With the U.S. election, the apocalypse has been on our minds a lot lately. Thankfully, the US has been realising nightmare scenarios on television screens for decades. Enjoy these shows with twisted outlooks on the future while they’re still fictional.
The Walking Dead
People. Are. The. Worst. In the beginning America gets torn apart by a zombie apocalypse and you’d think the living dead are the one thing all the survivors have to worry about: wrong! The people are the real monsters and as America deteriorates, so does the moral code of each character. The Walking Dead is a huge downer, but people delight in the shock and schlock.
The show takes its name from a small town in Kansas that manages to survive a nuclear attack on America. Unlike the other shows, Jericho is less about a dire apocalypse and more about the mysteries surrounding the attack and the quest for answers. It’s kind of like if Lost was armed with nuclear warheads.
Stephen King adaptions can be a mixed bag and the mini-series from 1994 is more miss than hit but it gives us a taste of King’s take on the end of days for people who can’t be bothered reading an 800 page book. The story begins with a weaponised flu slowly wiping out 99 per cent of the world’s population. The survivors travel around America while caught in a battle between good and evil. It’s worth checking out only if you are desperation to see an adaption of King’s famous book.
A nuclear apocalypse wipes out life on Earth and the only survivors are people living on 12 space stations orbiting the planet. The stations join together to form ‘The Ark’ and live for 97 years in space. After nearly a century of floating in space, the leader of The Ark decides it’s time to test whether the Earth is habitual again, so they send 100 (see what they did there) expendable juvenile prisoners to the surface in a drop ship. Oh, and those juvenile prisoners are all ridiculously good looking and ready for some DRAMA. The 100 is full of teenage rebellion, neat sci-fi ideas and a whole lot of OMG. It’s also pretty bleak and the show is brutal with the way it kills off major characters with the backdrop of an American wasteland.
Life After People
The most brutal series of them all, Life After People wipes humanity off the face of the Earth. Not a single survivor. The series uses scientists, structural engineers, and other experts to contemplate what would happen if we all disappeared. Everything else stays behind: buildings, flora and fauna. The show looks at urban decay and how nature would reclaim the planet from us. There are cool digital recreations of major cities and landmarks to show what they’d look like.
Of course, the Americans don't have a trademark on the apocalypse. The French have given it a good look too with the dystopian drama Trepalium, now on SBS On Demand: