First Impressions on 'Station Eleven': An incredibly strong introduction
The new television series based on the video game The Last of Us has recently been released and been viewed and discussed by plenty over the past week, but today I came across a statement online regarding a different show; this statement referring to a show essentially being The Last of Us but without the video game weaknesses. While I haven't seen The Last of Us, I did play the first game. I feel I knew precisely what the statement meant, and my curiosity got the best of me as I went around searching for a way to check out this show, the show of which being named Station Eleven. A HBO original series that takes place within a world plagued by a type of flu pandemic, wiping out much of civilisation.
It came to no surprise that the recent years of covid led to Hollywood's inspiration to revisit the idea of pandemic oriented series and films. Pulling from the chaos and fear that came from our total lack of understanding of what was going on and what it all meant for us in the earliest days of it spreading. That depth in fear and uncertainty can offer a wide range of opportunities in regards for storytelling, whether it expands into something greater beyond a mere pandemic or into something more apocalyptic. In essence such ideas can explore themes of physiological trauma and general human condition when presented with something as dangerous as a global pandemic. The panic that sets in during the early phase, the lack of attention regarding how serious it may be, and even the basic ways society can collapse due to its incredibly fragile nature; to which we saw each of these just three years ago.
I like these types of shows and films over something more gruesome. I prefer seeing more intelligent ideas regarding society's collapse and human nature when it comes to finding a way to survive, over something like general horror and action. Thus far I can't say how much the show will continue to be this way, but having seen two episodes, I'm definitely intrigued.
The first episode had me hooked almost immediately. The first thing I noticed from Station Eleven was an incredibly beautiful directing and cinematography. Shot with a New York City setting that displayed a snowy cold winter, a typical season for a flu to spread. Rather than following the general structure other television series and films have, Station Eleven has a very slow approach to displaying the sudden rise of a pandemic within the city. We get our hints at people being sick, that there is an illness spreading around that's causing some harm in some locations. News reports, sick people in public, but nothing too overwhelming. In fact, our main character is merely one of the first regular citizens to be warned of what's really happening from his partner that happens to work in the hospital.
What makes things interesting here is how he has a sudden panic attack at the realisation that things are much worse and about to get even more so. Warned to prepare and get to a safe location. The panic here is met with a great build-up of anxiety as we follow someone very aware of a greater threat as everyone else remains oblivious. It works well with the idea of anxiety itself and how an individual may seem on edge despite normal surroundings. To add to this is that beautiful cinematography. Very beautiful dark tones from the night of New York City, coated in snow. The directing takes advantage of basic photography principles to amplify the feeling that the surroundings are more dangerous than one would think. Our characters are isolated from groups. We get perspectives from afar or through windows. Constant attempts to ensure that we ourselves feel both connected to these characters but from a safe distance. It was a really immersive set of sequences that really had me engaged with the story and genuinely curious. I wanted to be sure I didn't miss anything, and its directing and cinematography ensure that the feeling you get from watching is that anxiety, to observe the surroundings and make sure there's distance from others. Knowing the secret of what's to come that so few others know of, but also keeping it a secret as to ensure you get what you need and to safety fast. This was an incredible first episode! I really, really enjoyed it.
Though having seen the second episode, it did engage in some time skipping. I'm not really a fan of such styles of storytelling where the future seems different to the sequences we saw prior. Where we hop from past to present to add to character development. The second episode felt a lot slower in a worse manner due to this, removing the emotions and curiosity the first episode established. That isn't to say that the second episode was bad, but just vastly different and starting a new story to pursue. I am still very much curious as to where things are headed, but I did feel a little disappointed in some of the changes implemented. Though I don't want to explore them too much in this post as to avoid spoilers! However, skilling between time periods meant a short time to introduce new characters not present in the first episode. Characters we don't really care for or have a reason to just yet. The result was that this present period in the story didn't feel as threatening anymore. As if the first episode's fears and anxieties were not justified for the present seems more peaceful and structured, still displaying community and some form of civilisation. I have no doubts that this will change however, that somewhere something will go wrong again. I do hope that is the case, at least. Due to that first episode just really pulling me in, and second episode failing to go beyond.
I would like to think that the time skipping scenes will end and focus on the present for the most part. But it feels like such moments will remain and provide some additional backstory as to what happened between the times of the past we witnessed and the present events. This is fine in moderation, but definitely won't suffice in again immersing us with that first episode magic we saw. I'll be checking out episode three when I can, and while I suspect the directing and cinematography will remain strong, I can only hope the story does too. Thus far I can definitely recommend the show, especially if you have been watching The Last of Us, since there are definitely some similarities. Hopefully these two shows can result in some more interest in these survival type shows that build atmosphere over action and horror. The Walking Dead failed and ultimately killed the genre, and now that's over it's only fair that someone else picks up the pieces to revive it.
Greetings friends, I have not yet had the opportunity to watch that series that has been trending these last days, however, I enjoyed the game and its story is crazy, now to see it through a production must be another level, I really have to start watching it. I'm glad you enjoyed these first episodes and compare them with what we all lived as was that pandemic, it was not easy to take it and face something of that magnitude. Let's hope that the third episode changes and becomes a perfect environment and you keep catching the attention of the viewers. Thank you for sharing this opinion with us.
Hey I haven't seen it yet, but it has a very interesting plot, I will look for it and in my free time I will see it, thank you very much for this excellent recommendation :D
Interesting ! thanks for the review
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