Finished Netflix’s The Rain? Here are 10 more TV shows that feature deadly pandemics!
PUBLISHED: 17:30 09 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:31 09 May 2018
They’re the viral hits with a difference, TV shows which have you reaching for the hand sanitiser as you watch deadly viruses gripping the world and destroying most of the population. You could almost say that enthusiasm for TV shows that feature pandemics is, ahem, infectious (bows).
After a few days drenched in sun and scorching temperatures, we’re all waiting for normal British springtime service to resume and the rain to come pouring down.
Now as for me, I’m partial to a walk in the rain occasionally, but I think I might change my Singin’ in the Rain tune if I was plunged into the world of Netflix’s Danish series The Rain, which illustrates how soggy washing on the line and a ruined picnic really are the least of our worries.
In The Rain’s world, if you stay dry, you stay alive. The world as we know it has ended - six years ago, a brutal virus – carried by the rain – has wiped out the vast majority of humans in Scandinavia: we haven’t been updated on whether or not the chunky knitwear and IKEA flatpacks have survived.
Two siblings join a group of fellow young survivors, setting out to uncover whether or not a new world has begun elsewhere, while facing their own inner battles of love, jealousy, coming of age and all they thought they’d left behind after the death of the world as they once knew it.
That, in a nutshell, is the premise of The Rain. But if you’ve already binge-watched the whole thing and are feeling mournful at the lack of end-of-the-world/end-of-life-as-we-know-it/survive-at-all-costs type series in your life, here are some shows to make you question every sneeze, panic over every cough, fear your own mortality and fret about oblivion and our inevitable demise at the mercy of something horrible. Happy days!
TV series where humans face mortal danger from a pandemic
1) Survivors: The man who conjured up the Daleks also devised an equally chilling prospect with the BBC’s 1975 Survivors. Doctor Who writer, Terry Nation’s series saw a band of survivors trying to live in a post-apocalyptic world after the population has been decimated by a mysterious pandemic accidentally unleashed by a Chinese scientist. If nothing else, that puts spilling the milk or accidentally texting the wrong person in perspective, hey? It ran until 1977, until making a return in 2008. This iteration was based on a 1976 novel written by Nation, rather than the original BBC series. In this case, a group of ordinary people are forced to band together after surviving a viral pandemic known as “European Flu”. With much of humanity annihilated, the titular survivors battle to survive in a lawless society.
2) Jericho: Our next stop takes us from a viral pandemic to nuclear devastation. Following a limited nuclear attack (are any nuclear attacks really limited?) on 23 major cities in the United States, those in the small fictional town of Jericho are left in the dark, left without answers and struggling to survive. Ironically for a show focussed on survival, Jericho didn’t survive all that long – with it canned after just a first series. A fan campaign to spark a revival brought a brief reprieve before it was cancelled again.
3) Between: Nobody likes getting old but in the world of Between, a co-production between Netflix and Canada’s City, you’d be left fearing your 23rd birthday, let alone your 50th. In the small town of Pretty Lake, things aren’t so pretty if you’re 22 and over. A mysterious disease has wiped out anyone aged 22 and above while the government quarantines those remaining, meaning the survivors are left to fend for themselves.
4) The Strain: Based on the novel trilogy of the same name (both written by Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan), The Strain features a viral outbreak that shares more than a few similarities with an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. Corey Stoll (Homeland, Ant-Man) is Dr Eph Goodweather. Eph, the head of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s Canary Team is drafted in after an aeroplane lands with everybody on board dead. The aforementioned strain of vampirism spreads and Eph, along with his team and a band of New Yorkers, are forced to go to war to save humanity.
5) Zoo: From vampires to violent animals, Zoo – based on the novel of the same name by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge – saw a group of varied professionals investigating a pandemic of violent animal attacks on humans all over the globe that are beginning to escalate.
6) Ash vs. Evil Dead: Our next entry, Ash v Evil Dead, isn’t even cold yet. The man who brought Spider-Man to the big screen, Sam Raimi conjured up a TV series to serve as a sequel to his Evil Dead universe, starring Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams – continuing to lead the way from the four feature films. In the series, Ash battles a Deadlite plague that threatens to destroy all of mankind. While the series received critical acclaim, it failed to grab the ratings to match. Sure, Ash could more than hold his own against the evil dead but the battle against corporate necessities was to be another matter altogether and the series was cancelled a few weeks ago.
7) The 100: The CW’s The 100 was another to feature nuclear Armageddon. In this case, it’s happened almost 100 years ago and much of life on earth has died out. A few thousand survivors have been shacked up on a gargantuan space station orbiting the earth, with the titular 100 – a group of juvenile prisoners – sent back to earth to determine whether or not it’s habitable, discovering a few surprises along the way.I’m sure by now, with this the seventh entry on our list, you get the picture of what happens next.
8) Falling Skies: Steven Spielberg – you may have heard of him – was among the team to bring science-fiction series Falling Skies to the small screen. The show, which ran for five series (2011-2015), focussed on a small band of civilians and fighters who are thrust together to flee post-apocalyptic Boston after the planet has been left on its knees following an alien invasion. The power is gone. Technology is kaput. The world’s military has been near destroyed. Over 90 per cent of the population are dead. Vampires or violent animals look like a walk in the park, in comparison.
9) The Last Man on Earth: Comedies can do the end of the world too and as it so happens, Will Forte’s The Last Man on Earth, starring Will Forte, does just that. Forte plays the titular character, Phil Miller, who believes himself to be the last man on earth a year after a virus has decimated the planet. He’s lonely and only wants some company – the side of the end of the world we don’t always consider.
10) The Walking Dead: If you think post-apocalyptic survival horror series, you think The Walking Dead (TWD). TWD has become near synonymous with the genre. The series, based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, stars everyone’s favourite sign-wielding softie from Love Actually, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. Rick, a sheriff’s deputy, wakes from a coma only to discover a world overrun by zombies – hence the title. Rick soon finds himself thrust into a battle for survival with others, becoming their leader in this zombie-ridden world and leading the fight against other survivors revelling in this new lawless society. A ninth season is set to debut this year, while TWD has been well received and nominated for a handful of illustrious gongs – including the Golden Globe for Best Television Series. It also spawned a spin-off, Fear The Walking Dead.
While humanity is near wiped out in TWD, the show itself shows no signs of becoming extinct.