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Netflix cancels big-budget sci-fi series Sense8 after two seasons, days after canning 1970s period piece The Get Down

Bold, emotional, stunning and unforgettable it may have been, but the series was also expensive to make, at US$9 million per episode

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 June, 2017, 11:22am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 June, 2017, 11:22am

Netflix continues to clean house, announcing on Thursday that it would not be renewing the sci-fi series Sense8 for a third season.

“After 23 episodes, 16 cities and 13 countries, the story of the Sense8 cluster is coming to an end,” Netflix’s vice-president of original content, Cindy Holland, said in a statement. “It is everything we and the fans dreamed it would be: bold, emotional, stunning … and outright unforgettable.

“Never has there been a more truly global show with an equally diverse and international cast and crew, which is only mirrored by the connected community of deeply passionate fans all around the world,” the statement added.

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This is the most recent cancellation of a high-profile production for the streaming content provider, after last week’s announcement that it would not be ordering a second season of the 1970s period piece The Get Down.

The cancelled series share several prominent similarities, including being the first television efforts from visually stunning filmmakers, with Lana and Lilly Wachowski (The Matrix trilogy) fuelling Sense8 and Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet) directing The Get Down.

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Perhaps more importantly, however, are the hefty budgets each series required.

“From a budget standpoint and a running time, it’s every bit as big, if not bigger, than their feature films,” Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said of the Wachowskis’ series in 2015, and estimates placed the show’s per-episode budget at US$9 million.

In 2016, Variety reported that because of production troubles The Get Down overspent its original budget of US$7.5 million per episode and ended up costing somewhere north of US$120 million.

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Despite the cancellations, Netflix continues to have plenty of original content for subscribers, with the final season of Bloodline having debuted on Friday, the fifth season of House of Cards making its bow Tuesday and Season 5 of Orange Is the New Black on the clock for a June 9 release.