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“It’s about an astronaut…Well, no: it’s about someone who survives a tragedy and discovers that he is totally alienated from everyday things. It is very deep”. This is how a secondary character describes Station Eleven, the mysterious fictional graphic novel whose pages the miniseries returns to again and again Station Eleven (HBO Max) to find comfort and advice in difficult times.

Based on Emily St. John Mandel’s 2014 novel, the fiction could have taken advantage of the sheer poignancy of the perfect carom of having a prophetic theme (how the 0.1% of humanity that survived a flu pandemic live) in the moment in which we already get tired of expecting the worst. Against all odds, see Station Eleven provokes the opposite effect: far from alienation, the everyday things that have survived the catastrophe –a truck, a bunch of golf gloves, a CD–, far from underlining the absence of the ritual that allowed it to fulfill its function, become they become a memorial of a life that no longer exists but is remembered.

Mackenzie Davis in the miniseries Station Eleven
Mackenzie Davis in the miniseries Station Eleven

Thus, Kirsten explains with infinite patience to the “postpan” (those born after Year 0 in the new normality) the step by step to request an Uber and confirms that, in the “Before”, all the plays in the world could be kept in the inert cell phone that he holds in his hands.

As the star of a Shakespearean company throughout Mad Max, the Transhumant Symphony, which tirelessly tours the small towns on the shores of the Great Lakes to offer Hamlet, Kirsten has come to embody the catchphrase of the mysterious astronaut in her bedside book, the castaway Doctor Eleven: “Surviving is not enough.” The representation of the Elizabethan tragedy, the graphic novel without a copy, the “Museum of Civilization”: everything they have managed to rescue from annihilation is a love letter to art, to its capacity to contain the sum of human experience, even if there are no more humans.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the two best series of the coming year focus on a group of survivors of a catastrophe. Yes, perhaps, that the duel contains so much humor and poetry.

the tragedy in Yellowjackets (Paramount+) is not global but personal: the plane of a women’s soccer team, with its assistants and technicians, crashes in 1996 in a remote and forested area of ​​Canada. The survivors, after burying most of the adults, and experiencing the euphoria of having survived and being free, believe they are on a kind of wild graduate trip (not far from there is the route of the Transhumant Symphony).

But the months go by, help does not arrive, food is scarce, winter is approaching and, above all, the secrets of the adolescents are combined with an evil drive that may or may not come from outside. A pressure cooker that explodes in a ritual hunt under the orders of one of them, self-proclaimed Queen of Antlers. The consequences of that “lapse of civilization” will haunt them for the next 25 years.

The passage of time and the paths that guilt and trauma open up in our memories are other characteristics in common between these two series, clearly daughters of our current times: stories of surviving women by chance and not merit, determined to deserve such fate or tempt it. until the end (staying alive might not be a blessing: there is someone determined to eliminate them, reveal their secrets or at least take all their money).

Yellowjackets Y Station Eleven they come and go in their narrative, between that nightmarish past and this only apparently more civilized “now”, between the young women faced with the loneliness of the wild and the women only superficially recovered from the experience. The meaning, and incredibly, the humor, is in being able to see the whole picture, even with the empty spaces of the missing puzzle pieces.

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