Series Review: Life After People Season 1

Someone bring a lawnmower!

Someone bring a lawnmower!

Running the tagline “Welcome to Earth, Population Zero”, Life After People is a fascinating series that asks the question, what would happen if humans vanished tomorrow? The 10 part series delights in watching the entire world decay to an end and therefore it suits ILDM just fine!

Released: 2008

Running Time: 445 minutes

The Premise

Watch as an over the top narrator delights in all the world’s famous locations crumble to dust. Yay!

The Disasters Faced

Building collapses, corrosion, sewage, wild animals, electric and gas explosions, toxic waste… all the good stuff in life

The Execution

Each episode opens the same way, reminding you that humans have disappeared. It delights in using the phrase “in the time of people…” just to remind us how short our time has been on this planet and how much we’ve changed / harnessed / ruined it. What it doesn’t often do is tow a know it all line however, it simply presents the details of what happened. Then the episode theme comes to fore. It may be preserved bodies, or animals, or building monuments or the oil rigs. It then shows in detail just how long things would last without humans to look after them and keep the machines running. Some shut down and explode within a day or two, others can survive for thousands of years. As the subjects decay and rot over time, each step is documented. There’s a fair amount of reused CGI but in a CGI heavy documentary, it was not as bad as expected.

Each episode then breaks out to real world examples to back up what various theorists are speaking about and here I found absolute gems of discoveries. Abandoned towns, hospitals and literally an Island in one episode are stunning and haunting at the same time. If anyone enjoys pictures of abandoned sites, this is where your money shots will be.

Should have paid the council tax!

Should have paid the council tax!

The Effects

Effects range in dramatic fashion. Some of the long shots or static shots of cities in ruins are very well done, overran in plant life and falling to pieces. The actual collapses however range from well executed to cheap and tacky and that’s down to the various views being used. Almost as if they worried about being bored with watching world landmarks crash down (really? that can happen Disaster Movie fans?!) they choose a lot of shots where rubble falls into the camera. Each time it does so the quality is sub par and even some of the sci-fi movies boast better effects. I didn’t find it detracted from the documentary however and that’s key.

Why It’s Worth Watching

Essentially, everything will return back to mother nature according to this documentary so as soon as something is unveiled you know it’s going to end badly. It also surprises you constantly by showing how some animals or objects will last a lot longer than you’d originally think. The real world examples were educational and fascinating whilst the experts that explain the science do so without ever being patronising and come across as a likeable bunch.

Drinking Game

Each big monument that comes crashing down. Every episode has a couple. Or you could use a shot for everytime the narrator says “it’s safe… for now…” with his knowing voice.

Best Death

We all died before the title card. Oops.

Best Character

There are none but there are some ultra cute dogs that decide to go nuts in order to escape their homes.

Nothing's safe in this documentary!

Nothing’s safe in this documentary!

Weirdest Moment

The constant realisation that we try to preserve ourselves in every form yet we will probably never be here to see many generations enjoy our works. That is a sad thing and it’s also a thing that people thousands of years ago were far better at doing than we do today in-spite of all our technology.

Conclusion

Magnificent documentary. If you don’t enjoy things ran entirely on hypothesis then this may not be for you, but if you love your end of the world scenario’s then this documentary series will keep you entertained for many hours.

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