HBO Max’s ‘Station Eleven’ is Hands down the best new show of the year
It’s not even close: Eleven station is the best new TV show of the year. It’s spellbinding, beautifully done, heartfelt, a vision of the end of the world that uplifts you as much as it gives you nightmares. It is also perhaps the most difficult show of the year to recommend. Are you going to watch a 10 episode series in which the world is wiped out by a new strain of flu?
Corn Eleven station, which is based on the 2014 best-selling novel by Emily St. John Mandel, and directed by writer Patrick Somerville (who wrote the Netflix film Maniacal, and wrote on HBO Leftovers), is a strange television. A dystopian series full of death and menace that mingles with so much humanity and optimism that you want to be in its precarious world. I was overwhelmed, cheered and horrified.
Of course, this is an art-house television demanding in terms of stretching – not the next fix for the Squid game crowd (although I found it much more shaking). The braided timeline gives us the bustling world before the virus hits, starting with a performance of King Lear in Chicago where his star, played by Gael García Bernal, collapses and dies on stage. It also shows us the world two decades later, when nature invaded civilization and a mysterious (but joyful) troupe called the Travel Symphony toured the world, playing Shakespeare and fending off threats from strangers and of a prophet who gathered a small army of threatening children.
In the Chicago timeline, a freelance writer named Jeevan (played wonderfully by Himesh Patel) finds himself looking after 8-year-old actress Kirsten (Matilda Lawler) and takes refuge in a high-rise condo with her brother. Frank (Nabhaan Rizwan). These three will go through the dark first months of the pandemic in a sort of magical winter isolation.