Post-apocalyptic scenarios always tackle existential issues while painting terrifyingly realistic picture of the society, speculating what life on earth would be like after the Apocalypse.
The first significant works reflecting on the subjects were books. Mary Shelley’s The Last Man tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world in a distant future where mankind had been wiped out after a deadly disease. The novel was first published in 1826 and it is amazing that even though the genre is over a hundred years old, it still reflects on today’s problems of the society and human nature. Later on, the author Cormac McCarthy kept the trend and revived the genre with his best-selling Pulitzer-winning novel The Road. Then Stephen King stunned the audience with his phenomenal novel The Stand.
In the modern age, science fiction has greatly expanded when entered into the film industry and television. Many stories from book classics as well as comics were adapted into movies and television series and due to their captivating storylines, thrilling special effects and directed by true film geniuses, received high acclaim keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.
What would the world, as we know it, be like in the aftermath of a global disaster? Into what would the survivors turn uprooted of their normal living?
We have listed some of the top-rated TV series depicting lives of small groups of people struggling to survive in damaged horrifying worlds.
The Tripods is a television production of UK and Australia, first aired in UK on 15 September 1984. The story is based on the John Christopher's award-winning series called The Tripods that consists of three books: The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead and The Pool of fire. This gripping and well-written sci-fi thriller describes a futuristic world where human race is enslaved by aliens. The plot centers on two boys who fight for their freedom against the alien tripods who have conquered the earth and taken full control on people's mind but not until they turn 16 years old.
The Last Train
The Last Train is a British series depicting the lives of three train passengers: a scientist, a police officer and a wanted criminal. As they travel to Sheffield, their train crashes inside a tunnel. The crash lets off a strange gas due to which the passengers pass out. When they wake up the world, as they know it, has suffered a complete change. A giant meteor impact had destroyed the world and killed almost the entire human population. It appears that the three passengers are some of the fewer alive and they have to face an uncertain future in post-apocalyptic Britain. They embark on a journey with only intention to survive in the new terrifying world that has started to overrun with tropical plants and haunted by man-eating animals. The tone of the series is set to dark and the viewers can easily immerse in the depressing ambience. Hopelessness begins to escalate as the characters come to realize the brutality of the situation they are.
An influenza virus kills almost entire human population leaving alive only these who have inner immunity. They might have survived a pandemic, but in the aftermath of the tragic events they have to face new deadly challenges: living in a world with no laws, no civilization left, and dealing with other survivors who may not come with pure intentions, or willing to help anyone but themselves. The series focus on a group of six different people who accidentally find each other in post-virus Britain after the virus has stroked and killed millions of people. Safety is in numbers. They decide to stick together, find shelter and food to survive as long as possible. On their way to a safe place, they encounter other survivors who want to join the group. Survivors is based on Terry Nation's novel which was first published in 1975. The series ran in two seasons in 2006-2008 on BBC One, but got cancelled due to poor rating leaving the fans frustrated because of the cliffhanging final of season two. Nevertheless, the show has much potential and is worth watching. Despite its cancellation Survivors remains a good quality show with so much potential, binging entertaining, and realistic storyline. It reflects on human nature and relationships in extraordinary circumstances. In a hostile world full of ill-wishers, criminals and ambitious leader-wannabies, a small group of strangers, totally different from one another, comes together to grow a family-like bond.
The Walking Dead
Based on the iconic graphic novels, The Walking Dead is Frank Darabont's absolute masterpiece. The show became one of the most anticipated in the history of television. Included in every post-apocalyptic TV series top 10s, The Walking Dead succeeds to attract even those viewers who do not usually enjoy the genre, but it is so captivating that they can certainly make an exception. Ever since its first season has been aired on TV, it triggered a fast-growing passion among TV fans for post apocalypse plots. This show clearly invites viewers to one hell of a ride. The series, brilliantly directed by Darabont, introduce several characters who struggle to survive in a world dominated by zombies. The episodes are filled with high degree of suspense and edge-of-the-seat moments, and you can’t escape the feeling that the end is near. The greatly emotional scenes between the main characters contribute a lot for the show’s success. The Walking Dead delivers increasing realism which is why people not only appreciate it, but become obsessed about the characters’ faith. You don't need to like post-apocalyptic scenarios, nor zombies. If you enjoy high quality plots, good suspense, jaw-dropping twists and strong performances, you will definitely find this show absolutely engrossing.
El Barco (The Boat)
A fatal incident in Switzerland causes a global cataclysm. A scientific experiment of implementing a particle accelerator leads to a major severe storm. In the aftermath of the storm the earth is gone. 90% of its surface goes under water. Soon it appears that the only humans who survived the deadly storm is the crew and students traveling on board of a school- ship, called Estrella Polar (Northern Star). Whilst some describe El Barco as the Spanish version of Lost but on a ship, others find the idea truly innovative. El Barco consists of three seasons and all episodes offer remarkable mixture of action, romance, mystery, suspense, and adventure. Add to this combination some special effects and conspiracy touches, and there you have a perfect formula for success. Indeed, the post-apocalyptic drama was marked greatly successful in Spain. Moreover, it made a strong entrée on the international TV field. El Barco gained huge popularity, growing into a massive television hit in Latin America and Eastern Europe. It stole the viewers’ attention in so many other countries like Chile, Hungary, Portugal, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. In Russia there has already been run a remake. What is more, a new US series are set in development, so in 2016 is expected an American remake. The show will go under the name Magellan.
The list continues 5 more titles you will enjoy. Read Wasteland stories: Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic TV series, Part II.