With all that’s happened over the past two years, one would think apocalyptic tales in which humankind faces its own impending destruction might be a little too close for comfort. But end-of-the-world content is booming, and the latest shows to hit the streamers are proof that zombies aren’t the only enemy humans may face when the end is nigh.
From the White Spikes of the Chris Pratt-starrer The Tomorrow War, to the zombie army taking over Las Vegas in Army of the Dead, while aliens and the undead remain a fan favourite, it’s the humanity-destroying likes of viruses and pandemics that leave us wondering if what we’re seeing on screen might actually happen.
Ahead of Netflix’s all-star Don’t Look Up, about Earth’s impending destruction at the hands of an asteroid on collision course, set for release on December 10, here are eight ways to watch the end of the world…
‘The Last of Us’, HBO
Based on the popular PlayStation video game, HBO’s coming series is set 20 years after civilisation has been wiped out by a deadly fungus. The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal stars as Joel, a survivor hired to smuggle Ellie (Game of Thrones’s Bella Ramsey) out of a quarantine zone.
Together, the pair embark on a dangerous journey across the US with only each other to rely on. Merle Dandridge, who voiced Marlene, the leader of the Fireflies resistance group in the video game, reprises the role onscreen, as they battle the government’s oppressive military regime.
‘Sweet Tooth’, Netflix
If the show’s main image of a boy with antlers has left you scratching your head, rest assured that this series, based on a comic book, successfully blends darkness and hope in equal measures.
Set in the aftermath of a global virus that has wiped out a huge swath of the population, Gus (Christian Convery), a hybrid who is half-human and half-deer, is being tracked down by hybrid hunters, people who fear hybrids caused the global catastrophe. Saved by the intimidating Tommy Jepperd (Nonso Anozie), they, along with a ragtag band of survivors, embark on a journey together across the American West.
‘Good Omens’, Amazon Prime
Based on the book co-written by British sci-fi genre legends, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, the fate of humankind in the face of the apocalypse is left in the hands of an ambivalent angel who moonlights as a rare book dealer (Michael Sheen) and a rock star-esque demon (David Tennant).
The pair, who have been friends of sorts since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, are joined by a gang of four children – one whom may or may not be the anti-Christ – an ageing medium and part-time courtesan, a half-hearted member of the Witchfinder Army and a professional descendant and occultist, in their bid to divert disaster. Jon Hamm also pops up as the angel Gabriel.
‘The Rain’, Netflix
In this subtitled Danish offering, the weather turns against the Earth’s occupants with humankind wiped out by a virus that’s carried by the rain. Most of the population of Scandinavia have been killed when siblings Simone (Alba August) and Rasmus Andersen (Lucas Lynggaard Tonnesen) emerge from the bunker they have been sheltering in for the past six years ever since the killer precipitation began.
The pair set out to find their father, joining forces along the way with a small group of survivors searching for a quarantine zone in which to seek refuge.
‘See’, Apple TV+
The second season of the streamer’s original entry into the post-apocalyptic world dropped on August 27. Starring Jason Momoa and Dave Bautista, See is set hundreds of years in the future following a global catastrophe in the early 21st century which wiped out all but two million humans, with the survivors left without their sight.
Unable to father children, Baba Voss (Momoa), the chieftain of the Alkenny tribe, marries a woman, Maghra, who is already three months pregnant. The baby's biological father, Jerlamarel, is being hunted as a heretic for being a “sighted”, a rare being with the ability to see, by an army led by Voss's estranged brother Edo (Bautista), who believes sight was taken by God as a way to save the Earth.
‘The 100’, Netflix
Currently on season seven, the humankind-wiping event in The 100 is good old-fashioned nuclear annihilation. Adding more of a sci-fi slant to the usual apocalyptic fare, The 100 is set 97 years after nuclear meltdown destroyed the Earth, leaving the survivors to take up residence in an orbiting space station called The Ark.
Battling overpopulation onboard, the decision is made to send 100 people back to Earth to test out its habitability. But because they don’t want to risk sending anyone who might be missed, they drop 100 juvenile delinquents on to the planet and task them with finding out if it’s time for humankind to come home. The problem is, the teens aren’t as alone on Earth as they first thought. It stars Eliza Taylor and Isaiah Washington.
‘The Last Ship’, Hulu
Stop if you’ve heard this one before, but The Last Ship centres around a global pandemic that strikes the world. In this Michael Bay-produced show, the crew of the USS Nathan James are isolated in the Arctic on a mission when the virus strikes, wiping out 80 per cent of the global population.
On returning from their icy mission, they find the world in ruins and the only hope for a cure in the hands of two virologists aboard the ship and the captain Tom Chandler (Eric Dane).
Based on the novel by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, Zoo’s central premise on the destruction of humankind is all down to animals rising up and attempting to take over the world.
A genetic mutation called the “defiant pupil” causes animals to become highly intelligent and gain the ability to communicate and band together effectively enough to turn on their human masters. Cats hatch murder plots, dogs create ambushes, wolves stage a prison breakout and bats are capable of zeroing in on technology in order to destroy it.
At times entering B-movie territory, this series has become a fan favourite, starring Twilight’s Billy Burke and Mad Men’s James Wolk.