Three episodes deep into Station Eleven, I was angry. Angry, but also extremely bored.
Not only did I fall asleep trying to watch the show (twice), but I quickly became frustrated with its self-indulgence.
From the start, Station Eleven has been a show that puts big ambitions in clear terms.
A post-apocalypticStation Eleven, a miniseries set in the immediate aftermath of a deadly viral flu, is a show about a fictional pandemic that was filmed, produced, and released during a indeed Pandemic. But in many ways, this pandemic is subservient and unimportant. Station Eleven is a show about things. About big ideas Subjects. It’s a show about survival. About trauma. About taking refuge in the transitive power of art and the connective tissue of our common humanity.
In other words: Urgh.
This is a show that opens with King Lear. A show that Shakespeare overtly uses as a narrative and design tool, but also has the goddamn it bile to place oneself at the center of a great literary canon.
Again: Urgh. The biggest urgh I can muster.
I jumped three episodes deep into one of CNET’s many Slack channels and unloaded on the show to my colleagues. It was smug. It was boring. It took itself far too seriously. It was high on its own stock. It was fundamentally flawed compared to a show such as Yellowjackets – which masked its own trauma themes under the guise of a cunning and compelling mystery box show.
“Station Eleven sucks.” I think I entered that. I was wrong. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Just seven episodes later, at the end of the show, I crawled back into that office slack, on my hands and knees, to tell everyone that — actually — Station Eleven is one of the best TV shows I think I’ve ever put on my I have seen life and every living person should strive to observe it.
My favorite moment in Station Eleven occurs in the middle of Episode 9.
One of the show’s main characters, Jeevan, has been tending to Kirsten, a child actress obsessed with a comic book – the eponymous Station Eleven, a comic book that she takes everywhere as she travels in the post-pandemic world. A comic that gives her hope in desperate situations.
After marching back to her home base, Kirsten realizes she dropped the comic book in the snow. Frustrated, not quite understanding why it’s important, Jeevan angrily stomps back into the wild to get it. During the search, a wolf attacks him and mauls him half to death. As he crawls on his hands and knees, struggling to survive in extreme sub-zero temperatures, he stumbles upon the comic book buried in the snow. In utter agony, he begins to read it before tossing it aside and yelling, “IT IS SO BELONGS!”
It’s an incredibly cathartic moment. First of all, it’s funny! A perfectly timed moment of comedy amidst a dark, visceral moment. I laughed out loud. But it’s also an affirmation, a crystallized moment of self-awareness. The show speaks about itself, directly to its audience. Yes, station eleven is presumptuous. It is A show that actively wrestles with big ideas – swinging for the fences, navigating the value of art in a world of suffering.
But Station Eleven is in addition confident enough to know it’s asking a lot. By his audience, by himself as an entertainment product. This is important.
A big request
Why should we care about a TV show? Why should any kind of art matter? In a world drifting away from so-called “prestige TV,” Station Eleven forced me to ask myself this question.
Lately I’ve tended to consume endless throwaway anime or enjoy watching reality shows like Old Enough and The Great British Bake Off. Given what we’ve all been through in the last two or three years, it’s been difficult to muster the big brain power required to enjoy a show like Station Eleven. A show that forces us to reckon with big questions and big ideas.
That’s why I found Station Eleven so repulsive at first. In the midst of COVID 19, a time of harrowing political turmoil, will you really ask me to take part in a TV show about a traveling troupe of Shakespearean actors performing Hamlet in a post-pandemic wasteland? That’s a big request.
But Station Eleven works because it rules on every possible level. It’s that simple. It’s a well-written show with great performances and a soundtrack that will stay with you long after you’ve finished watching.
Station Eleven swings for the fences but hits the ball cleanly. It’ll take time to realize its bold vision, but if you keep up that initial slow burn — fight your way through that initial reluctance — you’ll be rewarded with a show that adds nuanced things to any “serious subject” it dares to raise say has . This is a show about families – both real and inherited. It’s a show about the legacy of shared trauma. A show about art as a sanctuary. If this makes you sick, I understand. But in a very real universe, where we find ourselves deep in the wilderness of our own pain and suffering, Station Eleven is as important as television.
https://www.cnet.com/culture/entertainment/more-people-need-to-watch-the-best-tv-show-on-hbo-max/ More people need to see the best TV show on HBO Max