Station Eleven

Station Eleven

A tangled, messy show that I couldn't help liking anyway. I started watching because I'd heard it focused on a traveling theatre company, and I can't remember many other post-apocalyptic stories that go beyond the struggle for survival to that next step, the re-emergence of communities, of art, of mutual support and attempts to be human.

There's an overwhelming agreement in these kinds stories that losing our cities means losing our humanity, that civilization and civility are inextricably tied, and that we're one disaster away from a return to our Hobbesian worst. And Station Eleven has stretches of that, but it's ultimately more interested in family: what makes a family, and how it can be strained, or broken.

It's not what I thought it would be, but it won me over, especially with the last two episodes. It helps that those episodes were two of the most narratively straightforward, which is something the show tries its best to avoid for most of its run, preferring disjointed timelines, looping structures, recurring motifs, and fragments that won't pay off until several episodes later. I'm not one to accuse shows of pretension, but I laughed pretty hard when Jeevan basically said what I'd been thinking.

I like that the show tries something different. I like that it aims for poetry (or maybe musicality, with its recurring motifs played in different keys) and that there's a core of humanism and optimism even when things get bleak. It wasn't about what I thought it was about, or what I wanted it to be about, but I'll take it.