RotW (7): Station Eleven, Sabrina, Emma

This morning we were woken up by the sound of water dripping through the ceiling onto Ben’s pillow, so if you were wondering how we’re weathering the storm up here in the Midlands, the answer is that there are multiple holes in our roof.

But obviously we’re by no means the worst hit, and I really hope that wherever you are this week, you’re reading this from somewhere watertight.

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
What?: Hopeful, human dystopian novel set after a flu-like virus has wiped out the majority of the world’s population

dystopian glamping

I really did like this book, and it definitely ticked a lot of boxes for me: dystopia, character-led, lots of Shakespeare, references to Star Trek: Voyager… The story is told out of chronological order, which creates some lovely moments of payoff/pathos when you realise how the pieces fit together. And I’m always going to have a soft spot for any fiction which looks at the necessity of art in the midst of total collapse.

But even though my head really liked Station Eleven, it didn’t quite get to my heart in the way that I wanted. There was an overall softness to it and I guess I was looking for something a bit sharper.

I’d still recommend it, but if you read it in the near future you’ll probably spend a lot of your time trying very hard not to think about coronavirus.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Part 3 of the series which is absolutely definitely not the one you remember with Melissa Joan Hart

all of their faces = basically how i felt about this series

There’s so much I still like about Sabrina, but I got pretty fed up with Part 3. I’m still 100% there for the melodrama and the squelchy grossness, and how hard it’s willing to lean into the darkest places of Christian mythology. But this series was also disjointed and tiring and crammed full of stuff that didn’t feel coherent to me. Trying to make any sense of why a collection of characters including Robin Goodfellow, a gorgon, Circe, and Pan were referred to collectively as ‘the pagans’ was just exhausting, and I’m already bewildered by the squirelly set-up they’re trying to do for Part 4 (although I died of happiness any time someone said ‘Father Blackwood’s Time Egg’).

Once you notice how many times Sabrina says other characters’ names it becomes impossible to tune it out again, and her dialogue starts to sound like ‘Nick! Nick! Nick!’

Basically I’m never a fan of when a show goes from monster/problem-of-the-week to massive-complicated-plot-arc, so getting through this one was a chore for me and I doubt I’ll be back for Part 4. Which is a shame because I do like looking at Ambrose and Prudence, and thinking about Father Blackwood’s Time Egg.

Holy shit I enjoyed an Austen adaptation

look at how bloody gorgeous that neckline is

My complete lack of ability to enjoy anything even vaguely related to Jane Austen is a constant disappointment to my mother, so thank god Autumn de Wilde came along to repair our fractured relationship just in time (I’m kidding, me and Mum are tight, just don’t remind her that I also can’t get into the Brontës).

Watching this felt as delicious as watching a really good Shakespeare production – that twin satisfaction of knowing you’re having a canonically worthy literary experience and all the jokes are actually funny. It’s also completely gorgeous to look at and I would very much like to be dressed by Alexandra Byrne.

My favourite bit was when everyone in the cinema gasped out loud at a particularly shocking moment of impropriety, and then we all collectively laughed at ourselves for gasping.

There are a lot of literary adaptations knocking around this season so I wouldn’t blame you if you’re already feeling knackered by them, but I promise that you’ll like this one. I promise. You’re a perfect match.