Three episodes deep in Station Eleven, I was furious. Furious, but also extremely bored.

Not only did I fall asleep trying to watch the show (twice), but I also quickly became disillusioned with his self-indulgence.

From the very beginning, Station Eleven has been a show that clearly sets out great ambitions.

Postapocalyptic HBO Max a mini-series set in the wake of the deadly flu virus, Station Eleven is a fictional pandemic show filmed, produced and released during indeed pandemic. But in many ways, this pandemic is subordinate and insignificant. Station Eleven is a broadcast for things. For great ideas and topics. This is a survival show. About the trauma. To find refuge in the transient power of art and the connective tissue of our common humanity.

In other words: Urgh.

This is a show that starts with King Lear. A show that blatantly uses Shakespeare as a means of storytelling and framing, but also has the damn gall to be placed at the center of a great literary canon.

Once again: Hooray. The biggest urf I can collect.

Three episodes jumped deep into one of CNET ‘s many slack channels unloaded in the show of my colleagues. It was condescending to himself. It was boring. It was taken too seriously. He was high on his own supplies. It was fundamentally wrong compared to a show like, say, Yellowjackets – which masked its own trauma topics under the guise of a cunning and captivating mysterious show.

“Station Eleven sucks.” I think that’s what I wrote. I was wrong. I couldn’t be more wrong.

Just seven episodes later, at the end of the show, I crawled back to Slack’s office, on my hands and knees, to tell everyone that – in fact – Station Eleven is one of the best TV shows I think I’ve seen. in my life and every living person must make an effort to observe it.

So pretentious

Given and Kirsten.

Parish Lewis / HBO Max

My favorite moment in Station Eleven happens in the middle of episode 9.

Givan, one of the show’s protagonists, cares for Kirsten, a children’s comic book actress – the titular Station Eleven, a comic he carries with him wherever he travels in the world after the pandemic. A comic that gives her hope in desperate circumstances.

After returning to their base, Kirsten realizes that she dropped the comic in the snow. Disappointed, not quite understanding why it matters, Givan angrily returns to the desert to pick it up. During the search, he is attacked by a wolf, tearing him in half to death. As he crawls on his hands and knees, struggling to survive extreme temperatures below freezing, he stumbles upon a comic book buried in the snow. In complete agony, he begins to read it before throwing it aside, shouting, “IT’S SO PRETENTIONAL!”

This is an incredibly cathartic moment. It’s funny to begin with! A perfectly suited moment of comedy in the midst of a dark, visceral moment. I laughed out loud. But it is also a confession, a crystallized moment of self-awareness. The show speaks for itself, directly to its audience. Yes, Station Eleven is pretentious. That is a show that actively fights for big ideas – swinging the fences, orienting the value of art in a world full of suffering.

But station eleven is like that too conscious enough to know asks a lot. To your audience, to yourself as an entertainment product. It is important.

Big question

Why should we be interested in a TV show? Why should some kind of art matter? In a world where I find myself moving away from so-called ‘prestigious television’, Station Eleven has forced me to ask myself this question.

Lately, I’ve been more likely to consume endless disposable anime or watch good reality shows like Old Enough and The Great British Bake Off. Given what we’ve all been through for the last two or three years, it was hard to gather the great brain energy needed to enjoy a show like Station Eleven. A show that forces us to consider big questions and big ideas.


Station Eleven is heading in directions you might not expect.

Photo by Ian Watson / HBO Max

That’s why in the beginning I found Station Eleven so repulsive. In the midst of COVID 19, a period of rocking political struggles, 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? This is a big question.

But Station Eleven works because it manages at every possible level. It’s that simple. This is a well-written show, with great performances and a soundtrack that will continue to haunt you long after you’re done watching.

Station Eleven takes a nice shot towards the goal, but the ball is well blocked by the adversary. It takes time to achieve your bold vision, but if you endure this initial slow burn – overcome this initial repulsion – you will be rewarded with a show that has nuanced things to say on any “serious topic” that dares to touch. . This is a show for families – real and inherited. This is a show about the legacy of shared trauma. Performance for art as a refuge. If this hurts you, I understand. But in a very real universe, where we are deep in the desert of our own pain and suffering, Station Eleven is as important as television.

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