Here’s a list of my favorite survival/post-apocalyptic TV shows and movies. Watching TV shows and movies is a way to have fun and perhaps gain a few tips. Most importantly, such shows can help broach the topic of survivalism to friends and family members who think we’re nuts. They present us with hypothetical scenarios that can stimulate discussion and make us aware of possibilities that we had not already contemplated.
The list below is in no particular order. They are all good shows and movies. I couldn’t rank them in order of excellence. In creating this list I did learn that I really like post-apocalyptic shows. I am interested in how others visualize the end of the world.
Two TV shows that didn’t make the list are National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers and NBC’s Revolution. I have watched a few episodes of these shows but they are just so dumb.
Another caveat—I didn’t include a list of documentaries. I realized that almost all the documentaries I liked were about the flu—go figure. I felt my list wasn’t wide enough in scope to be representative. Perhaps you guys can help me here.
Please read through the list and comment below. What are your favorite prepper-related TV shows? What are your favorite movies? I would love to hear your recommendations.
This show premiered on TNT June 19, 2011 and is currently in its fourth season. It is a post-apocalyptic, science fiction drama in which a group of civilians and fighters must survive and rebuild after a worldwide alien attack.
This is a British science fiction show that premiered on BBC in 2008. It is another post-apocalyptic, science fiction drama in which a group survives a particularly virulent strain of the flu that has killed off most of the human race. The series was cancelled after two seasons due to poor viewership.
This is another post-apocalyptic, science fiction TV show. It premiered on AMC October 31, 2010 and is currently in its fourth season. The show depicts a group that has survived in a world where a virus has turned the majority of humans into zombies.
This is yet another post-apocalyptic, science fiction drama that depicts residents of Jericho, Kansas in the aftermath of a nuclear attack. The show premiered on CBS September 20, 2006 and was cancelled after four seasons due to poor viewership.
This is a reality TV series that premiered on Discovery Channel. There are four seasons. “Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment” is the second season, which premiered April 14, 2009. The series depicts a group of nine ordinary people who have been dropped in Alaska, handed a map, a compass and backpack equipped with everything they would need to survive. They are asked to make the trek out of the wild.
This is a reality TV show that premiered on Discovery Channel July 21, 2009. The show places a group of ten strangers in a simulated survival situation in the wake of a global catastrophe. The second season was filmed in Chalmette, Louisiana amid the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. The show follows a group in a simulated post-apocalyptic environment in which an unknown viral outbreak has decimated the population.
This is a Korean movie released August 15, 2013. It depicts the most severe influenza outbreak (H7N9) the world has ever seen. If you want to know what those FEMA camps are all about, watch this movie. The acting and storyline are both exceptional. The plots in this movie twist and turn, often in unexpected ways. This is a must see for anyone concerned about a potential pandemic. IMO, this movie makes Contagion look like a made for TV movie.
This 2008 WWII film depicts the lives of three freedom fighters (and brothers). The trio flees into the woods after the Nazi occupation of Belarus where they are called upon to protect nearly one thousand of Jewish non-combatants from the Nazis. The film stars bad-ass James Bond, Daniel Craig.
The road is a 2009 film you will likely watch only once. It depicts the desperate lives of a father-son combo who are forced to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Warning: This film is graphic and is inappropriate for children.
The Book of Eli is a 2010 film that depicts the life of a nomad 30 years after a nuclear apocalypse. The film all the markings of Hollywood; it makes the list because of its focus on the Bible.
This film aired on television in 1983. I was a kid and this was the height of the Cold War. The film scared the hell out of me. It depicts the lives of ordinary people in Lawrence, Kansas in the aftermath of a nuclear war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
This film may get displaced from my favorites list by some of your suggestions. It is a 2003 Canadian adventure film staring Barry Pepper. The film is about a small airplane pilot who crashes in the Alaskan wilderness with an Eskimo woman who has TB. I like this film because of the respect it demonstrates for native survival techniques.
This is a 1998 science fiction disaster film that depicts the world’s attempt to prepare for a 7-mile wide comet projected to hit Earth. This movie is totally Hollywood but it is entertaining.
This is a coming of age 2007 movie about a young man that rejects the materialism of the modern world and escapes to the wilderness of Alaska. This is a beautifully filmed, moving story of survival and death. This film is untrammeled by the commercialization of Hollywood.
Okay, you know this had to make the list. The 1984 film depicts a post-apocalyptic world that has been taken over by artificially intelligent machines called terminators. Thus far in the series there are four movies: (1) Terminator, (2) Terminator 2: Judgment Day, (3) Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and (4) Terminator Salvation.
This is a WWII era movie about a group of prisoners who escape a Siberian Gulag camp. The film depicts their grueling trek across the Himalayas in route to India.