The SyFy Channel’s DEFIANCE, with a great cast including Julie Benz, Jaime Murray, and Mia Kirshner, envisions an apocalypse caused by a lengthy and destructive interstellar war. The Votans, having lost their own planet, are busy “terraforming” earth. (The term “terraform” is being stretched a bit. It means “to make earthlike”, and that is the opposite of what the Votan’s machines are doing to the planet. But it does get the idea across, I suppose.)
The apocalypse will take a different form on NBC’s REVOLUTION, which is set 15 years after something (we know not what) permanently knocks out the world’s electrics. In early discussions of the show, it was said that the cause was a large EM pulse, but since that would be impossible on a worldwide scale, and certainly would not have effects that would last 15 years, that idea seems to have been quietly dropped. The latest NBC publicity release does not mention EM pulse at all. The breakdown of American society was dealt with without spurious technological assumptions in Ron Goulart’s excellent 1970 novel AFTER THINGS FELL APART).
Post-apocalyptic stories are usually cautionary tales. Apparently, the dangers most feared by America today involve the failure of electrics and alien attack. There are much more probable potential disasters for television writers to mine. How about a series that portrays what the world might be like after a three degree worldwide temperature increase (which is becoming increasingly likely by the year 2100). How about genetically targeted biological warfare that goes after restricted gene pools? Or can TV shows only discuss improbable disasters?
The Votan’s terraforming machines might be symbolic representations of climate change, but that’s kind of a stretch.
Neither show has yet aired. REVOLUTION premieres 24 September at 10pm Eastern. DEFIANCE will air sometime in the spring of 2013.