10 apocalyptic TV shows that make the end of civilization binge-worthy

apocalyptic tv shows colony feat

What does “the end of the world” really mean? Is it an end to humanity altogether, or simply the end of humanity as we know it?

Television has a long history of exploring the apocalypse in different, but often intriguing, ways. In the past, shows such as Battlestar GalacticaJericho, and Fringe each spun unique stories out of the end of civilization, and upcoming series like Snowpiercer and The Passage will continue that trend. And that’s just the tip of the rapidly melting iceberg.

From alien invasions and zombie takeovers, to robot dogs and religious theocracies, there are several current series exploring the myriad ways things can go horribly, horribly wrong for humanity, inching us closer to a violent end. Here are some of the best shows on television right now set amid the downfall of human civilization and its aftermath.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ (Hulu)

Among the most obvious choices on our list, this award-winning Hulu series confines the dire situation to Gilead, an authoritarian, theocratic empire encompassing much of what was once the United States, where women are forced into sexual servitude to bear children for oligarchical couples. Women are banned from owning property, handling money, or even reading, with harsh punishments meted out to anyone who defies the laws. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a sharp and brutal regression to an existence in which religious fanaticism reigns supreme, and humans are treated like property.

‘The Walking Dead’ (AMC)

Call them what you want — zombies, walkers, biters, eaters, or roamers — but a virus has created shambling, undead creatures in AMC’s hit series with one mission: To feed on human flesh. Following perhaps the most popularized apocalyptic scenario, the show follows a small group of survivors as they’re forced to band together and fend of evil on all fronts in an attempt to rebuild society. All too often, however, the survivors find that in such desperate times, the living are sometimes a more dangerous enemy then the dead.

‘The Rain’ (Netflix)

In this Danish series, which was just renewed for its second season, a virus distributed via raindrops has wiped out almost all of Scandinavia. Siblings who survived in a bunker search for any signs of life, and while doing so, encounter other young survivors. Interestingly, they discover that even with little sign of life, many of the same challenges and emotional experiences they would have endured in a pre-apocalyptic world still exist in this disastrous situation.

‘Mr. Robot’ (USA Network)

Surely the takedown of one multi-national conglomerate can’t mark the end of an entire society, right? In this USA Network series, a sophisticated hack of a company involved with everything from national banks to consumer credit, the manufacturing of tech devices, and various other facets of modern existence singlehandedly leads to the devastation of society. Shops close, family savings are lost, people riot and loot, and the populace all-too-suddenly resorts to violent crime in the streets as they try and cope with the downfall. While life still seemingly goes on as E Corp (or as the hacker played by series star Rami Malek calls it, “Evil Corp”) tries to persist, the dangers of not being able to rebuild threaten a collapsing world economy.

‘Black Mirror’ (Netflix)

This entire series foreshadows situations where technological development can go terribly wrong and lead to a scary new way of life. One episode in particular, however, shows a truly apocalyptic scenario whereby robotic “dogs” have taken over the world following the collapse of human society. Filmed entirely in black and white, the fourth-season episode Metalhead is an ominous look at the story of a woman’s desperate attempt to survive an attack from the four-legged artificial intelligence.

‘The Last Man on Earth’ (Fox)

The only comedic series on the list, The Last Man on Earth casts Will Forte as Philip Tandy Miller, who thinks he is literally the last man on earth after a deadly virus wipes out almost all of humanity. Spoiler: He eventually finds others, and they work together to try and repopulate society, despite constantly irritating one another. While the series was recently canceled, its fourth and final season aired earlier this year, and all episodes are also available on Hulu.

‘The 100’ (The CW)+

A nuclear war has destroyed civilization, but a group of adolescents is sent back to Earth from an orbiting space station in order to test the planet’s ability to sustain life and start civilization anew. Oh, and they’re all juvenile prisoners, so … drama ensues. Upon the survivors’ return, they quickly realize they aren’t the only humans to survive the apocalyptic events that wiped out most of humanity, and distinct groups of other survivors have formed, with some hungry for flesh and others hungry for power.

‘Colony’ (USA Network)

Set in near-future L.A., the series is set after mysterious extraterrestrials known as the Hosts have taken over the planet, tasking the human military regime known as the Transitional Authority with enforcing their will. Regions of humanity are separated by massive rectangular blocks that appeared from the sky, creating walls around buildings and dividing the cities. With the Hosts controlling who can get in and out of the walls, the series chronicles life after humanity is subjugated by alien invaders and the resistance that forms in the wake of their arrival.

‘3%’ (Netflix)

This Brazilian dystopian thriller is the first Portuguese-language original series for Netflix, and it unfolds in a society divided among two distinct classes: The Offshore enjoy privilege and technological superiority, while the Inland are plagued with poverty and deprivation. Once you turn 20, you can apply to join the Offshore. The catch? Only three percent of those who do so will get in. For the other 97 percent of humanity, it’s back to a life of perpetual struggle, or death.

‘Z Nation’ (Syfy)

Another series that explores life after a zombie epidemic, Z Nation takes a slightly comedic spin on the situation. Keith Allan plays Alvin Murphy, a prison inmate who not only managed to survive the apocalypse, but did so by receiving a vaccine that made him immune to the dreaded zombie bite. That protection came at a cost, however, and he is slowly mutating into a sort of human-zombie hybrid, with shedding skin and the ability to control the undead while still maintaining his mental faculties. Joined by a group of survivors with conflicting opinions about his condition, Murphy might be humanity’s best hope for a cure.

Movies & TV

‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler gets assist on LeBron James’ ‘Space Jam 2’

LeBron James has brought on Black Panther director Ryan Coogler to produce his upcoming Space Jam sequel, with Terence Nance attached to direct the film. Space Jam 2 is expected to begin production in 2019.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in September 2018, from 'Spotlight’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this summer with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Gaming

Best family-friendly games both parents and kids love

There are a wealth of great games out there that both parents and kids can enjoy together. We compiled a list of 30 games across all genres that are sure to make family game night a great time.
Movies & TV

Disney Play: Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming streaming service

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Play compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.
Movies & TV

‘True Detective’ director Cary Joji Fukunaga will helm James Bond 25

True Detective season 1 director Cary Joji Fukunaga will helm the 25th installment of the James Bond franchise after the departure of Danny Boyle, and the film will now premiere in February 2020.
Movies & TV

Jordan Peele’s ‘Twilight Zone’ reboot gets its first, creepy teaser

Get Out writer and director Jordan Peele is developing and hosting a reboot of the classic sci-fi anthology series The Twilight Zone for CBS All Access, and the show now has its first, creepy teaser.
Home Theater

Amazon’s Fire TV Recast promises over-the-air shows, DVR for all your screens

Amazon has set its sights on the cord-cutting crowd with a new over-the-air HD receiver and DVR called the Fire TV Recast. The box, which starts at $229, can record two programs at the same time and stream live content to Fire TV devices.
Home Theater

What’s new on Hulu and what’s leaving in October 2018

Our complete list of what's new on Hulu for October 2018, our personal favorites, and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on all the site has to offer -- and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming…
Movies & TV

'Daredevil' season 3 arrives next month, promises to 'let the devil out'

Season 3 of Daredevil will premiere October 19 on Netflix, so here is everything we know about the next set of adventures featuring Marvel Comics' man without fear before the third season's debut.
Movies & TV

How to watch NFL games online, with or without cable

The NFL's 2018 season is here, and we know you don't want to miss a moment of the action. Our comprehensive streaming guide will show you all the best options to watch the games online so you can make the right choice.
Movies & TV

How much!? Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones hat fetches $520,000 at auction

Described by the auctioneer as "a globally recognized cinematic treasure," the fedora worn by Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark has just gone under the hammer for more than half a million bucks.
Gaming

‘Hellboy’ reboot screenwriter could helm animated ‘Diablo’ series on Netflix

Hellboy reboot screenwriter and Boom! Studios founder Andy Cosby has revealed that he's in talks to write and act as showrunner for an animated Diablo series on Netflix. Little else is known about the project.