The end of all things has always intrigued me. I have had eyes for the apocalypse as far back as I can remember. The revelation that the world could be destroyed had an incredible effect on me as a boy.
A scruffy kid in the oil refining, drug-infested town of Marcus Hook, the apocalypse was a break from the madness. It was also a reminder of how small my problems were.
“What if this little town just got pulverized by a comet?” I would wonder.
Running from bullies and listening to Mom and Dad fighting late at night produced true anxiety and one of the best ways I could combat that was to induce a fictional anxiety through studying things like an asteroid impact, Skynet, and other doomsday related theories and entertainment.
As a grown man, like you, I have begun forging a more self-reliant and independent lifestyle. My attraction to doomsday has somehow drifted me into a career driven by the desire to thwart it.
This list of movies, shows and documentaries all have things to do with self-sufficiency, collapse, and survival. Some of the movies on this list will make perfect sense and others might not.
Despite what popular media outlets like Business Insider would have you believe, preppers and survivalists are interested in much more than beans, bullets, bandages, and zombies.
The Caveat for Survival Netflix Shows
Much of these recommendations are fiction. While we do have some selections in the documentaries section, most of the content is written for entertainment purposes.
You have to understand that these are not survival courses. These are movies made to entertain those who take the time to watch them.
The magic of Hollywood will show guns that never run out of ammo, fires that burn for hours or overnight, massive survival groups that only eat a few cans of food a day, much of that cannot be trusted.
While we can all sit back and enjoy a night of survival entertainment just understand the caveat.
Personally, I like to keep a notepad close by not only to note the funny things in these shows and movies but also to address the little twangs that come up in my head while I watch these survival simulations. Revelations abound when you watch shows like these.
In the movie, How It Ends, Forest Whittaker’s character has $2000 in his bugout bag! He grabs the cash from a safe then its placed in his bag to bugout.
We all talk about carrying cash but I am not sure how many people consider slinging 2k into a bugout bag. The cash is also a very important part of maneuvering the frantic landscape in the film.
Netflix TV Shows
This is a very interesting show that you might not consider for this list. However, the tiny house is a serious opportunity for the average prepper or survivalist.
People my age grew up with two goals.
- College Degree
- Nice House
We didn’t realize that meant shackling our wrists and legs for 30 years. The debt that comes from those two undertakings, for the average person, is debilitating.
Tiny House Nation follows people who are making the transition or those who are building their first tiny home. You meet couples and families who have taken this on with serious optimism.
Tiny House Nation has that HGTV vibe but it opens your eyes up to things like layout and new technology that makes tiny house living so appealing. Not to mention the idea that you don’t carry a mortgage.
The tiny house is appealing for many reasons. This show is completely scripted but it’s still a good time.
Probably, the greatest prepper tv show of all time. Jericho was an astounding display of the many threats that we all read about on blogs and in books. Not until Jericho did we see something like an EMP on television.
The characters are fun and the scenarios are about as prepper as they come. You also get to meet Lennie James as Robert Hawkins and he commands the attention of the audience.
From the collapse to the installation of the new Cheyenne government Jericho is a great time for preppers and survivalists.
Beasts of No Nation
Commandant is the charismatic rebel leader, played by Idris Elba, in this fictional West African story of civil war and collapse.
A young boy named Agu was living a simple life with his mother, father, siblings, and grandmother until the war came to his town. In a flash, his father basically initiates a bugout to get away from the military that is moving in.
Agu’s father and brother are killed during the opening episodes. When Agu flees he finds himself in the presence of Commandant and his life changes radically. He becomes a child with an AK-47 and a new family.
For those who wonder what civil war and WROL might look like, this West African story is a bleak reminder of just how bad things can get.
I never liked the exaggerated and radicalized preppers of the Doomsday Preppers show. It made a mockery of the prepping movement and disaster preparedness on a whole.
However, there is no show out there that gives you in-depth breakdowns of how people are prepping, laying out bunkers and even growing and storing food. You get the full picture and some strange philosophy to mull over.
Doomsday Preppers is also a part of prepping history. It is really where the nation got its first look at preppers and the idea behind prepping.
My big secret is that, while I was turned off by the exploitation, I certainly watched each week to see if there were any pointers I could pick up. Take it for what it’s worth. Doomsday Preppers is entertainment but there are some nuggets in there you might enjoy.
A romantic and enjoyable backpack adventure sees one couple setting up camp in the remote wilderness. Their fun in the wild is interrupted when they run into a creepy guy who is hiking solo.
The whole situation leaves the couple on edge but to make matters worse they wind up lost and an old grumpy grizzly is following them.
There is a lot of artistic licenses taken in this one but it is a good time nonetheless. The young couple bickers on the trip and it adds a level of realness to the situation. It’s not an award winner but it’s worth a watch.
How It Ends
This was Netflix’s highly marketed, big-budget SHTF film. It didn’t disappoint me. The beginning prays on one of your biggest fears which is calamity over a long distance.
The main characters, Will and Samantha, are separated when a violent event rocks the location where Samantha is staying. Mid call they are disconnected. Will must approach Sam’s father, who is pretty standoffish, to help him go find her.
This movie does a great job confronting many of the issues that will come to pass in an SHTF situation. It also follows the transformation of Will as he starts to understand the increased threat not just from these events but from the people around him.
She survives alone. She hunts and fishes and cares for her shelter. Slowly, the story of how she came to be here all alone begins to unravel. It’s a story so heart-wrenching that you can hardly bear it.
Lone survival from a woman’s perspective, Here Alone, is an interesting take. It’s also the only story about the “infected” on this list. I need a truly compelling storyline in order for me to sit through zombies.
The strong lead actress carries the film and its fun to watch as the inevitable comes her way!
A single father and his two daughters set out to their cabin in the woods following the after effects of an EMP. It’s essentially a bugout but never called that in the movie.
After Dad dies the two girls are left to survive on their own. They face the forces of starvation and even do some hunting. However, trouble shows up in the form of humanity.
It’s rare that you get a sister’s take on SHTF and this movie offers up just that. Ellen Page takes the lead as Nell and faces some incredible challenges in the wake of this new world.
Take Your Pills
There was a time when survival and prepping were just about hitting the woods and running away from immediate danger. Self-reliance has become a lifestyle. It’s much more than just prepping.
That lifestyle often includes things like a quality diet of homegrown foods and natural remedies. We are always wary of medications nad this documentary will make you all the more nervous.
Take Your Pills is a documentary about the pharmaceutical companies that rule and market to those who are hungry for a cure.
When you exist on the fringes its nice to sit back and watch some people who agree with your point of view from time to time.
These little protein bites are taboo in western culture but not all over the world. American’s don’t eat bugs. However, that could be changing. Cricket protein is a very interesting product on the market.
Bugs is a documentary that follows a few chefs as they journey into the world of bug-eating and mull over the validity of whether or not this could become a staple or if it’s just a fad that should stay in the disparate parts of the world.
Understanding the nutritional benefits of eating certain bugs could be very useful in a survival situation. Breeding crickets is very easy, mealworms, too!
Some of you will get it and others won’t. At least give it a look!
There is a lot of confusion and aggression when it comes to the condition of our planet. What is climate change and what will it mean for our future? Who is responsible? What can we do about it?
No matter where you fall on the spectrum of man-made climate change, you cannot deny the plastic waste that is literally trashing our oceans. A Plastic Ocean really hammers home the damage that plastics have done to our environment.
As preppers, we would be silly not to appreciate what is happening to our air, water, and places. It is a direct threat to our well being and something we should all prepare for.
Debt is the silent assassin of preparedness.
When you spend thousands of dollars a month paying down debt that is money that cannot go towards prepping and survival. Just imagine what you could do with an extra $500 a month exclusively for prepping!
Much of the debt we accrue is based on the idea that we need things to make us happy.
The minimalism movement is the idea that we can survive with much less. Its a push against the debt filled binges of modern society. Minimalism is a great look at the challenges and sacrifices that go along with it.
Survival shows on Netflix are just a hair more than entertainment. It would be foolish to call them study guides. There is so much Hollywood injected into these movies that you cannot really depend on the outcomes.
Instead, enjoy survival and prepper entertainment for what it is. Its entertainment, at the end of the day. If you are built into a lifestyle of self-reliance and independence than you deserve a break.
All is balance in this life. Entertainment is part of that balance. If you wanna kick back and watch a little Netflix at least you can use this list to watch some survival shows that really hit home.