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The Post Apocalyptic Story - Why The Resurgence?

Updated on August 31, 2018
A resurgence of interest in the post apocalyptic story
A resurgence of interest in the post apocalyptic story | Source

Over the last few years, post apocalyptic literature, movies and TV series are flourishing. In these tales, some cataclysmic event causes life as we know it to cease, and those who are left behind have to pick up the pieces and continue on as best they can. Television shows especially are reflecting this renewed interest in the post apocalyptic story. The TNT series "The Last Ship" premiered June, 2014. Its premise is that a global pandemic has wiped out much of the earth's population and thrown civilization into chaos. The popular series “The Walking Dead” completed season four. and is into its fifth season. In it, a disease has attacked most of the human population, causing them to die and then arise as mindless flesh-eating zombies. Falling Skies takes place in a world devastated by an alien invasion. The Web series H+ completed its first season on YouTube. In it, much of society has gotten hard wired into the Internet through computer chip implants. Unfortunately, the implants are attacked by a computer virus, and much of the world's population is killed. The Syfy Channel's show "Defiance", set in the year 2046, portrays an earth which has been terraformed beyond recognition by invading aliens. There are even two reality shows on TV – Doomsday Preppers and Doomsday Bunkers. What is causing this huge interest in the post apocalyptic theme?

Trailer for H+

Mayan Calendar
Mayan Calendar

Belief That The End Is Near

The Mayan Prophesies - The Mayan calendar came to an end in December of 2012, leading many to believe that this prophesied the end of the world. A New Age interpretation was that the earth was going to shift on its axis in December, causing a transformation in the human consciousness. The end of the world never happened, and I don't think that the earth's axis shifted, but many still believe that human consciousness was uplifted, and celebrated that fact.

Revelations and the Rapture – Many Christians, particularly Christian fundamentalists, believe that the end of the world is near. In fact a recent poll by the Barna group showed that four out of ten Americans and 77 percent of evangelical Christians believe that we are living in the end times. Such well known figures as Michelle Bachmann and Billy Graham support this theory.

The popular series “Left Behind”, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, contributed heavily to this belief. In the Rapture series, the rapture has occurred, and those left behind face a world that is being taken over by the Anti-Christ. Nicholas Cage is starring in the upcoming movie "Left Behind" which is scheduled for release October 3, 2014.


Real Life Threats

We are witnessing climate change right now, and many experts say that if it continues we will see extreme weather patterns that will cause violent storms, draught and flood. These predictions seem to have been emphasized by the the wildfires, record heat and violent storms that have broken out recently. The possibility of a nuclear armed Iran or North Korea is a continuing problem. Newt Gingrich was so concerned about the threat of an Electronic Magnetic Pulse weapon being used, that he brought it up during a debate in the primary debates. In June of 2013 he issued dire warnings to members of the Electromagnetic Pulse Caucus, stating that an EMP attack could knock out all power grids and end civilization as we know it. The Near Earth Object Program at NASA keeps track of comets and other objects that could potentially hit earth and cause a catastrophe. With MRSA bacteria on the rise, and such horrors as flesh eating bacteria in the news, we worry about diseases getting out of control and possible world wide pandemics. There has even been a rash of zombie-like attacks in which people, thought to be fueled by the drug “bath salts”, viciously bit into the flesh of their victims. The CDC has issued a tongue in cheek warning that there is not a zombie apocalypse. With all of these real life scenarios, it's no wonder we are becoming more interested in fiction dealing with these problems.

Wanting To Rebuild Society And Have A Simpler Life

Perhaps much of the interest in the post apocalyptic theme is the fantasy of getting thrown into a time where life, although more precarious, is much less complex. So many people in the world are disgusted, angry and just plain overwhelmed with the the way the world is today. We long to have a society where things are far less complicated. After all, in the post apocalyptic world, there is no boss, no government, no mortgage, car or credit car payments. We long to have a government that is free from corruption and is truly for the good of mankind. We are disgusted with the problems that we see in society, and want to rebuild it. It's not that we really want anything horrible to happen, but the post apocalyptic world offers us a fantasy in which, if we were to survive, there is a chance for renewal and a fresh start on both an individual and a societal level.

Whatever the cause, it's a fact that there is a huge interest in these shows. Let's just hope for all of our sakes that the apocalypse is merely fictional and never becomes a reality.

Missed Any Of These Post Apocalyptic TV Series?

If you've missed any of these great post apocalyptic TV series, you can see them right now on streaming Netflix, and of course on DVD.

Jericho – Although canceled after only 30 episodes, Jericho quickly became a cult classic. A nuclear war is the culprit in this one.

The Walking Dead -Seasons 1 through 4 – In this unexpected hit series, a bacteria turns much of the world into mindless zombies.

Survivors – In this British TV series, a deadly flu attacks the world, and a small group of survivors struggle in a world of anarchy without electricity or running water.

Revolution - The world has gone dark with no electricity, and society is sent back into the dark ages.

I Want To Know What You Think

What Do You Think Is The Main Cause Of The Renewed Interest In Post Apocalyptic Stories?

See results

© 2012 Margaret Perrottet


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    • mperrottet profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Perrottet 

      6 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      KevinKinkade - you're so right about the change in the characters in these dramas. Perhaps part of the fascination of these stories is that people imagine themselves in the same situation and see a chance for personal transformation. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!

    • KevinKinkade profile image

      Kevin Kinkade 

      6 years ago from Manor, Texas just outside Austin

      I believe it's a combination of all of these things mentioned above. I think for some, it's interesting to see how various members of society behave in a state of total anarchy. Some are heroes, trying to help others and some are villains, taking advantage of a lawless society and some are helpless and lost. People's mundane roles in society change and they become transformed. The former insurance salesman becomes a militia leader and a former pizza delivery guy becomes a scavenger and hooks up with a beautiful farm girl. I also think that some of us are aware that we are reaching a tipping point with climate change, strange viruses and worldwide military conflict with nuclear weapons being a constant threat so what today is just TV fantasy could possibly be a real life scenario for the future and maybe some of us are secretly planning for such an occurrence.

    • mperrottet profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Perrottet 

      8 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      tolstoytherapy - Looking at the poll results so far, most of the votes are indeed that we long for a simpler life. Of course, if we - as you stated - simply change our lifestyle, that would accomplish simplicity without having to have society annihilated. :) Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

    • tolstoytherapy profile image


      8 years ago

      Great post! You've hit the nail on the head by saying that a desire for simplicity is at the root of this modern mindset. Society certainly needs working on, but perhaps we all need to change the way we approach life too.

    • mperrottet profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Perrottet 

      8 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      rajan jolly - Glad you found this interesting, and thanks so much for stopping by!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Interesting read, Margaret. I think people need a change for the better and what better than fantasy to indulge in.

    • mperrottet profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Perrottet 

      8 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      Au fait - I believe that although people don't want the world to end, there's a great dissatisfaction in society today, and that many would like to return to a simpler life. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment - and thanks for sharing.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      8 years ago from North Texas

      I don't have a TV. I wasn't aware of these programs you mentioned. I suspect a lot of people are drawn into them because as you say, they would like a return to a society and a world that is familiar to them.

      While many people today seem not to put any faith in the Bible, it does say that there will be many rumors that the end is near, that Christ has returned and is here or there, and those people who have read and studied the Bible will know the difference. People who have not read and studied (and understood) the Bible will be fearful and run around yelling the world is going to end this day or that day . . .

      Interesting hub. Voted up and interesting. Will share!

    • mperrottet profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Perrottet 

      8 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      Peggy - I have been watching Revolution, and you're right - it's not at all pretty what could happen if society breaks down. Actually, in most of the post-apocalyptic fiction that I've seen on movies, TV and in literature, the world is a pretty rough place to live in. Thanks so much for reading and voting - I appreciate it!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have started watching the television series Revolution. While going back to a simpler way of living (without electricity) it is not depicted as all pretty if you have seen the show. I loved reading the utopian books you mentioned when I was young. Ah...if it were only that simple to achieve. If everyone was altruistic and believed in the Golden Rule, it could work. Sadly, there are too many who would never fit into that mold. Interesting hub! Voted that and more.

    • mperrottet profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Perrottet 

      8 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      @Healthyannie - I also think that people are changing their attitudes, and are realizing more that chasing money isn't the path to happiness. Thanks for reading and leaving your insightful comment - it's appreciated!

    • Healthyannie profile image

      Annie Messeri 

      8 years ago from Spain

      Thanks for this great hub. I think people are changing their attitudes to life, and this is why I think we will not emerge out of this economic sdown turn for a long time. We can´t just spend money to make ourselves happy. Eventually I think we will have to change our world

      and re-focus to move forward. Thank you for a great hub. Annie

    • mperrottet profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Perrottet 

      8 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      Melovy, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment and vote. I'm wondering if another reason that these shows have become so popular is the copycat effect. Since "The Walking Dead" and "Falling Skies" were such hits, maybe there's a bit of just jumping on the bandwagon.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      8 years ago from UK

      This is interesting. I had not thought about what might be a cause of the post apolcalyptic stories just now, but I can see that the belief many people have about the significance of 2012 could have an effect. I haven't seen any of those TV series, but my daughter is reading almost entirely dystopian novels just now, and I read the Hunger Games after she did. The idea of it concerned me so I wanted to see what she was reading and found the books to be well written.

      You could be right that it's simply that our societies have excess in so many ways, and people yearn for simpler times.

      Whatever the reason, this is a thought provoking hub. Voted up.

    • mperrottet profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Perrottet 

      8 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      I thought Jericho was one of the best TV shows of this type. Thanks so much for reading, commenting and voting, tillsontitan - much appreciated!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      8 years ago from New York

      I just love fantasy of any type and to me this new rise of apocalyptic shows is a sign, as you said, of our dissatisfaction with the world we live in. Hopefully, no one really wants it to end, but Jericho sure looked good in the series ;)

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • mperrottet profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Perrottet 

      8 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      MizBejabbers, thanks for commenting and voting up! I think that 1984 must have been one of my first dystopian book as well, along with Brave New World. I also love Anthony Burgess's dystopian novels Clockwork Orange and The Wanting Seed.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      8 years ago from Beautiful South

      I think that it is all of the above reasons that you stated. I have been a fan of utopian-dystopian novels since I discovered Orwell’s 1984 back in the 1960s, and for a long time, I just couldn’t get enough of them. Nowadays, fantasy novels are the rage in science fiction and combining sci-fi with dystopia just makes sense and for good sales. I’m hooked. This is a goodie – voted up+

    • mperrottet profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Perrottet 

      8 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      Thanks for reading and voting Gamerelated. Fallout sounds pretty interesting - that's another thing I think that's increased in popularity - the number of post apocalyptic games.

    • Gamerelated profile image


      8 years ago from California

      I love this genre as well. My favorite video game is a video game series called Fallout. Fallout, as the name might imply, chronicles a post nuclear apocalyptic world where nuclear weapons have wiped out most of the people on the planet except the few that were lucky enough to survive the nuclear blast or the ones that were lucky enough to be chosen to live in underground vaults.

      In Fallout 3 you play a person that was born in a vault. All you know is vault life. Then you escape from the vault as a teen or young adult to discover a world that full of radiation, mutated animals and humans, as well as raiders looking to take advantage of the weak. Fascinating game with beautiful artwork.

      Great work mperrottet. I voted it up and shared.

    • mperrottet profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Perrottet 

      8 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      Lisa, I've also been a big fan of post apocalyptic and dystopian fiction for years. I'm amazed how popular it's gotten lately, though. The zombie and vampire thing is interesting. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

    • LisaKoski profile image


      8 years ago from WA

      I personally love post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, movies, and TV shows. Of course that means I'm a fan of The Walking Dead, amongst many other things. I read before that zombies in particular become popular when people feel that their society is under economic crisis and that when the opposite is the case, we tend to veer toward vampires. I don't remember where I read that or know how accurate it is but it's an interesting fact I thought I'd share.

      This is a fascinating read and you make a lot of great points here. I'd thought about this before but didn't really connect the fact that there are plenty out there who believe the end of the world is near that may be part of the reason why post-apocalyptic entertainment is so popular. Nice hub!


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