We know, we know: you’re sick of hearing about the real pandemic that we’re all currently…still…suffering through. But Station Eleven‘s fictional pandemic story is worth checking out.
Based on the speculative novel by Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven presents a post-apocalyptic vision that is both terrifying and hopeful. Mackenzie Davis, Himesh Patel, and Gael García Bernal star as the victims and survivors of a globally devastating flu (not so wildly different to the sickness keeping us at home watching TV shows just like this one).
Yesterday, all Yesterday star Himesh Patel’s troubles seemed so far away: but at the start of the Stan program, he’s called upon to look after a little girl in the first days of a devastating worldwide contagion. 20 years later, that girl is Mackenzie Davis, travelling a post-apocalyptic world reclaimed by nature as part of a nomadic Shakespeare troupe.
There’s also Bernal as a famous actor in the before-times, Lori Petty as a croaky-voiced member of Davis’ crew, and Daniel Zovatto as a sinister prophet whose face is plastered on a warning flyer. An Irish guy preparing to hole up in some industrial building sets the tone in the trailer below, which ends on a wistful, optimistic note: “We’re in this together, and we’re a family now.”
Jenna Guillaume picked Station Eleven as one of December’s most exciting new TV series, bringing up its similarity to a newly-topical Steven Soderbergh movie: “This show will either be really stressful or really cathartic, depending on your perspective. If you’re someone who watched Contagion at the start of the pandemic, then you will likely fall into the latter category.”
Now that Station Eleven is nearly available in its entirety for Australian viewers, we can confirm that it’s a pandemic story worth opening your mind for. You might watch and realise that things could be worse—but that they could also be better, improved by the chance to look back on human nature and progress rather than plowing ever-forward. It’d sure be fun to have a wander in the series’ Museum of Human Civilization.