The History Channel sent review copies of season 2 of its series, Life After People, which I spent several loud evenings watching. If you like scenes of apocalyptic destruction, you’re going to love this one.
Before proceeding to any commentary on the content of Season 2 of Life After People, it might be helpful to watch this short clip (SFW) of Joe Flaherty and the late John Candy as hosts Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok from SCTV’s classic Farm Film Report.
Big Jim and Billy Sol would have loved this show. Stuff blows up real good! Actually, a lot of it doesn’t explode so much as collapse, but slow motion views of iconic buildings suffering that final gust of wind or popped rivet that brings the works crashing down is going to keep fans of disaster porn glued to their sets.
The premise of Life After People, for those who haven’t caught an episode, is to speculate on what would happen in a world where all humans suddenly left one day. It’s not an apocalyptic ending per se, so no corpses in the streets, bombed out cities or zombies to worry about, they’re just gone. Then the countdown begins. What happens to the infrastructure and all the things that humans left behind, from pets to food and famous works of art is imagined through a virtual time lapse camera. Unfortunately, we watched the episode entitled “Wrath of God” first and found it almost comically heavy on the religious hysteria. I’ll let the description of the episode help make my case: “Structures of God and symbols of Satan face their post-apocalyptic fate. Churches around the world crumble in a world after people, while the devil’s minions multiply.” Ahem. My wife didn’t make it past this episode, although it did feature some epic statue destruction scenes.
The rest of the series lightened up a bit and included some interesting segments to accompany the destruction. Watching the contents of a supermarket succumb to bacteria, rats and insects was like watching a slightly toned down version for TV version of the Stinkymeat Project (link here, but be warned it’s gross). Other episodes see DaVinci’s The Last Supper, Airforce One, Taipei 101, the White House and New York’s Central Station meet their respective fates (spoiler alert: nature eventually wins in every case). There are actually some honest to goodness explosions too, thanks to disintegrating chemical drums, accumulating sewer gases and the like. For a taste of the carnage, the series home page includes dozens of clips -turn down the volume if watching at work. Once we got past that “Wrath of God” episode, my kids seemed to enjoy Life After People, especially the boys. It took a few repeats to explain the whole “people disappeared” concept, but once they finally left that alone, watching nature encroach on the cities was kind of fun. And we all loved watching stuff blow up, especially with the sound system cranked up.
You can pick up Season 2 of Life After People at Amazon, or leave a comment here before midnight Eastern Time, indicating whether you’d prefer DVD or Blu-Ray. History Channel provided a copy of each format to give away to our readers; one random commenter in each group will win.
12am: Thanks for the entries everyone. We’re closing the contest down now and winners will be notified by e-mail.