7 TV Shows that Document the Collapse of (non-Mayan) Society

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Where Books and films tend to focus on certain elements of the Apocalypse, television presents a unique format that typically means that the writers and creators need to focus on more than just the dramatic downfall of society. As a result, we tend to find character-driven stories that focus on survival and endurance after a fall. Here's 7 shows that follow what happens after society comes to an end.

Battlestar Galactica

SciFi’s highly acclaimed reimagining of Battlestar Galactica is one of the best post-apocalyptic shows out there. Airing shortly after the September 11th attacks, the show takes on the aftermath of a devastating attack against the Colonies, one that utterly destroys humanity, and forcing a small remnant of civilians and military personnel on the run. The crew of the Galactica focuses on surviving to see another day while attempting to find a new home upon which to rebuild humanity.

Dark Angel

James Cameron’s show Dark Angel combines two major plot elements together: genetically engineered super soldiers, and the collapse of the United States. In 2009, terrorists detonate an EMP over the United States, knocking out power and forcing the collapse of the country. Picking up the storyline ten years later, Max has etched out a living in Seattle, using her superhuman abilities to help her survive in a now depressed country.


Jericho likewise follows in the post-9/11 world, capitalizing on fears that some form of terrorist act would have a drastic effect on society. 23 major US cities are nuked, leaving the small Kansas town of Jericho to try and figure out what happens next. The focus on the show becomes rebuilding, as Jericho attempts to work with other neighboring towns for supplies while a new government rises up from the ashes.


J. Michael Straczynski might be best known in TV circles for his show Babylon 5, but his 2-season show Jeremiah deals extensively with a post apocalyptic world. Set in 2021, 15 years after a global pandemic killed off all of the world’s adults, the children left behind must learn to fend for themselves. At the heart of this show is the conflict between the old order and way of things, and the new.


Outcasts was a short-lived television show on Britain’s BBC One lasted for a single 6 episode season, but it contained a number of really great ideas, along with a fantastic visual style. Prior to the start of the show, Earth faced a major crisis, one that rendered it uninhabitable. A new world was located and colonized with the meager survivors, who face the challenge of rebuilding anew and leaving behind everything that had brought about Earth’s demise in the first place.


Currently running on NBC, Revolution finds the world fifteen years after a global power outage, one that leaves society in the pre-industrial age. Society has begun to rebound, with governments such as the Monroe Militia and warlords springing up to claim territory of their own. Charlie Matheson joins her uncle after her father is killed to help turn the power back on. Revolution focuses on the modern day reliance on technological conveniences, and how people will adapt when forced to live without the electricity.

The Walking Dead

Sheriff Rick Grimes is shot and left in a coma following a car chase, and upon waking up, discovers that a plague has killed almost everyone, leaving the dead to rise up and hunt the living. Reuniting with his family and a small band of survivors, they have to stay one step ahead of the zombies, as well as other survivors who will take advantage of everything they can to survive. It’s a bleak show with a focus on the absolute lengths and depths to which a person will go in order to protect those around them and survive.

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