When the pandemic struck and lockdowns were implemented in 2020, I said to myself, “This seems like the end of the world.” It felt odd, as if we were in a dystopian film, with all the streets deserted and no busy noises. The only problem is that life is imitating art.
The first episode of HBO’s Station Eleven may transport you back to the year 2020, whether it’s the entry to a hospital crammed with patients on both sides, leaving little room for others who require assistance, or a once-bustling mall now deserted with only dust blowing around. Few visuals in Station Eleven are as powerful as that of a jet full of people slamming into Chicago’s Navy Pier all at once, as seen through the windows of a nearby apartment.
When Station Eleven reaches its conclusion, the show is more concerned with highlighting the moments of kindness and empathy that drew its characters together in the first place than thinking back to the devastation of the past. It’s a dramatic narrative left turn, demonstrating that, while the damage is irreversible, it’s not the only thing we can remember.
Patrick Somerville, the show’s writer whose prior credits include episodes of HBO’s The Leftovers, adapted the limited series. That show’s work feels the most similar to what he’s done with Station Eleven. It’s also one of the best shows to debut this year.
Station Eleven’s first three episodes are available to watch on HBO Max.