The Desolate Wasteland of Post-Apocalyptic Television

-By Warner Todd Huston

Many TV critics and commentators like to say that you can judge the way this nation is feeling about itself and its times by looking at the sort of shows that are playing on television. They say that our mood and our outlook about our present and our future can be understood through the collective programming on the TV.

Well, a look at some of the popular shows now playing or those about to debut on the boob tube might make you wonder if TV has noticed that the country ain’t feeling so great? In fact, it’s downright post-apocalyptic.

That’s right, we’ve gone from 2008 and hope-n-chngiesness to the depths of post-apocalyptic cynicism.

Don’t take my word for it, check out the TV shows that are either in production or are about to be launched in the next season or so.

“Fringe” (Fox): This is the fourth season of a show that has gone from an scf fi, X-Files-like investigative series to a show about a post-apocalyptic world taken over by evil humans from the future. This season the Fringe team is desperately trying to defeat the evil men from the future and return earth to normal. Last season started turning apocalyptic, too, as the Fringe team raced to stop their dimension from being destroyed by a mirror dimension Earth interfering in the interim between the two worlds.

“The Walking Dead” (AMC): This year’s is the third season of a show that portrays a post-apocalyptic world after a zombie outbreak. Humanity is fighting back trying to eliminate the zombie hordes.

“Falling Skies” (TNT): This year is the second season of a show about a post-apocalyptic world after an alien race attacked earth destroying human civilization. Humans are hunted and killed by the technically advanced alien monsters that can control our very thoughts with a “harness” that steals our children and forces them to love the aliens and turn away from humanity. Humans desperately try to fight back against the invading alien hordes bent on annihilating them.

“Revolution” (NBC): A first season series about a post-apocalyptic world after an EMP-like device takes out all electronic devices rendering them totally inoperable. Humanity struggles to adjust to a second dark age that has plunged them back into subsistence farming and drudgery even as they are beset by marauding “militias” that kill indiscriminately and impress their young men to service.

“Last Resort” (ABC): Another new show, this one is about a world on the verge of nuclear war, one threatening to become a post-apocalyptic world. A new world war is being foisted on the country unawares by nefarious forces inside the U.S. Government that go rogue by trying to force a U.S. submarine to fire nuclear missiles on Pakistan. The good guys in the boat refuse these improper orders and are branded outlaws and traitors. As the rest of the world races toward nuclear Armageddon, the crew of the nuclear-armed sub tries to make sense of all the chaos of a world gone mad.

That isn’t all. There are at least two more shows in production that will debut next year.

“The Hundred” (CW): This one will be about a post-apocalyptic world of kids forced to repopulate a dead earth.

“Defiance” (SyFy): This is another show about a post-apocalyptic world after an alien attack.

Do you sense a post-apocalyptic theme? How’s that hope-n-change going for you?
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001