Our ragtag group of survivors aren’t doing well so far in The Walking Dead Season 4. A flu-type virus is wreaking havoc on the prison community, killing off people in droves. Talk about bad luck. Survive over a year into the zombie apocalypse only to die from a bad flu virus. Actually, this is an unfortunate but realistic outcome. In a world without vaccines, a complete absence of health care, poor hygiene and malnutrition, people would be dropping like flies from all types of previously treatable illnesses. Diseases like cholera would once again plague a post apocalyptic North America. At this point, judging purely from the condition and morale of the remaining humans, survival into a fifth season appears doubtful. Those that do survive will be existing merely on animal level. If you are looking for a spark of hope you will need to look elsewhere. The zombies aren’t the only walking dead in the best apocalyptic television series ever made.
The television rendition of Stephen King’s Under the Dome has been a highlight to my recent summertime entertainment schedule. Having built up a decent collection of episodes on the DVR, I dove in this last weekend to catch up on the show that everyone is talking about. While the scope of Under the Dome is not worldwide, it has a definite apocalyptic feel to it. Stephen King has some type of unique, almost supernatural insight into the end of the world and is able to capture the essence of what “the end” might be like. Indeed, it is the apocalypse for the people of Chester’s Mill that are trapped beneath a giant, invisible and indestructible dome, completely cut off from the rest of the world. Physically isolated from the outside world, the power-hungry and insane rise up to complicate the struggle for limited resources. As is often the case, the CBS television series doesn’t strictly follow the book. Rather than going into those specific details in this article, I’ll defer to Dina Rae, author of The Last Degree, as she does an excellent job at describing the differences between the book and TV show on her blog here.
Now forgive me for getting sidetracked but Under the Dome does such a good job of creating that “end of the world” tone that it occurred to me that there are certain factors that create the perfect apocalyptic fiction scenario. Stephen King is so good at creating this type of story maybe he uses a type of formula to get a reader/watcher into “the zone” so to speak. Here’s a few of the factors that I was able to identify:
- unknown event (what happened?; cause unknown; speculation only). Consider-if all electronic communication were instantly disabled forever, would we ever know exactly what happened?
- mental illness or downright evil traits are exacerbated (perhaps through lack of medication or lack of legal/social restrictions)
- limited resources (access to food, water, energy are reduced and amounts are reduced)
- reduction or no rule of law (legal system inadequate/not functioning, people feel unrestrained and feel a new freedom to act without fear of consequences)
While these factors will mostly be relevant in the early stages of an apocalyptic event, I think they give a useful framework for writers out there that are interested in setting the tone for an apocalyptic story. In essence, an apocalyptic event acts like a magnifying glass focusing onto people and/or situations. With increased magnification, situations that weren’t apparent before quickly become visible. Sunlight could focus through the glass, creating focused heat, forging new characters or setting them alight. If you have any ideas for what creates the perfect apocalyptic scenario please leave a comment!
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The resistance is drowning in suspicion and fear in the third episode in the new season of TNT’s post apocalyptic tv show Falling Skies. With the constant threat of alien attack and possible traitors in their midst, the new city of Charleston is struggling to maintain some type of hope and order. The human survivors are facing a bleak situation for certain, but they’ve seen worse. If nothing else humans are tough and innovative, especially when backed into a corner. It’s just this sense of human perseverance that is brilliantly captured in Falling Skies that keeps me coming back for more episodes. Perhaps a redeeming quality for humankind: stubbornness, an absolute refusal to give up against all odds. Watch this episode through the TNT website here or on Amazon instant video here .
The new season of TNT’s post apocalyptic tv series Falling Skies starts off at the resistance base in Charleston, North Carolina where a fairly large and bustling human community has been established in the remnants of America following a full scale alien invasion. The human resistance has found some unlikely allies in another alien species that has been similarly persecuted by the so called “overlords”. This new alien ally has given the resistance some advanced weapons and technology that will certainly help in the fight against the superior invading forces. The season premiere is divided into two episodes. Episode 1 is called On Thin Ice and you can watch it for free through Amazon instant video here. You can watch the second episode, titled Collateral Damage through the TNT website here or stream it through Amazon instant video here. These were good episodes. A nice little alien invasion apocalypse to balance out all of the zombie action as of late.
Merle is given a chance for redemption in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 15 titled This Sorrowful Life. Michonne makes a valid point in her address to Merle when she suggests that if he was truly evil he wouldn’t feel remorse. Merle seems to take this to heart as he leads his own parade to make his last stand against the Governor. The zombie post apocalypse is a bleak place but perhaps some goodness remains? If you missed this episode watch it through the link below.
Rick and The Governor sit down to talk in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 13 titled Arrow on the Doorpost. Talk is cheap though and a war seems inevitable. True to reality, some of the last humans alive aim to kill each other over some relatively insignificant disputes. This episode has a lot of posturing but I loved the eye in the sky camera views! If you missed this episode watch it through the link below.
Click Here to watch a preview of The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 14
Rick comes full circle in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 12 when he returns to his home town to find Morgan, from the first episode, who was the first living person that he encountered when he woke up from his coma to find the zombie apocalypse. Morgan isn’t the same though. After he witnessed his undead wife kill his son he has become a little “unstable”. He does have a nice stash of weapons though, which may come in handy in defending the prison against the governor. This episode titled Clear features a brilliant new zombie “diversion”. If you missed this episode watch it through the link below.