publicizes) against the costs made it hard to justify going further. Lana Wachowski backed up the claim of low numbers in a letter to the fans, but was genuinely stunned by what happened next.

Netflix canceled the series shortly after its second season dropped, and then the fans responded with their disappointment and flooded the digital streamer with petitions and pleas for the show’s extension, using the hashtag #RenewSense8. Surprisingly, Netflix gave the show a reprieve and allowed the Wachowskis and Straczynski a chance to close the series out with a two-hour movie-length episode to wrap up their cliffhanger ending in Season 2 and any other unresolved threads.

Now the creators have a new deal to consider. Hawkins wrote:

“While we’re happy that Netflix is picking up the series for a conclusion, before you wrap up the story, we wanted you to consider another option – letting xHamster produce the series.”

So rather than picking up the series after the two-hour movie, xHamster is offering to let the series pick up from Season 2 and continue moving forward. It’s an aggressive move, though a little puzzling to see an offer like this go public and odd that Straczynski is left off the letter as a co-creator. Still, Hawkins’ letter continues with why they would be a fit for the series.

“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 implicitly the interconnectedness of sexualities across boundaries. In short, we are a we.” See the entire letter below, obtained from xHamster's blog.

Hawkins is likely referring to some of the orgy scenes that appeared in the series as the eight main characters are mentally and emotionally linked, tuned into each other’s needs and desires. They can communicate with each other as sensates or being Homo sensorium, sharing their knowledge, abilities, and skills. 

In addition to the letter, Hawkins was interviewed about some unique advantages they’re able to offer to cater to the individual’s taste in sex scenes to create a user-driven experience. "Sense8 is already a very sex-forward show," Hawkins told GQ, "but I do think that it could be more explicit. But really, that's up to the Wachowskis and the actors. We just want to be a platform for their vision."

"Some viewers may want to see more aggressive, extended versions of the sex scenes, while others may find them slow-moving. On a platform like ours, it's really easy to give people options." Hawkins truly believes that a match is made with xHamster and Sense8.  "When you think about it, a site like xHamster IS a sensate. We are millions of people, connected by sexuality, from across the world."

The series’ multi-layered science fiction drama has international appeal and is LGBTQ-friendly, which may be why xHamster is genuinely drawn to the show, as true fans. Sense8 won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series in 2016. It also received two nominations for Dorian Awards, which are organized by the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA) in the categories for LGBTQ Show of the Year and Campy TV Show of the Year.

Hawkins added in his letter that they have had “a long history of fighting for the rights of sexual speech, and non-normative sexuality.” It goes on to say that in addition to connecting billions of users with individual articulations of gender and sexuality, they continue to battle against repressive anti-LGBTQ laws stateside and overseas, sexual education in public schools, Planned Parenthood, and the rights of the sex workers trade. 

Given how porn sites understand their users’ experiences and needs, and how influential the industry is in advancing technology (Super 8 film, VHS killing Betamax, Blu-Ray over HD-DVD) and the internet (e-commerce, high speed demands and high-definition streaming video), it would be foolish to underestimate a move like this. Still, it remains to be seen if the Wachowskis and Straczynski would consider the adult website as their next home to ensure future seasons. Otherwise, they have two hours left to produce. All creators and cast members have been silent so far on their social networks regarding this latest pitch. 

Which begs the question, would you be willing to go to xHamster for more seasons of Sense8? Share your thoughts below!