Welcome back! You probably know that I've taken quite an interest in the apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic genre. After all, I wrote an entire book series that focused on a steampunk wasteland. Well, I'm certainly not alone! Many people are fascinated with apocalyptic settings, particularly in films and television shows. But why are people engaging in such a depressing concept? The end of the world is literally becoming a hobby! I'm going to discuss a few ideas and then you can think about some conclusions as well.
It's easy to forget how long the post-apocalyptic genre thrived on screen. I remember classics like Waterworld, Mad Max, Independence Day, Escape from New York, and Twelve Monkeys. In the 2010s, the genre exploded in popularity with The Hunger Games franchise and The Walking Dead. At that point, apocalyptic settings became a huge craze. Practically every film studio invested in the genre. Even smaller studios like A24 released post-apocalyptic films, including The Rover and Into the Forest. Television networks also released quite a few apocalyptic titles. You can find apocalyptic shows on nearly any channel ranging from regular networks like The CW, cable networks such as USA, premium channels like HBO, or streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Some of these films and shows are highly successful while others are colossal flops. Even the Academy Awards and Emmys are recognizing the genre. Mad Max: Fury Road ran away with six Oscars and The Handmaid's Tale won eight Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series. That's quite an accomplishment! 2018 is still releasing post-apocalyptic titles. I saw Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Ready Player One, A Quiet Place, and The Darkest Minds this year. Let's not forget about the latest Avengers film. Infinity War is a superhero film, but it definitely has an apocalyptic story. That's a lot of releases in one year and we're not done yet. The later part of 2018 is going to release Anna and the Apocalypse, Mortal Engines, and Alita: Battle Angel. Many post-apocalyptic shows are still running as well, including The 100, Colony, The Last Ship, Into the Badlands, and Z Nation. Next week, American Horror Story: Apocalypse is going to make its big debut. I thought The Walking Dead would get axed after a few seasons, but it's still running! That show's plot is on a loop. Run away from zombies. Kill zombies. Once in a while, somebody turns into a zombie. Repeat. Apparently, the formula is still entertaining viewers.
How is civilization going to crumble? Hollywood thought of everything. Zombie apocalypses are always popular with 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, Resident Evil, and World War Z. Sometimes we see burned out earth settings, like The Book of Eli. Other times, it's an arctic apocalypse as seen in Snowpiercer. The animals rebelled against mankind in Zoo. Alien invasions come and go, including Falling Skies, The Darkest Hour, The 5th Wave, and Battle: Los Angeles. Periodically, The Terminator series releases robot apocalypses. Sometimes the environment goes insane in films like The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. Demons tried to destroy mankind in Ash vs Evil Dead while Heaven's angels nearly killed us in Legion and Dominion. The world permanently lost its electrical power in Revolution. Global infertility threatened the human race in Children of Men. Worldwide suicides were a phenomenon in The Happening. Vampires took over the world in Van Helsing, Daybreakers, I Am Legend, and Stake Land. It's not unusual for cyberpunk films to have post-apocalyptic settings too, including Blade Runner 2049. If you can think of an apocalyptic situation, the film and television industries probably used it.
Why are people so curious and downright enthusiastic about such grim settings? There are probably many reasons, but I have a few theories. All things must come to an end, including planet Earth. Hopefully, it won't happen within our lifetime. But I think many people are genuinely curious about the world's eventual demise. It's the ultimate mystery that will determine the fate of Earth's living creatures. People are also very frightened about instability that seems to be increasing in our world. In the modern era, people are legitimately concerned about nuclear war, global warming, overpopulation, superbugs, and other risk factors. Movies and tv shows always show a hopeful side to the apocalypse. Usually, the surviving humans overcome the worst situation and rebuild at the end. It's the grandest form of perseverance and it might give viewers the impression that we can survive anything. That sounds like wishful thinking to me, but I suppose it's always a good idea to maintain hope in bleak situations. Post-apocalyptic settings also show the end of a particular story and the beginning of something else. Perhaps, the new era will be much better than the previous one. Even the darkest films or shows maintain hope. I'm giving you a spoiler warning. An animated film called 9 takes place many years after the entire human race went extinct, but new life begins to form at the end. It also seems like people gravitate to the thematic material in apocalyptic stories. Common themes include morality, survival, social commentary, and human nature. Essentially, apocalyptic films and tv shows are commentaries on current issues. A modern problem spirals out of control and nearly destroys the world. Zombies, vampires, aliens, plagues, and everything else are metaphors for issues that we see in real life. In a way, these settings tell us to stop bad habits or it might cause our demise. Overall, I'm sure every fan of the genre has their own reasons for watching.
That should give you enough food for thought. Are you tired of apocalyptic films and tv shows? Go ahead and vent in the comment section. Are you a fan of this genre? Tell me about your favorite apocalyptic films or shows. Regarding news, I went to the Long Beach Comic Con and had a really good time. Next week's post will include all of my photos from the event. I talked about something grim today, so it'll be a good idea to post something positive next week. Be safe and don't forget to brush up your survival skills. ;)
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