Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dystopian films and television

I thought it might fun, while I'm taking part in Presenting Lenore's Dystopian August to have a look today at my favourite dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories told through film or television. It sounded like a fun idea and then when I started writing this post, I realised that I am not a very big scifi geek AT ALL and I haven't actually seen a great deal of dystopic films or television programmes, at least according to the 'best' lists I've seen floating around.

But that's OK, right? Even if I only sort of dance around the edges of this genre? If YOU are a big fan of these types of films/tv programmes, please feel free to leave your own suggestions for what I should look out for.

Wall-E - I'm just going to jump right in here with the cartoon film. This is about the level of dystopia/post-apocalyptic that I like. Will my nerd badge be taken away from me? I think this film is utterly cute and I love the interaction between Wall-E and Eve (especially their 'dance' in outer space, AWWW!). But at the same time as that adorableness, Wall-E brings us this image of the Earth in the future in which mass-consumerism has taken over and the world is covered in rubbish and left inhabitable.

The Day After Tomorrow - I'm aware that this is probably not the greatest film ever, but I watch it all the time. I like the visuals in it, I like ogling Jake Gyllenhaal and I like the relationship between father and son. It's kind of strained and broken in the beginning but there's such strength to it throughout and the belief that the two will be reunited feels unwavering. It really is that one thing that keeps me returning to this film again and again. A rather bleak look at climate change at how it might affect our world in the future.

Dark Angel - I came late to watching Dark Angel and only caught it after the show had been cancelled. When I first started watching Dark Angel, I worried about cheesy dialogue and the show going a little too out-there for me, but I stuck with it and mostly enjoyed it. It's set in a post-apocalyptic Seattle and our main character, Max is a genetically modified super-human. Having escaped from this government facility where's been tested on, Max is searching for the other children who escaped along with her and trying to get by unnoticed. I think Jessica Alba is incredibly sexy and there's some great action sequences and she really kicks ass. I also was not complaining when Jensen Ackles joined the show and I had a bit of a crush on Logan, who's played by Michael Weatherly.

Jericho - Honestly, I'm going to end up with a reputation as being utterly SHALLOW when I tell you that I started watching Jericho because I fancied Skeet Ulrich. But the show was quite good too. It was interesting to witness the family and community dynamics of this small town after nuclear bombs had been detonated all over the United States. There's lots of secrets and everything feels really character-based while at the same time having this big mystery about the bombs.

I'm completely willing to add The Hunger Games film to this list once it's out. I'm excited and nervous about it.

Tell me about your favourite dystopic/post-apocalyptic films or television programmes!


  1. I love your film choices (I have so many mixed feelings about Day After Tomorrow, but I always end up with "Gyllenhaal = good!"). I haven't seen either of the shows, I hadn't even realised Jericho was dystopian :-/

    I tried Falling Skies recently which I guess is dystopian. Sadly I gave up after the first poor episode. Survivors and Outcasts were both BBC efforts, I watched every episode of Survivors in the hope it would get good (it didn't) and I gave up on Outcasts having learnt my lesson!

  2. Loved Jericho! (I also started watching it because of Skeet Ulrich..) I never did get into Dark Angel, I remember watching it a few times here and there.. I'll have to check it out again!

  3. I loved Jericho. I was really sad when they took it off the air!

  4. I thought Day After Tommrrow was pretty scary when I was younger. I haven't seen it in a few years but I do like it. I want to see Wall-E!

  5. you missed firefly - is that dystopian? I think so

  6. Yeesh, I have nothing to contribute here. It's not that I wouldn't watch post-apocalyptic TV and films, but I just haven't happened to do it. Wasn't there one in Britain with Paterson Joseph a few years ago?

  7. I'm curious about Jericho, but I've never watched it. I'm worried about getting hooked on a show that was cancelled early.

  8. Jenni - Jericho is more post-apocalyptic, which is what I seem to favour looking at this list! It was pretty good.

    I think N tried to watch Falling Skies and he too gave up. I've never even heard of Survivors OR Outcasts! I'm so out of the loop when it comes to modern television :)

    Becca - I think it can be hard to get into. I found Dark Angel to be really quite dated, even after just a few years. N thought it absolutely crap and gave up after the first episode, and I stuck with it and mostly enjoyed it.. It has Jensen Ackles in it!

    Linda - I was pretty sad when they took Jericho off the air as well! :(

    Cliona - The first time I watched Wall-E, I fell asleep. It had nothing to do with the film (I was exhausted!) but I still didn't try to watch it again for absolutely ages. It's really cute though..

    Kirsty - No idea! I never watched Firefly! I watched Serenity, the film that went along with it though and I vaguely remember it as possibly being dystopic? It didn't stick in my mind, which is why I didn't remember it before!

    Jenny - *blinks* ... *blank face* Oh Jenny, I don't have the slightest idea!!

    Melissa - Oh if those sort of things bother you, I'd suggest you not watching Jericho then. It was cancelled on a big cliffhanger!

  9. I loved Dark Angel when I was a teenager, I never got around to reading the books that came out after it was cancelled.

  10. Julianne - I had no idea there were books about it after the show finished. I'm not sure I would have read them in either case though.

  11. Jericho was an excellent show. It started out a little Little House on the Prairie to introduce the characters, but it got dark and gritty fast and wove the mystery of Hawkins and the government stuff pretty seamlessly into the story. The season 1 Finale is the best episode of tv I think I have ever seen. The acting, the directing, the music............and the season two episode where Bonnie kicks a** was superb.

    You may want to check out another Ulrich show that was short-lived but even more Brilliant than Jericho IMHO. It was called: MIRACLES. The acting chemistry between Angus McFayden and Ulrich was intense and quality stuff. Of the 13 episodes, I think at least 10 were each film-grade quality in terms of writing, directing and acting. It was similar to the X-Files, but stronger on all fronts and without the alien subplot. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.


  12. Thanks so much for your comment, Jamie! I'm with you on the Jericho love. I hadn't heard of Miracles, but I shall have a look for it, thanks :)


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