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After The End / Live-Action TV

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  • The UK equivalents are The War Game (1965, broadcast 1985) and Threads (1984). Both build up to and feature a full-scale thermonuclear holocaust, then - Threads in particular - keep going and get worse. Threads continues to scare those who watched it almost 25 years ago.

  • The season 4 finale of Babylon 5 shows Earth being bombed back into the Dark Ages about 500 years after the end of the series only to emerge as Vorlon-like creatures a million years later.
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  • Battlestar Galactica: The 2000s version takes place "after the end" of the Colonial civilization but "before the beginning" of ours. Colonial civilization was in turn "after the end" of civilization on Kobol, which was in turn "after the end" of civilization on the original Earth. All of this has happened before, and will happen again.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "The Wish" causes Cordila to be transported to an Post-Apocalyptic world, because she wished Buffy never moved to Sunnydale.
  • Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future is set after the invention of robotic soldiers has resulted in decades of unending war. And that's how things were before the Big Bad Lord Dredd came to power and started digitizing humanity en masse.
  • In Cleopatra 2525, humans have been driven from the surface by terraforming machines gone rogue with only a few primitive villages of people who worship Baileys (those same machines). The remaining humans live in vast underground tunnels, fighting one another as well as the terminator-like robots called Betrayers sent by the Baileys to infiltrate the human society. Interestingly, the Baileys have fulfilled their primary programming and have restored the polluted Earth to a lush paradise. Oh, and it's made clear that the humans who live underground have forgotten much of their scientific knowledge and don't quite know how to maintain the tunnels.
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  • Cockroaches is a Brit Com which takes place in a post-apocalyptic enviroment, 10 years after nuclear war has devastated the Earth.
  • The Discovery Channel has a pseudo reality series based on this trope called The Colony, where a group of ten people with varying skills, professions, and backgrounds band together to try and eke out a living in a simulated post-apocalyptic environment. It's filmed in Los Angeles, so you conclude the joke. The second season was set in an abandoned industrial area of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, so Truth in Television applies to an extent.
  • In Community epsiode Modern Warfare invokes this trope (and related tropes) For Laughs in a Paintball Episode. After Dean Pelton announced the prize to the school's paintball competition (priority scheduling), almost all of the students destroy each other and their school almost immediately.
  • Defiance: Between the devastation of the Pale Wars and massive environmental changes caused by malfunctioning Votan terraforming equipment, there is little left of the Earth that existed before their arrival. The titular town stands atop what was once St. Louis with the remains of the Gateway Arch still towering over the town.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Utopia" is set in a time when all of the stars have gone out, most civilizations have fallen, and the heat death of the universe is fast approaching.
    • "Last of the Time Lords": One year of the Master's rule has turned Earth into this. A short bit in the intro shows it's bad enough that travellers from other planets are officially advised to avoid the place entirely.
    • "The Doctor's Daughter": Messaline is a desolate planet with a surface covered in radiation, with the humans and Hath in a never-ending war beneath the surface. It's actually a subversion. The planet looks like that because it hasn't been terraformed yet, and the colonists only got there very recently.
    • "Planet of the Dead": The Doctor arrives on a once-inhabited world which has been turned into a wasteland by a Horde of Alien Locusts.
  • The Dollhouse episodes "Epitaph One" and "Epitaph Two" take place after massive remote wiping and imprinting is used as a weapon, resulting in the fall of civilization.
  • The version of Mongo in the Flash Gordon series is this, after a massive explosion known as the Sorrow on one of the moons causes a toxic mineral to rain down on the planet, killing anyone who wasn't able to evacuate and contaminating most of the water. Currently, Mongo has only one city, built atop a clean water source and ruled by a Third World dictator-like Ming "the Benevolent Father" and his Patriot army. All the other tribes (or cantons) live in small villages and are forced to rely on Ming for uncontaminated water. Those who drink the "grey water" go insane and become mutated Deviates. Even many of the tribes suffer from some mutations (some beneficial, such as the Dactyls' ability to soar on winds).
  • The final season of Fringe; The Observers have completely taken over Earth, and killed most of its population. Those who remain are either on their side (The Loyalists) or fugitives (The Resistance).
  • Jericho takes place in an America which has had most of its major cities wiped out by terrorist nukes. However, the rest of the world is unaffected making it a pocket example of a Cozy Catastrophe.
  • The Last Man on Earth centers on Phil Miller, an isolated survivor two years after The Plague eradicated the human race. It's a comedy.
  • In Season 2 of Once Upon a Time Emma and Snow are sent back to the Enchanted Forest where they find that it still exists and there are survivors.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): "Lithia" takes place after a war and plague which killed most of humanity, the latter including all males, and left an all-female society of survivors.
  • Power Rangers RPM takes place in the third and final year of a Robot War which had, in the earlier years, gone nuclear. The city the series takes place in is explicitly stated to be the only one left on Earth due to its protective shield.
  • Primeval: The Series Finale gives us a glimpse into life in the apocalyptic Bad Future which Matt comes from. Thanks to the manmade Class 4 Apocalypse which has put the future world in this timeline on a course for Total Extinction, humans are forced to live in underground shelters with water supplies (which turn toxic over time), moving across the planet's Death World surface from shelter to shelter despite the toxic storms and ravenous Future Predators.
  • Red Dwarf, though it diverges wildly, being, not after the end of Earth, but after everyone on the spaceship Red Dwarf died, except Lister, who was in stasis. Since it's 3 million years after, the characters assume that all other humans are deceased. The first episode was actually titled "The End". Take that as you will.
  • Revolution is set 15 years after all electricity-based technology mysteriously shuts down, causing the collapse of modern tech-dependent society.
  • seaQuest DSV: Two episodes, both involving Time Travel, deal with After the End scenarios. One of them shows us a Bad Future, where increased reliance on technology has resulted in humanity being woefully unprepared for a pandemic that wiped out almost everyone. The survivors locked themselves in and lived out their fantasies of in Humongous Mecha war games, which results in there being only two people left in the world. Another episode shows an alternate timeline, where the Cuban Missile Crisis went hot, resulting in a nuclear apocalypse. The crew of the titular sub has to go back to the crisis and prevent a fatal mistake.
  • The Shannara Chronicles has shots of ruins that clearly indicate that at one time, the planet the characters are now on was at one time present-day Earth. This is confirmed with subsequent episodes. Some of the previous buildings and technology are still around too.
  • As Sliders was premised on travelers going to different dimensions of Earth, they encountered examples of this trope quite often, starting with their first slide together.
  • Spellbinder: The show is partly set in an alternate, rustic universe where a reasonably-sized pre-industrial society exists in the midst of an incalculably-large wasteland. It's eventually determined that the Wasteland was created by the Darkness, a nuclear winter created by the Spellbinders' failed attempt at increasing power. As a result, though the Spellbinders have electromagnetic capability in the "Power Stones", they've forgotten how it works, and only really know how to use the stones to power the flying ships and powersuits.
    • A later season involves traveling to parallel worlds. Several of these have experienced world-changing catastrophes. One takes place after a devastating Robot War, after which humans spend much of their time seeking out and destroying any form of "tech". Another one is cozier but takes place in the aftermath of a deadly plague that wiped out much of humanity. The survivors live only because of a cure that made them immortal but also sterile (i.e. no more new humans).
  • Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry made together three separate pilot movies for essentially the same series premise: Genesis II, Planet Earth, and Strange New World.
    • In the Original series episode "Let that Be your Last Battlefield", two dual-toned aliens hijack the Enterprise and force it to take them to their home planet Cheron. When they get there, they discover that a civil war over which sides of the body were what color has wiped out the entire planet's population. In the original version, the planet was shown to be dark mesh of shades of grey, whereas in the remastered episode, lights can be seen on the surface. The Scenery Gorn that passes through the alien's heads suggests that those lights could very well be fires that are still burning, even though the war is long over.
    • More than one episode involved the Enterprise or Voyager discovering a planet or civilization in this trope.
    • One Voyager episode actually involved finding a situation like this that was inadvertantly caused by humans... from half-a-galaxy away. During the early days of interstellar exploration (pre-Star Trek: Enterprise), humans sent out warp-capable probes to contact other civilizations and provide them with warp technology. Unfortunately, warp travel involves playing with Anti Matter, and an unprepared species may destroy itself before actually making it into space. As expected, the survivors blame humans.
    • The entire franchise is set After the End, as shown in Star Trek: First Contact. The titular First Contact happens not long after World War III.
  • The Starlost takes place on a generation ship launched from an Earth that was destroyed by some unspecified disaster shortly afterward.
  • Supernatural has two different worlds where the Apocalypse took place and the Winchesters were powerless to stop it. The first was a Bad Future where Lucifer was victorious, creating an Earth inhabitated by zombies and demons. The other is an Alternate Universe where the archangel Michael was victorious, but his version turns out to be an eternal battlefield where angels stomp on humans and demons alike. They're both bastards and Not So Different.
  • A recurring sketch in the third season of That Mitchell and Webb Look parodied the concept through an After the End Game Show, "The Quiz Broadcast"; turns out, having a quiz show after 'The Event' is quite difficult when almost all human knowledge has been eradicated.
  • The Tribe has a selective Depopulation Bomb called The Virus, which has wiped out all the adults, leaving kids and teenagers in a Cosy Catastrophe world.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): Many episodes dealt with survivors of nuclear war. One of the most famous of the lot is "Time Enough at Last," where a neurotic bookworm (Burgess Meredith) survives an apocalyptic nuclear war (only by his sheer luck of being inside a bank vault at the time a random nuclear war breaks out). The man stumbles among the ruins of his hometown, finding he is the lone survivor and then comes upon a huge library of books. (It's all for naught, as he breaks his glasses, and the man — blind without the specs — is unable to engage in a lifestyle of uninterrupted reading.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Quarantine", Matthew Foreman is awakened from suspended animation in 2347, 304 years after a devastating nuclear war wiped out 80% of the world's population.
  • Van Helsing (2016) starts three years after Yellowstone erupts, blocking out the sun with ash and enabling "The Rising" — vampires coming out of hiding and taking over the world, leaving humans as either slaves or scattered bands of survivors constantly being hunted.
  • The Walking Dead is a Zombie Apocalypse example.
  • The War of the Worlds: The series frequently jumps forward to several years after the Martian invasion. The Earth's natural biosphere is all but gone due to the red weed choking the land and clogging the ocean, and the surviving humans in the apocalyptic ruins of London are farming only scraps of food, with the local preacher's Propaganda Machine keeping the village going. Oh, and Darwinism never took off as accepted fact because of the invasion's timing.
  • Wayward Pines has the titular town turn out to be in this setting, 2000 years from now. Anyone who attempts to get to Wayward Pines, Idaho in the 21st century is targeted for an "accident", at which point he or she is placed in suspended animation to be revived some time after the town's founding in the future (usually in order of the freezing). The whole thing is a project by a scientist who predicts the end of the world and wants to preserve some humans to repopulate the world. The only humans in 4028 are the ones who survived through suspended animation. The closest things out there are the "Abbies" (short for Aberrations), feral mutated descendants of humans, who have since become the apex predator in this new world. Luckily, the town is protected by a giant wall, keeping humans in and Abbies out. Anyone who disobeys the town's rules is publicly executed, and most of the inhabitants are unaware of the truth. Only children are told the truth, as they are claimed to be the "first generation" and are forbidden from telling anyone, including their parents. Supposedly, this is because one child ended up doing that, resulting in the parents committing suicide.
  • Woops! was an actual sitcom based on a small group of survivors living in a barn after a nuclear war, and the hijinks they got into.


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