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Prepping & Survival

The 10 Best Doomsday Documentaries

A doomsday documentary can be just what some people need to jumpstart their prepping motivation. Plenty of doomsday documentaries have aired over the years, highlighting the risks posed to our society and how it all may come down around us.

Most preppers do not prepare for apocalyptic scenarios but instead push for basic practical preparedness. A small group of those (doomsday preppers) choose to push their prepping to account for doomsday events and multi-generational survival. Regardless of your preparedness priorities, it is important to know the possibilities, which is where doomsday documentaries can come in handy.

Hands-on training is always best, but if you find yourself with some free time in front of the TV, computer, or phone- we’ve scoured for the top doomsday documentaries worth watching and have them all listed below.

Doomsday: 10 Ways the World Will End

This popular docuseries from the History Channel aired in 2016, and it highlights ten world-ending events throughout its episodes:

  • Asteroid impact
  • Black hole
  • Rogue planet impact
  • Solar storm
  • Nuclear war
  • Gamma-ray burst
  • Mega-volcano eruption
  • Earth orbit alteration
  • Alien invasion
  • Deep sea disaster

The series doesn’t cover every possibility, but it does a great job covering the subjects it focuses on.

The Universe

The Universe (again from the History Channel) isn’t explicitly about doomsday scenarios, but it does often cover celestial-related apocalypses. It ran for 9 seasons and 88 episodes between 2007 and 2015, and is solid documentary TV focusing on astronomy.

Last Days on Earth

A 20/20 science special that first aired on ABC in 2006, it has been a standard documentary on the History Channel for years. It even grabbed a few Emmy nominations for graphic and art design.

One neat thing about the scenarios in the documentary is that they were intended to be organized from least likely to most likely:

  • Gamma-ray burst or black hole
  • A.I. takeover
  • Supervolcano
  • Asteroid impact
  • Nuclear warfare
  • Pandemic
  • Climate change

Out of that list, I’d say A.I. takeover is a different prospect than they perceived in 2006…

How the Earth Was Made

Originally airing on USA in 2009, this docuseries describes how our planet was created. It may not sound like apocalyptic material, but it does describe how the same intensely powerful forces that shaped our planet could rip it apart (San Andreas Fault, Yellowstone National Park). The docuseries focuses on specific locations like these over the 27-episode run across two seasons.

Countdown to the Apocalypse

As a six-episode documentary, this series took advantage of the coming Mayan calendar prophecy of December 21, 2012, and aired leading up to it. It examines not just the Mayan-predicted apocalypse, but goes into Nostradamus, the Four Horsemen, and more as it looks at the historical ‘prophets of doom’.

In the last episode, it does examine preppers and both realistic and fantastical doomsday scenarios.

Apocalypse: Should We Start to Panic?

Anxiety and panic related to pending catastrophes are nothing new and are natural responses. But that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Taking action is a better response.

DW (Germany’s version of PBS) made a splash recently with this documentary that highlights ‘ecocide’, and how environmental decisions (or lack of action) have painted a bleak future.

End Day

This docu-drama from BBC in 2005 shares a set of five doomsday scenarios in just 50 minutes:

  • Volcanic eruption/mega-tsunami
  • Meteor impact
  • Global pandemic
  • Supervolcano
  • Particle accelerator accident

It’s a bit of an apocalyptic ‘Groundhog Day’, and worth a watch even if the acting won’t win any awards.

Life After People

This interesting doomsday documentary spans two seasons with 20 total episodes, all looking at the various effects of humans going extinct. Landmarks decay, skyscrapers fall, and animals- and possibly viruses- become the top of the food chain.

American Blackout

You’ll often hear this 2013 docu-drama suggested in prepping circles, but will rarely find it available to watch or on sale. It shows fictional first-hand accounts of a cyber attack on the power grid- a growing concern.

At about 90 minutes long, it’s worth watching and sharing before it disappears into the internet void yet again.

After Armageddon

Another tough nugget to find, After Armageddon first aired in 2010 on History Channel and is another popular docudrama about post-pandemic survivors. This is another ‘special interest’ piece that is hard to find.

The Final Word

Doomsday documentaries are a great way to learn about something fast, but they can also spread misinformation or just distracting information. A risk analysis trumps a man-made prophecy almost every time, so research and proper planning are the way to go about prepping.

Don’t get too absorbed or depressed about possible doomsday scenarios. Keep in mind that they are low probability. Learning about them can equip you with the knowledge that could help if one were to happen or for lower-impact scenarios.

Here are some other articles our subscribers have enjoyed:

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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Top 10 Doomsday Documentaries

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