Zombies Have Nothing to Do With Post-apocalyptic Tv Shows!

Although stories about the end of the world go back at least to ancient Mesopotamia, pop culture over the past few decades has led us to believe that there is at least a 70% chance the end of the world will specifically feature hordes of shambling zombies. We’re all just dying in George Romero’s world when it comes to the final days.

Most of the time, but not always. As popular as ever, apocalyptic stories provide plenty of material for film and television producers. We tend to prefer the idea that the end will consume us the more difficult circumstances in the real world become.

It might be consoling to keep in mind that things could get worse. Or perhaps we like to imagine that we might be the ones who would rebuild something better.

Whatever the reason, TV is packed with these shows. The newest hit example: is HBO’s The Last of Us, an adaptation of the award-winning PlayStation game.

It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in place, especially if you’re going to be traveling a lot. Zombies are a staple of the form (one The Last of Us makes use of, after a fashion), but they’re hardly omnipresent. Here are some excellent non-zombie shows to watch in between episodes to clear your palate.

The Last Man on Earth

Phil Miller, a former banker who is played by creator Will Forte, first thinks Kristen Schaal, a Delaware notary, is the last person still alive after a plague that killed everyone else. The two don’t have much in common, yet decide they’re responsible for repopulating the earth.

Zombies Have Nothing to Do With Post-apocalyptic Tv Shows

The show, which is frequently truly humorous, ultimately aims to explore our fixation with the end of the world rather than just mock end-of-the-world stories.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion’s intricate mythology gives us an original end-of-the-world scenario: in the year 2000, a scientific expedition tried to get in touch with “Adam,” a progenitor of life on Earth and one with extraterrestrial roots. It turns out that reawakening Adam wasn’t the best decision after all, as the ensuing explosion changed the axis of the Earth and melted the ice caps, eradicating half of the planet’s population.

Zombies Have Nothing to Do With Post-apocalyptic Tv Shows

Fifteen years after Adam was subdued, his “children” become a threat to Tokyo-3. This iconic anime is rooted in its treatment of its human characters and the suffering they frequently experience despite all of its delightful quirkiness.

The Rain

Leave it to those gloomy Danes to base the end of the world on precipitation. This three-season Netflix original features a virus that decimates the majority of Scandinavia by spreading via rain. Six years later, Simone and Rasmus, two siblings, come out of their bunker and travel throughout Scandinavia in search of safety and, possibly, their father.

Zombies Have Nothing to Do With Post-apocalyptic Tv Shows

It turns out that one of them can eradicate the virus and prevent a global catastrophe. The Last of Us was released five years prior, so the premise is not the most novel, but the environment gives it a distinctive vibe, and the story comes to a clear conclusion.

Now Apocalypse

Greg Araki, a pioneer of New Queer Cinema, followed his neon-tinged apocalypse in Kaboom with Now Apocalypse, which is a spiritual successor. Avan Jogia portrays Ulysses Zane, a failing actor, and s*x worker who resides in sunny California with his best friend Carly (Kelli Berglund).

He keeps having strange nightmares about aliens invading, which feel more and more like premonitions… or perhaps they’re just anxious delusions brought on by too much marijuana. The program was only on for one season and never quite reached its own prophesied end of the world, but it was enjoyable while it was on and offers something different from the usual depressing end of the world.

Where to Watch: Starz, The Roku Channel, and Amazon Video (and the first episode is free on YouTube)

READ MORE: Spin-off Movies That Are Better Than the Original!

The 100

With seven seasons, The CW’s YA The 100 is probably our most in-depth examination of the apocalypse. It tells the tale of the descendants of refugees from nuclear war who travel back to Earth from their abode in space to interact with the survivors of humanity.

Zombies Have Nothing to Do With Post-apocalyptic Tv Shows

The juvenile delinquents are naturally the ones sent out to investigate first (better them than me, really), and they find three post-apocalyptic civilizations that are all very terrifying (though they aren’t zombies, one tribe isn’t troubled at all by cannibalism). Throughout its duration, the show creates an incredible mythology that leads to a denouement that borders on the metaphysical.

Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica is a far cry from the earthbound setting of The Last of Us, but it manages to maintain a sense of the end of everything—just barely—in part due to the motivational speech delivered by Edward James Olmos’ William Adama at the end of the first episode, even though it is quickly made clear to be a bullshit morale-booster.

The monotheistic Cylons, who were designed to be our artificial labor, have revolted and believe that it is their literal, divine duty to destroy their forerunners—that is, us—by simultaneously sneaking up on the 12 colony worlds where all of mankind resides.

The survivors leave on an increasingly dilapidated fleet of ships without much of a plan (originally) beyond remaining alive. The opening credits of the show constantly remind viewers of the stakes by keeping a continuous tally of the decreasing number of survivors (it starts and 50,000 and drops from there.)


In Snowpiercer, Bong Joon-2013 ho’s masterwork is revived as a weekly drama. After a climate disaster, the remaining members of humanity are crammed onto a (very long) train; as long as the train moves, it will produce the electricity needed to keep the lights on for humanity.

Of course, we have both literal and figurative issues; in the early episodes, Daveed Diggs leads the underprivileged and oppressed “tallies” against Jennifer Connelly’s repressive rule, where a few live in luxury while the bulk goes hungry.

Zombies Have Nothing to Do With Post-apocalyptic Tv Shows

Snowpiercer, regrettably, has become a victim of the recent pattern of series being canceled to avoid paying creators’ royalties. The stated, promoted, and finished final season has been chosen not to air on TNT, which is owned by major offender Warner Bros. Discovery.

That might not be the end of the world, given it ultimately comes to light, but it feels like the death of TV as we know it when great shows are buried to save a few dollars in the long run.

Where to Watch: TNT, for now.


Without aiming to minimize the Chornobyl nuclear accident, the true account creates a drama that is more terrifying than any work of pure fiction. The HBO miniseries must have felt like the beginning of the end of the world to many who were present, many of whom were interviewed for the series.

Many fictitious apocalyptic stories were inspired by the Chornobyl disaster, thus it makes sense that the actual event is far more horrifying.

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