Fans of dystopian media can rejoice these days with the amount of apocalyptic and survival films and TV series available. But finishing the last episode of your favorite apocalypse show feels nearly as painful as the thought that a comet, disease, or bomb could wipe out most of humanity in a single day.
From The Leftovers (2014-2017) to All of Us Are Dead (2022-), you can add any of these end-of-the-world survival thrillers to your watchlist.
1. Alice in Borderland (2020-)
Searching for an escape from their everyday lives, three best friends joke around in the crowded streets of Tokyo before entering a bathroom together. When they emerge, they find themselves trapped in a strange land where most of Tokyo’s population disappeared. Left behind are a few stragglers forced to participate in deadly games by a mysterious, omniscient force. Can the friends return to the Tokyo they know, or will they be trapped in this strange dimension forever?
2. The Leftovers (2014-2017)
When 140 million people suddenly disappear from the face of the Earth, their family and friends are left reeling from what the survivors call “The Sudden Departure.” As the police attempt to sustain some normalcy, a reactive cult gains more followers by the minute.
3. From (2022-)
From is a harrowing sci-fi series about an unassuming midwestern town that traps those who enter so they may never leave again. When a family on a road trip winds up in the town, they’re hunted by sinister shape-shifting monsters that roam the village after nightfall.
4. Silo (2023-)
Silo takes place in a dystopian world where humanity hides underground in a metal silo to protect them from the harsh outside world. But when one woman finds evidence that suggests the terrors of the surface are a farce, she does whatever it takes to convince the leaders of the silo to release her and prove she’s correct.
5. Blood Drive (2017)
Blood Drive is a thrilling series set in the near future where a climate crisis causes a water crisis and tears a vast rift that separates the U.S. down the center, launching Americans into a fight for survival. New terrifying criminal enterprises shoot up across the country, like the Blood Drive: a race where cars are fuelled by human blood.
6. Falling Skies (2011-2015)
Six months ago, powerful aliens attacked planet Earth, killing 90% of the population. As the survivors scavenge for resources on the desolate, war-torn landscape, they wonder why the aliens chose to target Earth in the first place. But some humans begin to team up in the hopes of saving the last remains of humanity from extinction.
7. Kingdom (2019-)
This South Korean apocalyptic period drama occurs during Korea’s Joseon Dynasty and follows a prince who accidentally uncovers a hidden disease that brings the dead back to life. Already struggling to face off political upheaval, the prince now must do whatever it takes to prevent the spread of the virus across the kingdom.
8. Black Summer (2019-2021)
Black Summer takes place at the onset of a zombie apocalypse and chronicles the fates of those who survive and those who become members of the undead. After a young girl is bussed away to a safe zone, her mother frantically searches for her daughter as she struggles to fight off zombies and find enough food to survive.
9. All of Us Are Dead (2022-)
As students attend classes and gossip with their friends, they have no idea the zombie outbreak is beginning in their science department. Once the virus spreads, the government puts the school on lockdown, and the remaining students must work together to scrounge food and protect themselves from the undead lurking around every corner.
10. See (2019-2022)
After a worldwide epidemic kills most people on Earth, the survivors and their descendants are blind as a result of complications of the illness. Centuries later, people now believe the gift of vision is a myth. That is until two children are born with the ability to see.
11. Sweet Home (2020-)
This South Korean monster horror series follows a depressed teen who has lost the will to live after his family died in a brutal car accident. After he moves into a new apartment building, he and the other residents realize people outside have transformed into terrifying man-eating monsters.
12. The Last Ship (2014-2018)
When the U.S.S. Nathan James set sail for the Arctic, the captain had no idea that the world they left behind would not be there when they returned home. As they travel North, a virus decimates most of the human population. The captain refuses orders to return to the mainland in the hopes that an immunologist aboard the ship can create a vaccine against the virus before time runs out.
13. Under the Dome (2013-2015)
Under the Dome is a horror sci-fi series about an alien egg that lands in a small town in Maine, where it’s found by archeologists years later. But when they touch the egg, they accidentally set off a secret scheme hatched by the alien race that engulfs the town in an impenetrable and inescapable dome.
14. Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)
When the man-made Cylons return to the human planet years after a devastating war between man and machine, they enact a catastrophic plan that wipes out the majority of humanity. Now confined to a fleet floating in outer space, the survivors put their trust in the commander of an aging yet powerful warship as he guides them toward a legendary planet known as Earth.
15. The 100 (2014-2020)
The 100 is a teen sci-fi series in a dystopian future where humans destroyed the Earth and now must attempt to survive in outer space. But as their oxygen, food, and water threaten to run out, the government hatches a desperate plan to send 100 teenage delinquents down to Earth to determine whether or not humans can move back home.
16. Yellowjackets (2021-)
While this tale of survival doesn’t take place in the apocalypse, the series’ events make viewers feel like it’s the end of the world. When a girls’ high school soccer team travels to Seattle to compete in a tournament, their plane crash-lands in the dense Canadian wilderness. Those who survive the crash fight for survival and are forced to commit horrific acts they never imagined. Years later, the ordeal’s survivors still suffer from the impacts of the disaster.
17. The Last of Us (2023-)
This critically acclaimed apocalypse series takes place in a world where a fungal infection begins to control the minds of the infected. Years after the outbreak, a man on a mission to reconnect with his brother begrudgingly takes a job to bring a teenage girl to a secret location, as she is humanity’s only hope for a cure.
18. Snowpiercer (2020-2023)
After an intense ice age makes the Earth’s surface inhospitable for human life, a group of survivors builds a new society on a train that never stops moving as it journeys around the globe. In the back of the train, people live in poverty, while those at the front live a life of luxury. But a revolt begins to brew, threatening the stability of society and the survival of the already precariously situated human race.
19. Jericho (2006-2008)
Jericho is a tense dystopian thriller series that takes place in a small Kansas town after a nuclear attack takes out major cities across the U.S. When the attack cuts the town off from the rest of society, its inhabitants work together to rebuild their lives in the new era of apocalypse.
20. Into the Night (2020-)
This Belgian apocalyptic drama occurs in a world where the sun suddenly becomes too hot and scorches everyone who enters its rays. One plane filled with survivors races against the clock as they attempt to remain in the dark of night. As they fly across the world, evading the sun’s touch, they devise a plan to escape the sun for good.
21. Day 5 (2016-2017)
When a man who loves to party wakes up after passing out from a drug-induced slumber, he soon learns a terrifying apocalypse began overnight when everyone who went to sleep died for seemingly no reason. As he teams up with other survivors, the group must fight off their greatest enemy: sleep.
22. Raised By Wolves (2020-2022)
After a religious war ravages the Earth, two intelligent androids head to a new planet to raise human children to prevent humanity’s extinction. When a human ship begins to orbit the planet, the androids must decide whether it’s safe to let their one surviving child return to his own species.
23. The Rain (2018-2020)
This Danish series takes place in an apocalyptic world where the rain carries a terrible virus that wiped out most of Scandinavia’s population. After hiding in a bunker for most of their lives, two teenage siblings must brave the outside world when they discover they’re not the only remaining survivors.
24. The Walking Dead (2010-2022)
This classic zombie thriller series begins when a cop wakes up from a coma only to discover the world he once knew is long gone. The undead overtakes the world, and the cop soon bands together with a team of survivors who warn him that zombies aren’t the only danger in this brutal new world.
25. Station Eleven (2021)
When a highly contagious, deadly virus wipes out a large portion of humanity, the survivors attempt to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the disaster. But can the Earth’s inhabitants come to terms with their new normal?
Maya (she/they) is a queer entertainment and culture journalist. They cover interviews, reviews, roundups, news, and more. She loves horror, history, and creativity. They hope their writing both entertains readers and inspires them to think critically. Her favorite pastimes include needle felting, gaming, and drawing.