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HBO Max Station Eleven (HBO) (1 Viewer)

Adam Lenhardt

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An adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Emily St. John Mandel, which has been sitting in my "to read" pile for years, escapism in 2021 this is certainly not.

Jeevan Chaudhary, an unemployed thirty something fuckup, is attending a performance of King Lear in Chicago when the famous movie star in the title role collapses on stage from an apparent heart attack. Jeevan, who trained as a paramedic in one of his many failed careers, rushes on stage to help but only manages to get in the way. In the chaos that ensues, he finds himself responsible for Kirsten, a child actress who was waiting to go on stage when everything went awry.

As Jeevan attempts to get Kirsten home, he gets a call from his sister. His sister, working an unscheduled shift in the ER, wants him to get to their brother's house as soon as he can and barricade himself inside. The virus that had caused such trouble in Asia and Europe has mutated, into something that is as contagious as measles but as lethal as MARV. It's already too late to escape; she herself is already done for. Their best bet is to hunker down; the only upside of a virus that lethal is that it will burn itself out by killing off all of its transmission vectors.

Jeevan, with Kirsten still in tow, racks up a $10,000 grocery bill and then wheels the groceries to his brother's skyscraper apartment.

When Jeevan and Kirsten emerge, 80 days later, most of the world is dead and civilization has completely collapsed.
 

Josh Dial

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The book was good. Good, but not the masterpiece I see it called in various places on the internet. It has a very interesting premise (this is not a spoiler) in that it's largely concerned with how art and culture survives a catastrophe, rather than "what caused the catastrophe". It's not really "post-apocalyptic danger at every corner porn" which is refreshing. Sort of the anti-Walking Dead.

I really liked the ideas explored in the book more than I actually liked the words on the page.
 

Josh Dial

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For what it's worth, with only one episode to go, I think this show is astounding. Easily the best thing on TV in the last year by far. Maybe the best show I've seen since Dark.

The adaptation is the touch-up/re-write the book needed. My issues with the book (and to be clear, they were minor--I liked the book) are gone in the adaptation. Everything works better.

The performances are uniformly excellent. The themes from the book are explored in greater and more meaningful ways.

The show is pretentious and "artistic" (there's even a bit of inside baseball on this in the most recent episode). The themes explored require thought.

Assuming the final episode doesn't fail utterly, I think the show is a tremendous peice of art and entertainment. Don't let the setting fool you: there is utter hope and joy in this pandemic story.
 

Josh Dial

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I'll build on my earlier post now with the benefit of watching the final episode.

Without an ounce of hyperbole, I think Station Eleven is one of the best things ever to air on the small screen.

It's like the muses swirled about and coalesced into 10 episodes of flawless television.

Challenging. Heartfelt. Astounding.
 

DaveF

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Just starting watching this week. I read the book when it was the new hotness several years ago. It didn’t especially care for it, but I’m in the minority.

The series, as of three episodes, is really good. I’m already a fan of Mackenzie Davis from Halt and Catch Fire, and getting more of her in a quality drama is good.
 

jayembee

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Yeah, that reunion at the end of episode 10 really hit me right in the feels. Definitely gonna give this one a rewatch.
When Miles mentioned (over the walkie-talkie) that the "Doctor" had left, I felt crushed. There wasn't going to be a reunion. When the reunion happened, I was in tears.

I hadn't read the novel -- hadn't actually heard of it until this series popped up -- but I read a review of the series somewhere whose description made it seem just up my alley. I was particularly sold about the creator/showrunner Patrick Somerville having been a writer on The Leftovers.

I found myself distressed (in a way) that so many people disliked this, seemingly because they thought it was going to be about the pandemic itself, as if it was going to be just like The Stand. As a result, they just dismissed it was being artsy-fartsy nonsense. It admittedly took me a few episodes to get into the rhythms of the series, but I found it fascinating.

By the end, I felt like I had just been witness to a remarkable piece of television. I'd even say that I think the penultimate episode, "Dr. Chaudhary", was one of the finest moments of television I've seen in my 60+ years of watching TV.

Seems a weird coincidence that my two favorite TV shows in ages both had their finales the same week (the other being The Expanse).

I need to schedule a day to binge all 10 episodes in one go.
 

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