Apocalypse TV: 12 Shows That Ended the World
At some point in time, we’ve all wondered what it would be like to survive a global catastrophe that would send us all to hell in a hand basket at the hands of natural disasters, nuclear wars or even global pandemics that would wipe out life as we know it. Thanks to the creative minds of producers and directors, you can find a smorgasbord of shows that cater to this very unique preference in TV entertainment.
You’ll be surprised to see how many TV shows out there have killed off humanity in the name on entertainment! Whether it’s zombies, nuclear power, or even aliens that have ushered in the end of humanity, these grim dramas all showcase what happens when there’s no government, society, or economy: survival of the fittest is law.
What’s the best way to watch a TV show? With your friends, on your couch, on your phone on train, or on tucked up in bed with your tablet and significant other. Whatever you choose, it’s pretty clear that the world as we know it ends and here are just some of the ways it could happen. Here are Apocalypse TV: 12 Shows That Ended the World.
12: Sweet Tooth (2021) (Netflix)
Sweet Tooth is a Fairy Tale adventure show from Netflix, that follows half-deer hybrid Gus (Christian Convery) following the “Great Crumble” that saw a deadly virus Wipeout most of humanity. Following the death of his “Pubba” Gus head out into the lush, brightly saturated new world, joined by Tommy “Jep” Jepperd (Nonso Anozie) and a girl named Bear (Stefania LaVie Owen), on a journey to find his mother.
This bizarre but beautiful show is certainly a “gateway drug” into the world of post-apocalyptic tv with warm and fuzzy plot line that never sinks to far into the darkness. With beautifully realised characters, and intriguing world-building this show is certainly one that is easy to watch and even easier to enjoy. It’s a show that has wears it’s heart on its sleeve even if its surrounded by the depressing ruins of a world moved on.
11: The Last Train (1999)
If you ever needed proof that British audiences love their post-apocalyptic dramas, look no further than the 1999 ITV show The Last Train. A random group of individuals on a train travelling between London and Sheffield find their worlds devastated when a canister of gas is released when the train crashes in a tunnel. With the entire carriage cryogenically frozen, they wake to find that the world is not as they remembered. It’s the perfect way to travel. Jump on the train, quickly get frozen, and then wake up at your destination with no hassle. O.K. so the trains a little late to arrive, by about 52 years, but at least they can get a refund on their tickets right? As it turns out, no, the world has been devastated by an apocalyptic asteroid strike and they are alone in the British countryside.
The show made great use of amazing sets and digital touch ups thanks to CGI’s early TV appearances during the late half of the 90’s, giving us beautifully grim scenes of apocalyptic destruction. Sadly, the shows writing is classically bad for a British TV drama, falling on stereotypical characters that feel jammed in for the sake of drama. The shows pacing also felt very stilted and wasted at times, but overall, the shows finale and big reveal paid off enough for fans to still marvel at this wonderful little show. Sadly, it’s never hit the DVD shelves and has rarely been syndicated, which means many of you may never get to see this brilliant little drama. That’s a damn shame!
Survivors (2008–2010) (Prime)
Eerily mirroring the events of the Covid Pandemic the British science fiction television series Survivors proves that global pandemics are something we have been fearing for decades. The BBC produced show is actually a remake of a series of the same name from 1975. Both shows concentrate on a deadly strain of flu that quickly takes hold across the globe. With people quickly stricken by the virus, the situations grows worse as television networks, power grids and the government collapse.
In a world with no society, no police, and no law, a group of ordinary people fight to survive in the aftermath of the pandemic. Set in the noughties, the series focuses on their struggle to live in this new world. Due to large budgets and dwindling viewing figures, the show was cancelled after two season, but I can’t help but feel that it may just have been ahead of it’s time. Released now, it would surely be a mega hit.
War of the Worlds (2019) (Disney+)
At this point in time, you could possibly create an entire list of different film and TV adaptions of H.G Wells War of the Worlds, but only one of those delivers a devastating blow from those damn pesky Martians, that wipes out humanity. Produced by Fox Networks Group and StudioCanal-backed Urban Myth Films, War of the Worlds follows a group of people who survive a magnetic pulse that kills all exposed to it.
Whilst this series is not the War Of The Worlds you’re familiar with, it’s an interesting counterpoint to other, more faithful, adaptions. Delivering a bleak and terrifying look at an alien invasion that looks set to succeed. The show is set to return for third season in 2022.
The Last Man on Earth (2015) (Hulu)
The Last Man on Earth is an American post-apocalyptic comedy television series created by and starring Will Forte. The show follows Phil Miller, a survivor of a deadly virus that has wiped out humanity. The shows premise draws parallels with BBC comedy show Red Dwarf, where the last human alive is a selfish and immature loser, and not the ideal candidate to represent the last of humanity. When he starts to discover other survivors, his worst traits start to emerge. Phil is a selfish, passive-aggressive pathological liar who manipulates everyone he meets. In a world of last chances, Phill may well be on the losing end of this fight for survival.
The show was sadly cancelled after four seasons, which means that you may never get to see the planned ending where Phil’s poor choices and selfish behaviour ends up killing all the other survivors he encounters, when he spreads the killer virus to them, making him the last man alive (boom boom).
Z Nation (2014) (Netflix)
Z Nation was Syfys attempt at riding the waves of the monster success of AMC’s The Walking Dead, with the plot following survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Set four years after the initial outbreak, the show follows Alvin Murphy, a former convict who was part of a scientific experiment which has made him immune to the deadly bite of a zombie. Despite transforming into a strange hybrid zombie, other survivors believe that Alvin could be humanities last chance, as he contains the antibodies that can prevent infection.
The shows ran for five season and received mixed reviews, with the largest concern being the shows low budget, terrible cast and poor story. Syfy had big plans for this series, but it ultimately fell foul of the uber low budget that channel had for the epic scaled series.
The Last Ship (2014) (Prime)
The Last Ship is an American action-drama television series, loosely based on the 1988 novel of the same name by William Brinkley. Whilst Brinkley’s 1988 book saw a nuclear war destroy much of humanity, the TV series replaces nukes for a deadly virus which wipes out over 80% of the world’s population. The show focuses on the crew of the USS Nathan James, who have remained uninfected thanks to being out on maneuverers during the outbreak, in what I like to call extreme social distancing. The crew find themselves in the best position to find a cure and save humanity before it wipes out all life on the planet. Yippie…go go Nathan James!!!
The show was created by TNT and produced by Michael Bay, but whilst we hoped that he might bring his engaging style to the show, what viewers got was a low budget version of Bay’s blockbuster movies. Whilst show ran for five seasons, the viewing numbers quickly dropped as the shows story lines becomes more and more over the top and silly. Whilst there was plenty of action, the cast and story dragged the Last Ship down into the deep deaths of TV hell.
The 100 (2014) (Netflix)
The 100 is an American post-apocalyptic series, based off the book by Kass Morgan. The show is set Ninety-seven years after a nuclear apocalypse that left almost all life on Earth extinct. The survivors live in space station orbiting Earth, called the Ark. As the life support starts to fail, a group of one hundred children are sent on a mission to earth to find out if it’s habitable again.
With seven seasons under its belt, The 100 seems to be a show that you love or hate. Critics love the show’s dynamic cast and tense story lines, while fans have panned many of the show’s series for being dull, boring and going over the same ground time and time again. No matter how people feel about the 100, the budgets were right, the VFX was on par and the cast fit perfectly into this dark tale of survival, making this tale of post-apocalyptic life an enjoyable and fun ride.
The Rain (2018) (Netflix)
The Rain is a Danish show produced by Netflix, which takes a unique spin on world ending disasters. The show features a killer virus which is carried in the rain, which wipes out humanity. Set Six years after the world ending event, young survivors in a bunker emerge into the post-apocalyptic world in a journey to find their missing farther. Whilst the survivors think they have been set free from the social rules of the old world, they soon discover the dramas of love, jealousy and other coming-of-age dilemmas are just as controlling.
The Rain concentrates on the emotional journeys of the young characters, making this show intensely more entertaining than your run of the mill post-apocalyptic show. With complex characters and interesting stories, The Rain proves there is so much more to these type of shows than the grime and darkness of a world moved on.
Falling Skies (2011) (HBO Max)
Falling Skies is an American post-apocalyptic science fiction television series created by Robert Rodat and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. The show begins six months after a global invasion by extra-terrestrials who destroy the world’s power grid and wipe out 90% of the crippled worlds population. Falling Skies follows a group of resistance fighters at they fight back against the alien invaders.
Whilst the shows five series was generally met with positive praise, it’s formulaic approach to storytelling seemingly stole ideas from ever alien invasion show possible, making it overly familiar in tone and direction. However, the show did manage to flesh out the characters enough that you watched to see where their journeys would end.
Snowpiercer (2020) (Netflix)
Snowpiercer is an American post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller based on both the film and comic book series of the same name. The series, a reboot of the film’s continuity, follows the passengers of the Snowpiercer, a gigantic, perpetually moving train that circles the globe carrying the remnants of humanity seven years after the world becomes a frozen wasteland.
The film was a massive success when it hit in 2013, and it certainly was a brave move to transfer the action-packed thriller into a episodic formula. Where the film was a much faster paced action-oriented affair, the show has the time to develop characters and story, creating a much more intense drama.
Where show works best is in its world building, were the more we learn of the train’s factions and politics, the more enthralled we become in the story. With a third season announced, the show looks set to keep running on it’s tracks for a fair few more stops.
Walking Dead (2010) (Disney+)
The Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. Much like its comic book counterpart, the show follows sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes, who wakes up from a coma, only to find that a zombie apocalypse has wiped out the world.
Much of the Walking Dead charm is in its impressive world and character building, which distinctly stays away from stereotypes in exchange for everyman styled characters. And whilst the zombie “walkers” are always the main threat for the survivors, every season is riddled with a much greater threat, that of humanity itself. The show is also very well known for its graphic violence and intense gore. The producers and writers have never been shy of bringing a much darker TV show to our screens, and many central characters have been killed off over the years.
The show often falls back on the comics source materials for inspiration for story arcs and characters, but the show has always done its own thing with them, making both the comics and shows an alternate universe of the same story.
The shows impressive 11 season and two spin off shows, Fear the Walking Dead and Beyond the Walking Dead, prove that they have a good formula that fans love, and whilst the show is now in its very final season, producers have promised more shows and even a movie in the pipeline. So, whilst The Walking Dead is about to shuffle off out TV screens, the world will live on for many more years.
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“Hello Horror Fans – It’s the end of the world as we know it… and I feel just fine! I feel even better watching the Apocalypse from the comfort of my sofa. So waht do you think doomlings? Did our list DESTROY it? Maybe we missed a couple of KILLER shows? Let us know in the comments below.