Aftermath: Population Zero was produced in Canada, but premiered on the National Geographic Channel. Its titular premise is a hypothetical scenario of what would happen if all humans suddenly vanished without a trace. Eventually, more follow-up episodes were produced based on the same concept of coming up with a hypothetical scenario, doing copious research into what exactly that change to the status quo would impact, and then filming an episode the occurrence of the scenario as well as its aftermath.
This show provides examples of:Series
- After the End: Every episode leads to an apocalypse and either culminates in humanity's extinction or a post-apocalyptic future where humans have adapted to the hypothetical scenario.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Every single episode has this happen. It's obviously the whole point of Population Zero, given that it deals with the aftermath of humanity's extinction, but even the scenarios that one would least expect to lead to an apocalypse do.
- Next Sunday A.D.: When each scenario occurs
- Shown Their Work: In excruciating detail. The narrator explains exactly what the scenario changes, why it has changed, and what a particular changed thing's status quo depends on in our reality that has been removed with the scenario.
- Speculative Documentary: The whole point of each episode.
- Humanity's Wake: The whole point of this episode. Humans inexplicably vanish and the focal point is how the earth's ecology is impacted in different time periods after humanity's extinction as well as the eventual destruction of humanity's artifices, one by one.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: As the narration points out, there are multiple ways in which the lives of multiple species are improved in the long run once humans are removed from the equation.
- Next Sunday A.D.: Humans vanish without a trace on June 13th of an unspecified year.
- Beneath the Earth: Where humans are eventually driven due to the levels of radiation and heat.
- Heat Wave: As the sun rapidly ages, the earth's temperature also rises.
- Humanity's Wake: This scenario leads to human extinction on Earth.
- Irony: Despite the fact that it gets too hot for humans to walk on the surface of the earth without a spacesuit, at that very same point, there is not enough oxygen for flames to be possible.
- Crapsack World: What we finally end up with when the world finally stops spinning entirely. Most of the world's population has died and what humans are left have been forced to retreat to isolated colonies with no hope of progressing beyond subsistence.
- Depopulation Bomb: Given that Most of the world has been made unsafe to live in, in some cases by what constitute natural disasters, until the only habitable areas are by the coasts of the new mega-continent by the polar oceans, what else would you expect?
- Fire/Water Juxtaposition: Two of them. One is the difference between the poles and the equator as the earth slows. While the poles are flooded, the equator not only is dry, but also has a atmosphere too thin to sustain human life. The other is the "day/night" cycle left after as the Earth slows and eventually stops. The hot, scorching day, and the dark, freezing night.
- The Insomniac: The lengthening of days as the earth's spin slows to a stop messes up everyone's sleep cycle. Their ability to sleep is impaired during the times when practically speaking, it is daytime and yet time-wise, it is still night.
- The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: Inverted with the United States closing its borders entirely because of the influx of refugees and migrants. Played straight, however, in that the various problems that result from the increased population result in scientists uniting to solve them and, most importantly, in ways that ensure everyone's survival.
- Depopulation Bomb: The ironic result of this scenario. The world population is 4 billion 35 years after the world's population doubled overnight to 14 billion.
- The Plague: The first variant happens as a result of the increased population. The plumbing is strained from multiple people flushing the toilets, causing the waste water to taint the supply of drinking water, causing outbreaks of cholera.
- Water Source Tampering: An unintentional variant. Desperate attempts to grow enough food to feed the increased population as well as strains on the plumbing result in much of the world's water being unsafe to drink, if one can even find or attain any of it.
- Cozy Catastrophe: For some countries, such as Brazil, which were working towards conversion to biofuel at the time. Why more technologically advanced countries such as the United States don't start a crash biofuel project is left unanswered, especially since the US military had such a program in development for years at the time the show was aired precisely to address the Post Peak Oil scenario.
- Days of Future Past: Eventually, people start growing their own food and keeping livestock as people usually did prior to the 20th century. While there is technology that fills in the gap left bu the absence of oil, it's prohibitively expensive and only shows up in a few upper-class enclaves.
- Foreshadowing: In the last segment, 40 years after the oil disappeared, rechargeable electric batteries have become commonplace especially for vehicles. A news clip discusses the approach of 'peak lithium' in a few years when the world's lithium supplies are no longer commercially viable...meaning the scenario is likely to repeat itself.
- Hidden Supplies: Deconstructed; people who have conserved or hoarded gasoline find out that it has a limited shelf life (a few months to a year). One family learns this the hard way when it tries to drive a sick child to the hospital.
- Ludd Was Right: As social infrastructure collapses, it turns out that the old-fashioned way is the best way. Those who grow their own food and keep livestock, as well as doing other things that aren't mentioned the old-fashioned way, make it through the crisis. Even 40 years after the oil supplies ran out and humanity has adapted to this new fact of life, society is still agrarian, growing their food locally and growing only what they need.