We are briefly introduced to two new groups of survivors in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 11 titled Claimed. Unfortunately, none of the new characters are among the most civilized or intelligent human beings. With no fence for protection, survivors are never safe from the endless zombie onslaught. Not to mention the threat of encountering other people that are more ruthless and violent. Those that have survived over a year into the zombie apocalypse ought to be hardened killers by now. We get some interesting pieces of information in this episode and some hints as to where our friends in The Walking Dead may be heading. Watch this episode through AMC’s website here or on Amazon through the link below.
Forced to abandon the relative safety of their prison home and separated during the chaos and destruction following the Governor’s attack, small, fragmented groups of survivors struggle to find hope and safety in the second half of the 4th season of the post apocalyptic tv series The Walking Dead. A complete and utter destruction of one’s home, the illusion of safety, a careful, delicate construct of the mind created to comfort and shelter us from the harsh reality of our often short, brutal lives. The word apocalypse itself, translated from its Greek origin meaning ‘the disclosure of something hidden’, points to this truth and was only later incorporated into english taking on its current, more religious, end of the world context. Isn’t the apocalypse indeed the destruction of our carefully constructed sense of reality, revealing the often cold, hard reality of our situation that we survive on a small speck of life within the vast, empty void of space.
A profound lesson is encoded into apocalyptic fiction that is easily missed. On a surface level, end of the world fiction highlights the necessity to prepare for disaster by storing food, water and having the ability to protect your family which are certainly worthy goals. Going a little deeper though, the real gem concealed within apocalyptic fiction relates to the transient and fragile nature of life itself. While we aren’t forced to face the illusory nature of safety and ‘home’ on a daily basis like the survivors in The Walking Dead, inevitably, even if it isn’t until our time of death, we must face these illusions. Perhaps if we can incorporate and cultivate an awareness of the fantasy nature of true safety, we will be more liberated and able to live more fully in the moment.
To assist you in your contemplation of reality and your own mortality [ 😉 ], follow the links below to watch the latest episodes of The Walking Dead titled ‘After’ and ‘Inmates’.
These episodes are also available for free through the AMC website through this link: http://www.amctv.com/full-episodes/the-walking-dead but there is some way you need to login using your cable company account that I find both annoying and confusing and they are only available there for a limited period of time.
Apparently redemption is not in store for The Governor In the seventh episode of The Walking Dead Season 4. These last 2 episodes have been interesting and enjoyable as we take a break from the prison scene and give Rick and the gang some time to wallow in the muck while they clean up after the flu outbreak. Any hope garnered from last week’s show that The Governor has changed is shattered in this episode. Yes, that’s right he is still a homicidal sociopath, willing to do whatever it takes to ensure his own survival and the survival of those people that he deems worthy. Unfortunately, time and time again, in a variety of apocalyptic movies and books, we see how a sociopath could be well suited for surviving the apocalypse. Survival, by any means necessary, unburdened by any morally questionable choices. Following such a person might seem like a good option to someone scared, hungry and tired. However, plant a seed in your memory, in case such a situation arises for you someday: RUN (just as soon as you get a chance). If running/getting away isn’t an option or your inclination, do the world a favor and STOP them before they hurt anyone else (think rabid animal or zombie for that matter). Such a person cannot be trusted and will eventually lose favor with you. You will most likely end up dead, or worse. Just one more thing to look out for if the world ends – guys like The Governor will rise to the top.
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!
Watch Under the Dome TV on Amazon Instant Video Below:
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.
The results are in for the Apocalyptic Fiction Poll 2: “What is your favorite apocalyptic tv series ?” Jericho is the clear winner with a total of 230 votes! The Walking Dead came in a distant second place, followed by Falling Skies, Survivors and The Colony. It seems that people were not ready for Jericho to be cancelled. In fact, there is a large movement to revive the show and apparently Netflix is in negotiations right now with CBS to bring back some new episodes. If you want to support the effort to bring this excellent show back on tv, follow Jericho Rising on Facebook. Thanks to everyone that voted and left comments in last week’s Apocalyptic Fiction Poll!