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Station Eleven 

click to enlarge CIVILIZED? Kirsten (Mackenzie Davis), an actor with a performance troupe, and The Prophet (Daniel Zovatto), a cult leader determined to not allow past mistakes to resurface among the survivors of a post-apocalyptic world, clash in Station Eleven, a new series on HBO Max. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PACESETTER PRODUCTIONS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Pacesetter Productions
  • CIVILIZED? Kirsten (Mackenzie Davis), an actor with a performance troupe, and The Prophet (Daniel Zovatto), a cult leader determined to not allow past mistakes to resurface among the survivors of a post-apocalyptic world, clash in Station Eleven, a new series on HBO Max.

What's it rated? TV-MA

When? 2021

Where's it showing? HBO Max

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Based on Emily St. John Mandel's 2014 novel, Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic tale that weaves through time—both at the beginning of the pandemic that wipes out most of the world and then to 20 years later. At the center of this tale is Kirsten, who was an 8-year-old when the pandemic hit and now travels as an actor with the Traveling Symphony, which performs classical music and Shakespeare's plays.

The troupe caravans each year from one stop to the next, offering survivors a brief respite from the toils of everyday life. Not everyone they meet is friendly though, and Kirsten has learned that sometimes survival means bringing harm to others in order to protect herself. We also follow Kirsten's life in the early days when, after being separated from her family, she holes up with a man named Jeevan and his brother in a high rise, and they watch the world shut down around them.

Other survivors have their own storylines—a group at the airport that has slowly rebuilt some measure of society, a man that goes by The Prophet who leads a group of young children while also forming his own cult-like group.

I really enjoyed this book and have really been enjoying the series as well. Smartly, the filmmakers here took Mandel's work and characters and, while staying true to the story overall, adapted certain parts in a way that just works better for this form. You don't need to read the book to know what is going on. In fact, I imagine it would be fun not to know what lies ahead, but it's also so fun to see what was on the page turned into this 10-part series. If you've got HBO and some time on your hands, this is a great binge, especially now that all of the season one episodes have been released. (10 44- to 59-min. episodes)

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