It’s The End Of The World On Your TIVO

Ken AshfordPopular CultureLeave a Comment

I’ve always been intrigued by entertainment fads as a reflection of culture and the national psyche.  For example, after Japan was nuked (twice) in WWII, they started making movies about giant monsters (Godzilla, Mothra, etc.) sent to destroy civilization.  And nuclear radiation was often the given reason why these monsters came into existence in the first place.  I’m not a sociologist (I only have a social psychology degree), but it takes take a genius to see the connection.

So what to make of this, as reported by Variety via Drudge:

The TV networks are getting edgier in their ’06 pilot plans.

The nets have filled their development slates with a bevy of brave ideas and bold format experiments, VARIETY reports on Monday, including shows about THE END OF AMERICA!

ABC alone has at least two would-be shows set in post-apocalyptic America ("Resistance" and "Red & Blue") while Gavin Polone and Bruce Wagner are teaming for the comfy-sounding plague drama "Four Horsemen" at CBS (which also is developing "Jericho," about life in a small town after America is destroyed).

We’re actually in the middle of this trend.  Witness Spielberg’s "War of the Worlds" and the popular (at least among Christians) "Left Behind" series.

What can explain our supposed newfound interest in apocalyptic entertainment?  Is it defeatism?  Is it the rise of evangelical belief in things like The Rapture?  Is it the mass-marketing of fear (fear of terrorism, bird flu, etc.)?

I, for one, am not complaining.  I tend to like that genre.  The mini-series "The Stand" was pretty cool, even if it did have the odd pairing of Molly Ringwald and Gary Sinese.  So bring it on.