There's nothing like the end of the word to make you want to watch... well, the end of the world. If you're looking for the best post-apocalyptic TV shows and movies to make our current semi-apocalyptic conditions seem not so bad, look no further.

Whether it's a nuclear bomb, a zombie outbreak, a deadly virus (uhh...), environmental disaster, or our own carelessness, our favorite shows and movies about life after civilization give us a morbid look at what the world will look like after we've destroyed it. And, if you're an optimist, how we can persevere!

Looking for more recommendations? We have recommendations for fans of horror, murder mysteries, animated shows, and much, much more.


TV Shows

The Walking Dead


Where to Watch: Netflix

Obviously we have to kick this list off with the most popular post-apocalypse show currently on TV. In case you've been living under a rock the past 10 years, The Walking Dead follows Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) after he wakes up from a coma to find the hospital abandoned and zombies, aka walkers, roaming the earth. Rick sets off to find his missing wife and son and to establish a safe place for them and other survivors to settle and withstand the bloodthirsty walkers (and bloodthirsty humans) that now threaten everyone's lives. If you're looking for a long binge, this bad boy has several seasons (and counting) to power through! [Trailer]


Daybreak


Where to Watch: Netflix

<em>Daybreak</em> Daybreak

Set in post-apocalyptic Glendale, Calif., Daybreak follows the story of 17-year-old Josh Wheeler (Colin Ford) as he tries to navigate a brutal (and yet highly comedic) world in which all adults have been turned into mindless, bloodthirsty zombies thanks to a nuclear explosion. He joins forces with a small band of misfits on a quest to find his missing girlfriend, avoiding roving gangs of other teenagers to survive this totally bizarre apocalypse. Though this series was canceled by Netflix after only one season, it's still a solid investment of your time and a lighter take on the apocalypse than other options. [Trailer]


The Last Ship


Where to Watch: Hulu

Eric Dane, <em>The Last Ship</em> Eric Dane, The Last Ship

Zombies aren't the only thing that can cause an apocalypse, you know? The enemy in The Last Ship is actually a global pandemic that strikes while the crew of the USS Nathan James was isolated on a mission in the Arctic. When they return to civilization, they find the world in ruins after the virus wiped out 80 percent of the human population. The only hope for a cure rests with two civilian virologists aboard the ship, and the ship's own captain, Tom Chandler (Eric Dane). This series manages to mix the existential crises that come with the breakdown of human society with the jump scares of an apocalyptic thriller, making it an excellent choice for your next binge. [Trailer]


The 100


Watch it on: Netflix

Eliza Taylor and Thomas McDonell, <em>The 100</em> Eliza Taylor and Thomas McDonell, The 100

If you're more of a sci-fi person, we strongly suggest you check out The 100 for all of your post-apocalyptic needs. Set 97 years after a nuclear apocalypse, the only human survivors live on an orbiting space station called The Ark. When overpopulation becomes a problem, however, 100 juvenile delinquents are jettisoned from the ship and sent to a radioactive Earth to test whether the atmosphere is habitable. Those teens soon find that they aren't the only human survivors after all, and they'll have to fight for survival in a strange new world. [Trailer]


12 Monkeys


Where to Watch: Hulu

Amanda Schull and Aaron Stanford, <em>12 Monkeys</em> Amanda Schull and Aaron Stanford, 12 Monkeys

In a blend of the sci-fi and pandemic genres, 12 Monkeys follows James Cole's (Aaron Stanford) mission through time to stop the release of a deadly virus. Traveling back from the year 2043 to 2015, Cole teams up with a virologist, Dr. Cassie Railly (Amanda Schull), to prevent the plague that is set to kill seven billion people in the year 2017. This Syfy drama is part action-adventure series, part post-apocalyptic series, and part epic love story. [Trailer]


Zoo


Where to Watch: Netflix

James Wolk, <em>Zoo</em> James Wolk, Zoo

Ever wonder what would happen if mother nature finally got pissed off enough to start fighting back against humans? Then Zoo is absolutely the show for you! The series follows zoologist Jackson Oz (James Wolk) and his rag-tag team as they try to make sense of a series of violent animal attacks occurring all over the world. A mysterious pandemic affecting animals around the globe incites them to launch coordinated attacks on the human world, threatening to end the human race unless Jackson and his team can find a cure. The premise and the CGI of this series may be a little silly, but the dialogue is self-aware enough to make you feel like you're laughing with these characters rather than at them. [Trailer]


The Rain


Where to Watch: Netflix

Evin Ahmad, Mikkel Folsgaard, Alba August, Lucas Lynggaard Tonnesen; The Rain Evin Ahmad, Mikkel Folsgaard, Alba August, Lucas Lynggaard Tonnesen; The Rain

You'll need your subtitles for this one, but trust us, it's worth it. The Rain is a Danish series set in a world besieged by a virus that is carried by rainfall. While most humans have been wiped out in Scandanavia where the series is set, two siblings survived the epidemic by sheltering in a bunker for six years. They emerge to search for their father and end up joining forces with another group of survivors in the hopes of finding a quarantine zone. [Trailer]


Salvation


Where to Watch: CBS All Access

Santiago Cabrera, Jennifer Finnigan, Jacqueline Byers, Charlie Rowe, <em>Salvation</em> Santiago Cabrera, Jennifer Finnigan, Jacqueline Byers, Charlie Rowe, Salvation

While many apocalypse narratives are caused by human corruption and greed, some like Salvation are just built on bad luck. This series, which lasted two seasons, is set in the present day as scientists discover an asteroid heading straight for earth. With just six months to think of a way to save humanity, an MIT grad student, a tech billionaire, and a sci-fi writer team up to find a creative solution that will save as many people as possible. [Trailer]


Containment


Watch it on: Netflix

Chris Wood, Claudia Black, Kristen Gutoskie, David Gyasi, Christina Moses, <em>Containment</em> Chris Wood, Claudia Black, Kristen Gutoskie, David Gyasi, Christina Moses, Containment

When a mysterious epidemic hits Atlanta, an unprecedented quarantine is enforced on the city's Zone 6, leaving those inside desperate and fighting for survival. A diverse cast of characters must band together — but not too close together!! — to avoid infection and survive the cordon that could end up being part of a vast conspiracy. Though this series only ran for one season on The CW, it will definitely suck you in and remind you why social distancing is so important during an outbreak. [Trailer]


The Strain


Where to Watch: Hulu

Max Charles and Jonathan Hyde,<em> The Strain</em>Max Charles and Jonathan Hyde, The Strain

The Strain is a mix of monster movies and viral outbreak movies if you're looking for a slightly more supernatural apocalypse. The series follows a CDC doctor, Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), as he investigates a viral outbreak that, essentially, turns humans into bloodthirsty vampires. As New York City slowly but surely gets overrun, humans are faced with the possibility of extinction if they don't learn to fight off this new species of predator. The violence in this show is no joke, but if you're up for the nightmares, it's got four seasons worth of blood and guts. [Trailer]


Movies

2012


Where to Watch: Netflix

<em>2012</em> 2012

It's the end of the world and the only one who can save you is... John Cusack? Yep, we'll roll with that. This blockbuster hit that totally cashed in on the Mayan Calendar hysteria postulates that the world will end in a simultaneous set of earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, and every other climate catastrophe you can possibly imagine. Through it all, one family attempts to escape California and make it to China, where the governments of the world have banded together to create state-of-the-art arks to preserve the human race. [Trailer]


Contagion


Where to Watch: Hulu with Cinemax

Jude Law, <em>Contagion</em> Jude Law, Contagion

This one might hit a little too close to home, so try not to freak yourself out too much. Contagion tells the story of a deadly viral outbreak that begins in Asia and slowly spreads to the U.S. and eventually the entire world. As the CDC attempts to contain the virus and find a cure, society begins to break down as the mortality rate climbs. The movie's main characters include an immune father, who does not know whether he's passed his immunity on to his daughter, a W.H.O. specialist who is taken hostage in exchange for a cure, and the CDC virologists who race to understand and overcome the virus before it wipes out billions. [Trailer]


World War Z


Where to Watch: Hulu with Live TV

Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, and Abigail Hargrove, <em>World War Z</em> Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, and Abigail Hargrove, World War Z

Who wouldn't want to watch Brad Pitt fight super speedy zombies? In a twisted take on the zombie apocalypse narrative, World War Z follows a former U.N. investigator as he tries to find the origins of a rabies-like virus that turns humans into violent zombies within 12 seconds of getting bitten. These zombies aren't you're average The Walking Dead shufflers either. They're sprinting, contorting, nightmarish creatures that can break through virtually any barrier. [Trailer]


Snowpiercer


Where to Watch: Netflix

Chris Evans, <em>Snowpiercer</em> Chris Evans, Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer is set aboard an ever-moving, 1001-car train that carries the only survivors of the human race after scientists accidentally set off an apocalyptic winter that freezes the Earth. All survivors are not created equal though, and there's a sharp class distinction between the uber-rich passengers who live in luxury and the poor stowaways who live in squalor at the back of the train. After seven years of starvation and destitution, the citizens of the caboose start a revolution and launch their mission to make it to the front car, where the train's creator and ruler, Mr. Wilford (Ed Harris) lives. This one's got some serious "eat the rich" energy, plus... Chris Evans!


I Am Legend


Where to Watch: Amazon

Will Smith,<em> I Am Legend</em> Will Smith, I Am Legend

If pandemics and earthquakes aren't quite your speed, we suggest I Am Legend, since it focuses more on the last man alive than on the way the world actually ended. Set after a vaccine accidentally turns humans into zombie-like creatures, one man and his dog are the only non-mutated souls left in New York City. That soul survivor happens to be a brilliant scientist, determined to find a cure for the mutated souls he still believes can be saved. [Trailer]


The Day After Tomorrow


Where to Watch: HBO Now

<em>The Day After Tomorrow</em> The Day After Tomorrow

Another natural disaster movie, The Day After Tomorrow follows a climatologist who predicts superstorms are imminent thanks to global warming. His teen son and a few friends find themselves caught in one such storm in New York City, which is plagued by torrential rain, flooding, and ultimately a snowstorm severe enough that it can freeze you solid in seconds. If you want a movie horrifying enough to convince your parents to believe in climate change, this is the one for you!


A Quiet Place


Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon

Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, and John Krasinski, <em>A Quiet Place</em> Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds, and John Krasinski, A Quiet Place

If you're looking for a change of pace, how about an alien invasion? Though there are a million alien invasion apocalypse movies, one of the newest additions to this field is also one of the best. Set in a post-invasion world, A Quiet Place follows one family's struggle to survive bloodthirsty aliens who hunt by sound by relying on sign language and clever means of soundless travel. With a baby on the way though, their quiet way of life is at risk as the aliens circle closer. [Trailer]