Review: Station Eleven’s HBO adaptation came at a weird, but good, time


Mackenzie Davis is an adaptation of Station Eleven’s HBO.

Ian Watson / HBO Max

Passengers and crew on board a cruise ship in early 2020, before the blockade, and before the coronavirus was named. Diamond princess Started quarantine for 2 weeks off the coast of Japan. I remember telling my friends that the world is starting to feel like a station eleven. A life that imitates art.

One of the most impressive and memorable images of Emily St. John Mandel’s 2014 Speculative Novel Station Eleven It ’s an airplane, not a cruise ship... The plane joined the tarmac, slowed down and stopped, went dormant without opening doors or releasing passengers, blocking internal Schrodinger plane, The passengers are already ghosts before they die.

Now, in late 2021, the very popular pre-era novels are later. HBO Max original limited series.. Instead of COVID-19, the world of Station Eleven is devastated by the Georgian flu. The story of its collapse and rebirth returns to find an audience who may be too tired to look at dystopian speculation for entertainment. Now Station Eleven reminds me of an early pandemic: grocery hoarding, emergency room overruns, face masks. Art that imitates life.

The first death we see is not due to the flu. Movie star Arthur Leander (Gael Garcia Bernal) plays an important role in the stage production of King Leander. Child actor Kirsten Raymond (played by Matilda Lawler and Mackenzie Davis as an adult) sees Arthur succumb to a heart attack and audience Jeevan Chaudary (Himesh Patel) interrupts the show for CPR. increase. Arthur dies on stage. Soon, most people in the theater will die.

The fictitious plague is more deadly and contagious than COVID-19, killing about 99% of the planet’s population in a matter of weeks. The survivors are doctors, countries, supply chains, the internet, celebrities, a world where luck and fate choose to live or die, and a world where children learn to kill or die, unconscious actors at the apocalyptic stage. Will be killed.


Matilda Roller as a young Kirsten.

Parish Lewis / HBO Max

“I remember the damage,” Kirsten reiterated 20 years later, citing a cartoon called Station Eleven that Arthur gave her before he died. Kirsten survived the pandemic and joined Shakespeare’s group of Traveling Symphonies, spreading art and culture to the former Five Great Lakes. Danger baseline.

Civilization in the post-pandemic world

The plot extends not only to the timeline but also to the character. Kirsten’s cartoon is a portkey that reveals the intertwined web we weave. Six degrees of separation, connection failure, “what a small world”. Coincidence.The world of station eleven teeth Small, like ensemble cast Late Career Gary Marshall Film.. Jump from front to middle and back. Between Kirsten, Jeevan and Arthur. Also, Arthur’s first wife Miranda (Daniel Deadweiler), second wife Elizabeth (Caitlin Fitzgerald), son Tyler (Julian Obraders), and his best friend Clark (David Wilmot). You can see how this interconnectivity creates and dismantles civilization. After all, it is the same connection that the virus propagates.

One of the most disturbing catchphrases of the COVID era is “new normal.” And while Station Eleven’s screen adaptation is more relevant shortly after the collapse than the novel, it’s still primarily a story that reconstructs normality. Not only do people continue to play Shakespeare, they fall in love, give birth, go swimming, read cartoons, and manage museums. A stranger becomes a family. Residents of the airport left behind become a community. In the 20th and 1st years, the world is as different as between the 1st year and the “prepan”.

Thus, Station Eleven is not the end of the world, not the front and back, General system collapses, A more periodic pattern, a theory that assumes an increase or decrease in social complexity throughout history. (Sally Rooney’s 2021 novel Beautiful world, where are you It also refers to this theory. ) Our infrastructure is sparse in its complexity and is a fact we have been working on in real life. Supply chain disruption Coined word withKey worker.. So it’s kind of comforting to see the collapse through the lens of the business as usual.

The modern soundtrack weighs on the gist of the series on continuity. All recognizable songs remind us that this unfamiliar world is not as far away as we want. Unlike the novel, which lost the memory of Kirsten’s first year, Davis’s Kirsten remembers so vividly that she essentially lives in both timelines at the same time, returning to the early collapse and feverish. Talk to yourself young in your dreams. Her performance is energized by her sorrow, and the series seems to say that art is not just a prize of comfort, but a gift. Perhaps Station Eleven wasn’t a dystopia at the time, but it has a dark grasp of utopia.

Adapt station eleven to small screen

The project of book-to-screen adaptation is to use new media tools to regain the original magic. And showrunner Patrick Summerville ( Netflix maniacBring some of Mandel’s most indelible images (ghost planes, horse-drawn pickup trucks, power grid failures) to life while skillfully achieving this goal and amplifying some of the quiet moments of the book. increase. Adaptation transforms the accidental encounter between Jiban and Kirsten into an emotional hinge for the series. This is a very appropriate revision as I had to reconfirm that it was not in the source material.


Station Eleven’s Jiban and Himesh Patel and Matilda Lawler as young Kirsten.

Parish Lewis / HBO Max

The biggest change in HBO’s adaptation is the treatment of the Prophet (Daniel Zovat), who offers a stake in the 20th year, when a simple villain in the novel fuels a plot. Here, his “unprecedented” belief system is more mysterious and empathetic, so frankly, it’s more interesting. This version of the Prophet is, of course, also fascinating to Kirsten, fighting the conservative ideology behind the Museum of Civilization. Even after the collapse, human culture finds its foothold across conservative and radical things, reminding me that the Prophet will burn everything down, You can’t go back to the normal rhetoric of the current pandemicHere, systematic inequality eventually becomes the foreground in cultural conversations.

Still, the miniseries are quieter than many viewers expect, given the premise and genre, and by complicating the Prophet, the story loses momentum. Tone, just as the message of hope is a pill that the actor couldn’t completely swallow, the easy moments feel moody even with dissonance.If it arrived earlier in our own pandemic, the adaptation would probably have been different, but of course It was a pandemic that delayed the shoot..

The traveling symphony mantra is “because of insufficient survival.” As part of the post-COVID world culture, the HBO miniseries incorporates this mantra itself, reminiscent of the raison d’etre of dystopian fiction.that’s why Everyone started streaming Contagion When Read Camu last year.flat When Bubonic plague closes Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, The show went on. Art has its own survival instinct.

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