Wednesday 7 December 2016

Intrigued by the Warchowskis

John Boland

Published 14/06/2015 | 02:30

Anna Friel in American Odyssey
Anna Friel in American Odyssey

Sense8 (Netflix) is the brainchild of the Warchowskis, who also dreamt up The

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Matrix, which I gather is considered by some film buffs as the most profoundly mind-altering movie they've ever seen.

For myself, I thought it a load of pretentious cobblers, which was also my view of their more recent cinematic extravaganza, Cloud Atlas, none of whose various storylines persuaded me for one instant.

And now the two brothers, who since a transgender procedure have become sister and brother, have conjured up a television series which has at least eight different storylines and eight main protagonists.

These eight people - who live in such diverse cities as Mumbai, San Francisco,

Berlin, London and Nairobi - are all telepathically linked, seemingly through the mysterious and deranged-looking Daryl Hannah, who blew her brains out near the outset of the first episode. Or did she?

Don't ask and don't expect the goings-on to become clear in this opening episode,

though, in the customary Netflix fashion, you can binge on the whole lot in one night if you so desire.

I didn't and although I recalled the basic set-up as being very like that of Heroes and other we're-all-connected drama series, Sense8 (Sensate, geddit?) is brilliantly filmed in its various locations and some of the characters come across as quite intriguing as they battle forces of evil.

Certainly it's more arresting than RTÉ2's latest US import, American Odyssey, which concerns a woman special ops fighter fighting for her survival in Mali after the rest of her platoon is wiped out by sinister forces who might be Islamic extremists or might be mercenaries with a shadowy US corporation.

An idealistic lawyer working for the corporation gets suspicious, as does a crusading anti-government activist. Meanwhile, the soldier tries to avoid getting herself killed.

This could be intriguing and even exciting but instead it comes across as a poor man's Homeland, and while Anna Friel (right) is convincingly American, she's a somewhat stock character - though not as stock as her villainous non-white captors, who are straight out of Johnny Foreigner central casting.

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