By TVPlus30 March 2023
Now starring: The apocalypse! Shows about the end of the world
What are you betting on for the end of the world? Showmax has everything from genetic tampering, to rogue AI, fungi (of course), aliens, and comets. There’s no end to the exciting apocalypse menu. So get steppin’ & doomsday preppin’ as we break down our guide to The End Times.
Energy crisis: Last Light
The battle between Big Oil and Ecoterrorism leads to full-scale social meltdown in action drama miniseries Last Light. Environmentalist-turned-oil-company-chemist Andy Yeats (Matthew Fox) tries to figure out who’s destroying the world’s oil supplies overnight, after he’s arrested in connection with a scientific paper he wrote on an oil-eating bacteria species. And Andy’s climate change activist daughter (Alyth Ross) gets a wake-up call about how complex it’ll be to wean the world off oil, even in her lifetime. Based on Alex Scarrow’s 2007 novel of the same name.
Fungal infection: The Last of Us
In a world that saw a pandemic happen when a virus crossed over from the animal world into humans, it’s not too big a stretch to imagine a world in which an existing fungus like Cordyceps – which colonises and controls insects – could make the jump into human victims. In The Last of Us, Cordyceps’ key to making that jump is climate change. In true horror movie and apocalyptic reality style, it soon makes itself at home in the brain, treating its human host as a mix of packed lunch and mobility device. The Last of Us series is set 20 years into a future in which governments have responded to the threat of Infected humans by imposing a military dictatorship … after ignoring scientific calls to action for more than 60 years.
Civil war: DMZ
Ava DuVernay’s four-part action mini-series DMZ (based on Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s 2006 graphic novel of the same name) focuses on a medic named Alma Ortega (Rosario Dawson) who sneaks into the ruins of Manhattan to reunite with her son after they were separated during the evacuation of the city during a civil war that split the US into the Free States of America and the (remaining) United States, with Manhattan forming the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two. The series imagines how current cultural groups within Manhattan might develop and build together as the area becomes a post-apocalyptic nation state without police or military forces.
Rapture: The Leftovers
Over three seasons, this sci-fi drama series explores how we deal with confusion and grief, and who we turn to in the face of loss, as 2% of the world’s population vanishes overnight without trace and without explanation. The Leftovers’s real question is how we carry on and, in a rare twist for the apocalypse, the answer is hope and optimism. The first season is based on Tom Perrotta’s 2011 novel of the same name, and Tom worked hand in hand with series executive producer Damon Lindelof (Lost) as co-creator and writer throughout the other two seasons as they went off the map in fascinating ways, including an alternate dimension in which the President of the United States can only launch a nuclear attack by surgically removing a key from the heart of his doppelganger, who’s been sent to assassinate him.
Reality rift: The Cul de Sac
New Zealand’s three-season youth sci-fi drama imagines what would happen if grownups mysteriously all vanished and all technology stopped working. As the kids carry on, every 24 hours a massive reality-wave sweeps around the world and anyone caught out in it vanishes, while the wave also deposits “Creepers”, pasty white human-shaped monsters who come out at night and eat people. For those left behind, it’s a struggle to get food on the table, keep the lights on, and survive the night as fuel runs out and the trash bags pile up. Prepare for a real mind-bender when the “parents” return at the end of Season 1 acting not entirely like themselves. Over the next two seasons, the survivors figure out The Waves’s connection to a reality-bending technology initiative called Prometheus.
Fertility collapse: The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood once pointed out that everything she wrote about in her dystopian 1985 novel had already happened, somewhere, at some time. The series echoes that, seemingly one step ahead of current events as it shows how quickly human rights are stripped when society is restructured through violence and corruption. Season 2’s revelation that the fertility crisis that launched Gilead hinges on pollution-induced male (not female) infertility, spotlights the first casualty of all fascist societies – the truth. And over five seasons, The Handmaid’s Tale shows why nobody can ever “just” leave a dystopia, as it brutally illustrates the physical and emotional price that resistance movements pay.
Meanwhile at the movies…
In Resident Evil: Afterlife, Retribution, The Final Chapter and Welcome To Raccoon City, the cannibal zombie apocalypse is caused by the spread, both accidental and deliberate, of genetically engineered viruses. Zombieland’s hungry horde can trace their infection back to a fast food burger infected with mad cow disease. World War Z’s high-speed, pack-hunting zombies are caused by a blood-borne pathogen of unknown origins.
Horror comedy The Dead Don’t Die blames the Earth being pulled off its axis thanks to polar fracking for reanimating hungry corpses. Screaming zombie cannibals trap people in their home in Alone thanks to an untraced pandemic. And Dead Trigger’s zombies were caused by an unknown viral pandemic, in which our only hope is sending gamers to take on the horde.
A sentient AI named Archos escapes and takes over a futuristic world’s militaries in Robot Apocalypse flagging anyone who tries to stop it as a terrorist. In Singularity, an AI decides that humans are the greatest threat to life on Earth, wipes out most of humanity, and takes over the world with machines. And in The Matrix Resurrections, most of humanity is locked in a simulation of life by their computer overlords, who harvest energy from human bodies because mankind plunged the world into permanent darkness to stop them drawing energy from the sun.
In A Quiet Place Part II, ravenous, fast-moving and highly armoured aliens called Death Angels come to Earth after their planet explodes, possibly travelling on meteor fragments. The aliens are blind and hunt by sound so now the surviving humans have to move in silence. Black Friday’s alien parasites come to us courtesy of the Earth passing through a meteor on Thanksgiving. The parasites infect people, turning them into mutated freaks with a lust for blood … and Black Friday bargains … in this horror comedy. Tom Cruise movie Oblivion is set in a world in which Earth was supposedly evacuated following an alien attack that destroyed half the planet, but the truth is far twistier. And in sci-fi action adventure film Occupation: Rainfall, two years after an alien invasion, a human resistance movement sets off to find out the truth about an upcoming alien operation codenamed Rainfall.
In Greenland, the world erupts in chaos as fragments of a comet hit the Earth. And in Moonfall, something has knocked the moon out of orbit, setting it on a collision course with Earth and leading to all sorts of cool-to-watch natural phenomena, like extreme tides, not just for water, but for air. Australian sci-fi movie 2067 is set in a time when humanity is on the verge of extinction thanks to climate change, which has destroyed the trees and left humans dependent on pricey synthetic oxygen. Only time travel can save us. And Will and Jaden Smith’s movie After Earth is set in a future in which Earth has been evacuated thousands of years back following an unspecified environmental catastrophe.
Chemical weapon attack
The Domestics sees America fracture into bizarre tribes in the post-apocalyptic wasteland following a chemical warfare attack that wiped out most of the population. A chemical weapons attack also sets off the destruction of Earth leading to a struggling, high-tech post-apocalyptic future in the 2012 remake of Total Recall.
Now pick your poison, pack your snacks and water, and set off into the wasteland, with Showmax.
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