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TV shows tell us that humanity is doomed

Just because March was supposed to be a month for optimism, right? Well, not necessarily: being prepared for the worst is different than being pessimists per se, and it’s something we should always do no matter how optimistic we are about the future. Expect the best, prepare for the worst.

But this is just a random thought I had as I watched yet another apocalyptic show on Netflix: The Mist. The story of a small US town that one day find itself trapped in a thick fog that actually kills people. And of course it powers off modern cars and electricity, and jams phone signal. The series follow the story of three group of people as they wait to be rescued and try to survive in between: a few in a police station, a few in a church, some others in a shopping mall.

I’m not going to say a lot more about it, also because I didn’t like it. I had been lured in by the fact that it was based on a Stephen King novel, but I guess it didn’t survive the adaptation: flat characters, twist either not twisty at all or completely unjustified, so on and so forth. The reason why I’m talking about it is that it gave me the same vibes as the central seasons of The Walking Dead.

The reason why I’m talking about it is that in all of these TV series or movies in which humanity is threatened is that after a few episodes, the catastrophe that triggered it all sort of fades in the background, while a way more dangerous enemy arises: human beings themselves. The Governor and all his lookalikes in The Walking Dead (let’s be honest, after a while they were all the same), the security chief and the crazy old lady in The Mist…episode after episode they become much scarier than the zombies or the supernatural mist. Also because, specifically to “The Mist”, it’s not clear how it kills people and why, and thanks God there’s not going to be another season.

If you think about it, even in Don’t Look Up they could have prevented the disaster, if they had stuck to the original plan to destroy the comet. Instead, they chose to try something foolish and pretended nothing was happening when their plan failed. Whose fault was that? The comet’s, or the humans’?

I’m sure there’s a rational explanation for this trend in apocalyptic shows: humans against some world-wide calamity is not a fair fight, after all. Moreover, internal enemies are usually deeper and harder to fight than external ones. We all are capable of spotting an external threat to humanity, but it’s harder to do when the menace come from inside our community. There’s nothing scarier than some of the “devils you know”, and from an audience perspective they’re probably easier to relate to.

And the past two years have showed us that we’ve got a lot to worry about even without alien threats or zombie apocalypses.

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