I’ll have more to say about this, but first just a quick note to confirm that now that the STARZPLAY stream of HBO’s Station Eleven has come to an end I’m delighted I went to the trouble of seeking the show out.
The story and the way they chose to tell it took a few episodes to get used to, but by the time they had trained their audience in what to expect from the story their clever, lyrical approach to adapting an existing tale paid massive dividends.
Arguments about how realistic the story of this particular post-apocalyptic pocket of human civilisation was are, in my opinion, missing the point. The author of the source material wanted to tell a story that took an optimistic view of what could happen in the wake of a ruinous pandemic given an attitude that survival was insufficient, and the showrunners seem to have honoured that by producing a show that has to be one of the highlights of what’s been a little bit of a golden age for televised speculative fiction over the last couple of years, between Station Eleven and Devs and Tales From The Loop.
Given the largely positive reviews that Station Eleven got, regular readers may not be surprised to learn that I ended up shelling out for a STARZPLAY subscription with the plan of watching the ten episodes then deciding whether to let my subscription roll over for another month. There’s other content I’d been meaning to watch so we’ll see how long they can keep my interest.
I’m up to episode five so far, and while the show has been a bit uneven so far as they’ve introduced the characters my worries that the show might veer into a more Walking Dead-style take on the apocalypse have abated. I’m mostly enjoying some excellent acting and a cast of characters who are (so far) very much not taking the story in that sort of relentlessly grim direction.
More to say once I catch up with the end of the show, but I do have two negative points about the wider experience of watching the show:
- Whilst the official podcast has all the access to the cast and crew one could wish for, the content is so self-congratulatory about just how brilliant everyone was that it can be hard to take. This is why for other shows I mostly steer clear of their official podcasts, but I haven’t had time to locate a suitable non-official alternative for this show yet.
- The STARZPLAY app for iPadOS breaks so many of John Siracusa’s (unsolicited) rules for streaming apps it’s ridiculous and is also just horribly unreliable when it comes to just playing streaming video, full stop. Silent crashes, the app reacting to a wrong touch by returning me to the start of my episode multiple times per episode, it’s infuriating. They’re lucky the content is worth the perseverance required.