The end is here. At least on TV.
Always willing to jump on a trend, producers have discovered that anything that could lead to the end of the world is entertaining to audiences. It could be disease, zombies, a meteorite headed for the planet or a crazy presidential election. The hook is the means by which humans deal with fear.
Take “The Walking Dead,” for example. There’s never been a clear explanation of how one day all of the dearly departed got a deep hankering for brains. David Alpert, executive producer of “Fear the Walking Dead,” stresses his show isn’t about fighting zombies.
“We conceived of the show as a character drama set against a zombie apocalypse as opposed to a show about the zombie apocalypse. We always want to preserve the ‘character first and foremost’ approach to storytelling,” Alpert says.
There is a lot of that kind of storytelling going on. It’s not all new. Over the years TV has dealt with it through alien invasion shows, such as “The Invaders,” “V” and “Falling Skies,” along with man-made disasters in “Jericho,” “Jeremiah,” “Outcasts” and “Revolution.”
But there has not been a time when the apocalypse has been such a big part of TV programming. Here are 10 series you should put on your list to watch now, before the end of the world.
1. “The Walking Dead” (AMC): No show deserves more credit for the embrace of total annihilation than this series. It continues to draw more viewers each week than any other series. The never-ending herds of zombies are just one of the many problems the dwindling human race has to face. Andrew Lincoln stars.
2. “The Last Ship” (TNT): The series follows the crew of a navy destroyer that may be mankind’s last defense against a deadly global epidemic. The series is based on the William Brinkley novel. Eric Dane stars.
Shore leave has a whole new meaning. Executive producer Hank Steinberg explains that “The Last Ship” is different than other end-of-the-world programs because the central group has been outside of the hot zones and doesn’t really know what’s going on.
“I think that’s what sort of flips the apocalyptic paradigm on its head with this show as opposed to some of the other shows that have done it, which is they’re really isolated,” Steinberg says.
3. “You, Me and the Apocalypse” (NBC): The end is coming in the form of a comet. An eclectic group of people heads for a bunker where they wait for the end. Jenna Fischer stars.
This series has serious moments, but it also finds humor in a world on the eve of destruction.
4. “The 100” (CW): This time it’s man’s stupidity that brings the loss of so much life. A century after a nuclear holocaust, the human race returns to a deadly Earth starting with 100 young people. Eliza Tay
Imagine what it was like to be No. 101.
5. “The Last Man on Earth” (Fox): It’s another end caused by disease. Two years after a virus has wiped out the majority of people on the planet, a few survivors are drawn together. Will Forte stars.
“It’s just a fascinating situation.” Forte says. “I love comedy where there’s a lot of tension and there’s this idea, even though it’s very far-fetched, it seems very relatable, because I think everybody has thought about, ‘What would you do if you were the last person on Earth?’ ”
6. “12 Monkeys” (Syfy): In the not so distant future – the year 2043, to be exact – a virus has wiped out the majority of people on the planet. There’s only one hope for survival and that is a time traveler who must journey throughout time to prevent the virus from ever happening and stop the army of the 12 Monkeys. Aaron Stanford stars.
You may remember the Bruce Willis film the series is based on, but probably not.
7. “Z Nation” (Syfy): Road trip! A small group of survivors must journey across the country with a possible cure for the zombie apocalypse that has devastated the planet. Kellita Smith stars.
8. “The Strain” (FX): An evil epidemic (and we don’t mean eye strain) is taking over New York City. Unless it’s stopped, the world is in danger. The series, created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, is based on a trilogy of novels by the pair. Corey Stoll stars.
9. “Containment” (CW): It’s another end-of-the-world tale caused by disease. An outbreak in Atlanta leads to a quarantine that leaves families and friends divided. Chris Wood stars.
Wood is certain “Containment” will stand out from all of the other apocalyptic series because it reflects real events.
“There’s a lot of finger pointing that starts to happen when these outbreaks occur in Sierra Leone and when the Ebola event we had that threat here in America recently,” Wood says. “There are different characters who will verbalize their disagreement with someone saying, ‘Oh, it’s from Syria,’ ‘It’s a terror attack,’ or ‘Is ISIS responsible for this?’ ”
10. “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (CW)”: This series shows the end can come at the hand of a brutal tyrant. “Legends” looks at how time traveler Rip Hunter puts together a group of heroes to stop the man who will in the future wipe out major portions of the population. Arthur Darvill stars.
It’s more of an “Apocalypse When.”