I was recently very lucky to make the acquaintance of a mysterious and talented stranger from Long Island, New York, by way of Bloodstream City – one Mr. Brian Martinez. What does a Brian Martinez do? It writes books. What does it write about? The apocalypse. Why? Because it’s goddamn interesting, and this particular Brian Martinez is also goddamn interesting, and that’s why you need to pull up a 5-gallon bucket, loosen your gas mask, and let him tell you about his…
…Top 5 Post-Apocalyptic Television Shows:
1. The Stand
It’s difficult to make a list like this without including The Stand, a miniseries from 1994 adapted from the Stephen King novel of the same name. It has it all: man-made super-virus, seas of crashed cars, a group of survivors suffering demonic visions, and a climax pitting good versus evil. Even though like so many other King projects it eventually collapses under its own weight, there’s no denying it put the end of the world on everyone’s lips when it came out.
2. Dead Set
Another miniseries, this one from the UK, Dead Set is the kind of idea people tend to talk about but never actually make. It starts as a simple what-if: What if the zombie apocalypse happened during the filming of Big Brother? and ends up going head-to-severed-head with most of the top films in the genre. It’s then you realize: this is TELEVISION, proving once again American TV has a long way to go to catch up with other countries and the kinds of risks they take. Dead Set holds nothing back while giving us a new, modern iteration of a horror commandment: it’s only scary if you can’t escape.
Oh, England. How you know me. This time around they’ve given us Survivors, not a miniseries but in fact a full series which shows the demise of nearly the entire human population by means of virulent flu. The power of the show, a remake of a series aired in 1975, is in the interplay of its characters. A small group brought together out of necessity, they hide secrets from each other, fall in love, threaten to kill each other, desert each other then fight to reunite, all while battling every equally problematic group they cross paths with. Add Tom Price, a remorseless anti-hero bad-ass with a secret past, and you’ve got one solid show. Unfortunately canceled before its time, Survivors is still worth the watch.
It started as one of the greatest graphic novel series of all time. Then it added Frank Darabont, director of Shawshank Redemption and The Mist, as its leader and champion. Then it had the nerve to cast just the right actors for just the right characters. In six, far-too-quick episodes The Walking Dead managed to not only bring the horror of the zombie apocalypse to prime-time television, it even set new records in viewership. Though there were some mixed results with changes made from the comics, mostly in the form of new but forgettable characters, the series set itself up for an excellent second season in which it will benefit from all of AMC’s support. Here’s hoping they hit their stride and deliver the experience this show is capable of.
Not a true apocalyptic show, at least not a hundred percent of the time, but it still did more to establish the genre than any other series before it or since. Debuting in 1959 at the heart of the Cold War, The Twilight Zone represented the post-WWII mentality. Nothing the same. Everything a threat. The very first episode, titled “Where is Everybody?” features a man wandering through an abandoned town unsure of where or even who he is. It doesn’t get more apocalyptic than that. Over the next five years Twilight Zone would air episodes devoted directly to the end of the world, such as “Time Enough at Last”, “Two” and “The Old Man in the Cave”, not to mention countless implied cataclysms from a wide range of sources; dying sun, nuclear war, alien invasion, an entire laundry list of phobias. The grand-daddy of end-time television, The Twilight Zone embedded itself in our collective fear center, then dug deeper and deeper with every new year’s eve marathon. Paranoia, confusion, regret. This is the face of the apocalypse.
Being sharp-minded and inquisitive wastelanders, you’re now asking yourself, “What books has this Martinez fella written, anyway?” Shut your internal monologues before something scary hears you! Go clickity-click some of the links I scattered like pistachio shells all over the intro to Brian’s list and you might find a reference to a little something called…
This is Brian’s debut novel, and one I’ve currently got traveling toward me via the magic of the postal service. Not into old school paper and all that flipping of pages? THE E-BOOK IS ONLY 99 CENTS! I’m not even kidding…it’s absurd. Go buy it. Personally, I prefer something I can hurl into the face of an attacker should they surprise me while I’m reading on the john. Thanks for having my back, Brian.