Why have apocalypse-style films and TV shows become so mainstream in recent years?

The idea of an apocalypse has existed in history for hundreds of years, but why in recent times has the idea of an apocalypse become to mainstream? Whether it’s zombies, nukes, or anything in between, these stories have taken a deep root in our modern culture. Is it because we feel detached from our primal survivalist selves? Take for example the show The Walking Dead. The show is a massive success, second only to Game Of Thrones during its run time. Apart from the amazing writing and impeccable acting performances, there is a certain allure to the idea of a group of at-first strangers growing into a family through trials and tribulations and lots of zombie guts. It is also interesting to see how these stories are received in different cultures around the world. For example I know that in many parts of Asia, there is a massive love for all things zombie. Why do you think this is?

  • Good topic! I think apocalypse-style media is cathartic. People consume it as a way to reassure themselves that what they see can't really happen for one reason or another, or that if it did, they would survive. Sometimes people consume this media and plan what they would do in certain situations. There's also an element of dark humor, as in, if we laugh at the poor decisions we think characters are making, the apocalypse won't seem so threatening and potentially realistic. – Stephanie M. 2 years ago
  • Something really cool that was taught at the UNiversity I attended was an analysis of 'Ecocriticism and Popular Culture'. It took a deep dive into enviro-apocalypse stories (like Snowpiercer) - why we tell them and why we love reading/watching them. The concept of 'man vs wild' is a binary that has long existed conceptually as a means by which humans understand themselves. However, contemporary ecocritics have been challenging this binary. Especially now in an age where climate change and environmental catastrophe (referred to by scholars as the Anthropocene) continue to escalate. Things to research when exploring Environmental Apocalypse stores in pop culture: - Anthropocene - Biopolitics - Examples of this in film/literature: Snowpiercer, Elysium, Interstellar, MaddAddam Trilogy (by Margaret Atwood) – Amaani 1 year ago
  • Something to consider: for many people and species on this planet apocalypse is already here and we are living in a post-apocalypse scenario. So maybe these representations of "another apocalypse" are how we confront our reality that we don't want to see. – ProfRichards 1 year ago
  • It might also be worthwhile to bring up how many cultures and people who have experienced genocide often say they live in a post-apocalyptic world and how that translates into the art and media they create (i.e Indigenous, Black cultures) – Anna Samson 1 year ago
  • Another thing to consider is how differently post-apocalyptic films and shows are written nowadays compared to the 70s, 80s, and 90s. So many shows have been redone, with some performing well and others being worse than the originals. I think it's important that we compare what captured viewers back then compared to now. – cbrneticwrites 12 months ago

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