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The End of Civilization On a Screen Near You

BY RELEVANT CULTURE / ISSUE 56 / TV April 16, 2012

It’s 2012, so expect a lot of buzz about the end of the world. But in addition to the usual end-of-the-world mania (though nothing will top Nicolas Cage’s Knowing), this year offers several more, shall we say, nuanced portraits of post-apocalyptic survival.

The most culturally pervasive instance is probably AMC’s The Walking Dead (based on a graphic novel series), which presents a collection of characters whose behavior might be worse than the zombies who chase them. The show depicts a shell of a world, where food is scarce, medicine is hard to find and mercy might be the rarest resource of all. Don’t expect to find a lot of heroes on this show.

The biggest film event of the spring is the movie version of The Hunger Games, which portrays an America post-civil war, split into 12 “districts” and a Capitol. The titular Games are a fight-to-the-death arena battle between children from each of the 12 colonies. Think The Running Man but with more teenage hormones.

But perhaps the best example is this summer’s most anticipated film, The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film. From all appearances, the movie portrays a city on the brink of chaos, a degraded society that seems to be coming apart at the seams.

What do these movies say about us? Well, probably that we’re all afraid something will cause society to collapse. And perhaps that we hope some kind of hero or “good team” will be around to save us. Either that, or we all want a hero who dresses as a flying rodent …

MO’ BOOKS, MO’ MOVIES

This March, The Hunger Games will hit the big screen, making yet another young adult novel into a probably successful film trilogy. Here are three more book series—for “kids”—that would make awesome movies.

THE 100 CUPBOARDS TRILOGY

It’s a fantasy series written by a Christian, and it’s not terrible. In fact, it’s actually really good—it has secret worlds, mythic monarchies and magic. Basically, everything great in fantasy novels.

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY SERIES

This is basically a Roald Dahl series with more mysteries. Bonus: You can also solve brain teasers with the characters.

THE HARDY BOYS/NANCY DREW

They need to update these and make them crazy action movies with way too many stunts. They should also somehow be revenge movies. Basically, they should be the new Bourne movies.