Station Eleven, Season 1 and Season 2: What Makes This Apocalyptic Show So Fascinating?

The 2014 post-apocalyptic novel, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, tells the story of a fictional world decimated by a flu pandemic that almost obliterated humanity. It won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for sci-fi in the following year and recently was made into a miniseries on HBO Max. The miniseries, also titled Station Eleven, premiered on December 16, 2021 and concluded its 10-episode season on January 13, 2022. It remains unclear whether Station Eleven Season 2 is in HBO’s plan.



Station Eleven (the miniseries) starts in much the same way as the novel, where Arthur Leander collapses onstage during a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear. An audience member named Jeevan Chaudhary takes Kirsten Raymonde, a junior member of the cast, under his wings amidst the ensuing chaos. Jeevan is among the first to know about the deadly virus outbreak. Now that the world is under a threat of societal breakdown because of the pandemic, Jeevan and his brother Frank, agree to become Kirsten’s guardians. The subsequent plot revolves much around the lives of few remaining survivors, both before the pandemic and the years that follow. Glimpses into the past are presented in flashbacks.

Time Jump

station eleven


One of Station Eleven’s biggest appeals is its time jump plot progression. Much like the source material, chapters (and scenes) often leap backward to the past and back to the present. For instance, from a scene about the adult Kirsten on a road trip with a band of musicians and actors – known as the Travelling Symphony, the storyline quickly moves back to the beginning of the pandemic and before.

Many other TV shows have tried a similar time-jump formula, with varied success. In Station Eleven, such a structure becomes a major selling point to keep people watching. The constant leaping forward and backward in time is presented in the miniseries with a sense of purpose. However, it seems quite erratic occasionally; the future is now, and the present becomes the past as the season progresses.

Unrealistic Premise

station eleven


Apart from a bit of an inventively unnatural development for the sake of a good ending in the season finale, all the characters are convincing. They are well-written and supplied with believable scripts to make a compelling case that viewers should care about what happens. The time-jump is appropriately complemented by frequent shifts of perspectives and focus from one character to the next.

It is difficult not to connect the dots between the fictional pandemic in the miniseries and Coronavirus. Despite the resemblance, almost nothing is similar between the two. The flu in Station Eleven is lethal enough to kill most of the human population, whereas Covid-19 is not nearly as biblical. At the center of the fiction, is that arts (as in music and play) become important aspects of survival, though it is unrealistic.

Station Eleven is a fantastical and hopeful look of a post-apocalyptic world where arts are sacred. It is not a show to give a bleak picture of a pandemic-stricken world, but an artistic presentation of a reimagined optimism. Although resources are scarce, chances of survival are slim, and killings are common, the hardships never really reach the point of hopeless despair. The light at the end of the tunnel never disappears.

Kirsten and Jeevan

station eleven


The lives of Kirsten and Jeevan, before as well as throughout the pandemic, make the biggest impact when together. Kirsten’s rough upbringing and Jeevan’s relentless search for the meaning of life lead to a tumultuous time in a devastated world. One can say that the show’s 10 episodes serve mainly as a projection to showcase their journey and struggles.

Travelling Symphony

station eleven


An unmistakable fantastical touch of sci-fi is delivered through the Travelling Symphony. In a post-apocalyptic world, it is not unusual to expect the survivors to form new colonies and try to reorganize for the future. In Station Eleven, however, the fate of the world and by extension the next generation depends on how survivors treat, accept, and appreciate arts. Since the Travelling Symphony makes up most of the arts, the band is a beacon of hope. If there is a looming conflict, it is likely triggered by Tyler Leander, the Prophet. That said, most of the sadness and ordeals are from the past, so there isn’t really much of a clash with anything in the present, including the Prophet.

Stand-alone Moments

station eleven


Besides Kirsten and Jeevan, the Travelling Symphony is filled with a massive ensemble of varied back stories. Among them include Miranda, who writes and self-publishes a graphic novel also titled Station Eleven; Alex, a young member who has been raised by Kirsten; the Conductor, a heartbroken leader of the group; Clark, a friend of Arthur’s; and Elizabeth, Arthur’s second wife and the Prophet’s mother.

Once again, flashbacks are the miniseries’ strongest points. When Station Eleven focuses on the band and how it offers some kind of relief from starvation and desperation, the scenes are better treated as intermissions. All the enthralling, heartbreaking, and shocking revelations come from stand-alone moments in flashbacks. Many events of great significance happen in the days gone by.

Cancelled Season 2

station 11


From the very beginning, Station Eleven has always been billed as a miniseries. Like most miniseries, a season filled 10 episodes should be enough to bring a conclusion. Since the season finale aired in January 2022, HBO has not made an official announcement to renew the miniseries. At this point, Station Eleven Season 2 is nothing more than rumors and speculations.

Are you a fan of Station Eleven the show? How about the book? Who is your favorite character? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

If you liked this then you may also like 17 Best Post-Apocalyptic TV Shows

Other things you might want to know about.

What are the common flu signs and symptoms?
  • fever above 100 F, though not everyone with the flu has a fever.
  • A cough or sore throat
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea (most common in children)

The Mayo Clinic advises that anyone with a high risk factor should seek medical attention for the flu. 

  • Younger that 12 months old
  • 65 years old or older
  • Pregnant or have given birth in the past 2 weeks
  • Younger than 19 and are receiving long-term aspirin therapy
  • Have certain chronic medical conditions
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Have a body mass index of 40 or greater
  • Live in a long-term care facility such as a nursing home
  • Are in the hospital 
Who is the cast for Station Eleven?
  • Mackenzie Davis
  • Himesh Patel
  • Matilda Lawler
  • Lori Petty
  • Prince Amponsah
  • Caitlin Fitzgerald
  • Daniel Zovatto
  • Gael Garcia Bernal
  • Danielle Deadwyler
  • Nabhaan Rizwan
  • Philippine Velge
  • David Wilmot
  • David Cross
  • Enrich Colantoni
  • Joe Pingue
  • Timothy Simons
  • Julian Obradors
  • Luca Villacis
  • Deborah Cox
  • Andy McQueen
  • Ajahnis Charley
  • Dylan Taylor
  • Kate Moyer
  • Milton Barnes
  • Maxwell McCabe-Lokos
What is the premise for Station Eleven?

A review by Brian Tallerico ( is very insightful and should be read in its entirety. Here is a quote from the review:

“Some people might not be ready for HBO Max’s “Station Eleven.” After all, it’s a story of a pandemic that destroys most of the planet and divides its survivors. While it’s based on a 2014 acclaimed novel by Emily St. John Mandel, the show has something to say that feels unique in 2021, about what we think we’ve lost forever and what we discover will somehow return to us. It’s a show that resonates in a different way now than it would have pre-pandemic, but I think it would have been incredibly powerful whenever it cam out because it’s themes are timeless. They just feel a little more urgent in 2021.”

Be sure to go to and read this review.