Wednesday, November 3, 2021



When COVID-19 spread from its original stomping grounds in China across the world, countries buckled down in hope that any infections would soon pass. When the outbreak became a global pandemic and cases began to skyrocket, humanity went into enforced isolation to stem the tide. In some corners of the mind however, there have been fears that the virus would overwhelm all safety protocols and the death toll would surpass any damage control, like a zombie apocalypse but without zombies. That worst-case scenario thankfully never happened, but one wonders how life might have changed otherwise. Now an HBO Max miniseries adapting a 2014 novel might give streaming viewers a glimpse.

Entertainment Weekly has it that HBO Max has released their first teaser for “Station Eleven,” a limited series based on a book by Emily St. John Mandel. The story follows the viewpoints of several characters over the span of two decades after human civilization is laid low by a super-flu pandemic. If that is not eerily similar to the current COVID pandemic, but with a worse outcome for the world, then nothing is. One of this miniseries’ several executive producers and episode directors is Hiro Murai, who worked on the 2016 FX comedy-drama series “Atlanta.”

The teaser starts with a scenario immortalized in the early stages of the real-life COVID pandemic, a person engaged in panic-buying of plentiful foodstuffs and supplies from a department store. Unlike with COVID, the reaction to the “Georgia Flu” pandemic in this show is more subdued. As a result, the effects are more devastating, with communities being cut off from the outside world. In this post-pandemic setting, various characters – some of whom were too young to remember a “time before” – try to survive in a world where few people remain.

“Station Eleven” stars Himesh Patel as Jeevan, a journalist-turned paramedic, who encounters relatives and friends of film and stage actor Arthur Leander, whose super-flu death he witnesses. Among these people is Leander’s child costar in a production of “King Lear,” Kirsten, with whom Jeevan does the panic-buying scene at the trailer (Matilda Lawler). Kirsten also appears as an adult (Mackenzie Davis), whose viewpoint is set in the decades after the start of the pandemic, living with a community of survivors. Other “Station Eleven” cast members include David Wilmot, Nabhaan Rizwan, Lori Petty and Daniel Zovatto.

The limited series is due to premiere on HBO Max streaming next month, December 16. For some viewers living in a COVID world, this show might come across as “too soon,” but it still promises to be an engaging story, as written years before the current pandemic became a reality.

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