Monday, 7 October 2013

Dystopiarama:- Life After People (TV series 2009-2010)

"Life After People" is a History Channel documentary series produced between 2009 and 2010, and thus far has had two complete series plus its initial 90 minute "special" episode.

The series postulates what would happen to the Earth should mankind suddenly vanish, and also explores what would mankinds legacy to the universe be should this happen.

The series' tagline is "Welcome to Earth, population: Zero".

The initial 90 minute episode takes a look at various subjects, mostly concentrating on the subjects of how animals would cope without humans, and also the matter of urban decay.
The series version, which runs at approx 50 minutes per episode, expands on these concepts, with each episode having a particular theme, such as the fate of various building types, the long term effects of human mechanisation and technology, and the effect that pollution would have after we have gone and are not around to stop it.

The series makes no attempt to explain why humans have gone, they just have, and all the episodes show time from "today" (i.e, early 21st century) and extends forward, up to 1 million years into the future in the case of one episode.

The series can make for rather depressing viewing at times, for example, all those fluffy little pet animals would not fare so well without their owners to look after them, and many farm animals such as dairy cows would die from starvation, whereas other creatures, such as house cats, horses, raccoons and rats would do very well freed from the constraints of human intervention. A special mention also goes to head lice, who would become extinct within two weeks due to the complete loss of their only available food source.
One episode concentrates on the legacy of pollution left behind, showing how nuclear waste and hazardous chemicals would cause horrendous environmental damage after their containment systems begin to break down within the first 50 years or so, and the incredible amount of time it would take for nature to recover from the mass chemical or radioactive poisoning that would result.
Another bizarre twist is an episode which looks at what would happen to buried or preserved human corpses in the years that followed, where, due to lack of maintenance, human corpses would not only provide a feast for the animals that remain, but would also end up becoming something akin to the crude oil that we use by the gallon now.

On a plus note, the series takes a fairly in depth look at the way nature would quickly reassert its dominance over the Earth one we have gone, with cities quickly giving way to the regrowth of plants and trees and natural water flows sweeping away concrete dams.
Glimpses into the far future show cities such as London, Washington D.C and Seattle becoming marshlands or even being completely covered by water, and even show that in the far, far future, bacteria from Earth my spread life from Earth to other planets both in and outside of Earths solar system due to them stowing away on the various space probes launched during mans time on Earth.

The series itself is quite enjoyable, albeit very dry in some places, and should you wish to view it, you can do so, click HERE

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