I think we can all agree that this last few years have made us wonder a bit about the end of the world…
From global warming, to, obviously, COVID, passing through the rise of terrorism and the political instability everywhere, we can picture many scenarios where our world can just take a wrong turn.
There are tons of movies and TV shows that try to imagine how society would deal with different types of apocalypse. Usually they talk about the collapse of governments, how the survivors have to find food, flee street gangs that formed or even fight the invaders.
But I wanted to find the shows that can make you dream even further. The ones that try to picture a few years after the Doomsday and create a whole different society, with a whole different culture.
So if you are like me, I present you my list for the post-apocalyptic shows with the best worldbuilding!
In 2012, a huge global event happened, known as ‘The Blackout’. All electricity stopped working and it never did again. This included things from city lamps to planes and cars. Nothing worked anymore.
The world became much different. The old governments fell and people had to form groups to survive and get supplies. This soon led to the creation of gangs and then proto-states, which warred among themselves until they became established and legitimized.
Now, in 2027, most of North America is divided among the Monroe Republic, an autocratic state in the North East; the Georgia Federation, a seemingly democratic country on the South East with public transportation (using steam-powered vehicles) and even foreign trade with Europe; the Plains Nation, a collection of small groups and autonomous regions on the Midwest; Texas, which covers a bit more than just Texas and also seems to be a democracy, being the country which appears to resemble the most with the former United States; the California Commonwealth, a government no one knows that much about that covers the entire West Coast of the US and parts of Canada; and the Wasteland, a lawless and ungoverned part of the country, mostly occupying the deserts of South US.
The show follows the Matheson family, who discovered a pendant that could have the answers about the Blackout and tries to find them, while passing through this new world and trying to survive.
It’s a shame it was cancelled after two seasons. There is a big audience for this genre and I believe they never managed to find it. Still, would recommend.
In this world, Earth is radically different, since when the aliens came to our planet, and on the course of a long war between them and humans, they ended up terraforming it with their flora and fauna. This made it a combination of the planet and ecosystem we all know and love, and that of the aliens.
Now, in 2046, humans and the several alien species live in this planet, and the world is divided in new countries, federations of countries or city-states that differ in organization and ideology (some being inclusive to both aliens and humans, and others not so much).
The show is set in Defiance, a town built on the ruins of St. Louis and is a melting pot of different cultures, both human and alien, where a veteran of the wars comes with his adopted alien daughter and discovers that there is a plot against the city.
It is a really interesting show, as it combines sci-fi with a post-apocalyptic set. It lasted for three seasons until it was cancelled, unfortunately. However, you can play the free-to-play video game of it, which is still being updated! Better than nothing!
There is a debate if Terra Nova can be considered Post-Apocalyptic, but considering it features a dying planet and people trying to save themselves and start a new society, I’m going to include it in this list.
In 2149, the Earth is truly dying. The air is almost unbreathable as our planet gets more and more polluted. So scientists find a way to solve this problem: time travel.
People are being sent to prehistoric times to build a colony of humans, living side by side with dinosaurs. They are equipped with all sort of modern and futuristic machines, such as solar panels, guns and cars, which they use to try to survive this hostile environment.
The main characters are the Shannon family, who is trying to fit in the colony, still ruled by the military, and tries to uncover plots that try to make humanity make the same mistakes that got them there.
Even though it had Steven Spielberg as executive producer, it got cancelled after just one season, too soon in my opinion, since it had a very good idea that could prosper. Still, it’s worth to watch just to make our minds fly in that crazy new/old world.
Into the Badlands
Into the Badlands is set in a world where a huge war destroyed society as we know it. It focuses on the territory known as the ‘Badlands’, 50 years after the Doomsday.
Here, a feudal society was born, with Barons, slaves, prostitutes and warriors, fighting with swords and using martial arts. The territory is divided in 7 regions, each with its own Baron: the Butterfly, Armadillo, Narwhal, Peacock, Grasshopper, Pickaxe and Fox territories. Each of the territories is rich in a certain resource and the Barons of such territories are responsible for contributing with their resource to the rest of the Badlands territories, to help run their societies.
Outside of these feudal lands live the Nomads, and many other groups. But not that much is known. There is even a legend of an amazing and utopian city outside of it, but it may all of it be stories…
The show is really interesting, especially in the way that they pictured this post-apocalyptic society: a semi-modern feudal society with martial arts.
It was cancelled in 2019, after three seasons, but it’s still a good show to watch.
Tribes of Europa
Similar to Revolution, but with a huge difference, since the catastrophe here (known as Black December) didn’t make the electronic devices never work again. They can still be salvaged and put back to work.
Still, the sudden stop of all electricity turned the world to chaos. In the year of 2074, the survivors live in small tribes scattered across Europe. These tribes sometimes made pacts and federations amongst themselves, others are more expansionist and dystopian and others just want to be left alone.
The main characters are three siblings of an isolated tribe, who come to find a strange man, referred as being an Atlantean, with a mysterious cube. Because of this, they get caught up in the conflict amongst the big players in old-Germany.
It’s a very interesting show and it still wasn’t cancelled! Woohoo! The first season was made in the beginning of 2021, with the second one still not approved by Netflix. But due to its good reputation, everything seems to point to a renewal. However, I must warn you: it is in German. So if you don’t like to read subtitles, that might be a problem.