If you find post-apocalyptic fiction a little upsetting nowadays, feel free to skip this post.
For those out there who dig “what happened after” stories, you’ve probably seen comparisons of COVID-19 to the novel, “The Stand,” where a weaponized flu strain wipes out most of humanity. There’s also a Dean Koontz novel being brought up called “The Eyes of Darkness,” but it’s for a “prediction” in the text that’s not really a prediction. Anyway, these and other tales of humans vs. viruses don’t really parallel the current pandemic, in my opinion, and there’s an often-overlooked gem that was canceled too soon but is still worth watching, I think: Jeremiah.
Here’s the opening from the first season. It hasn’t aged very well, but you can get a feel for the aesthetic:
The setup for their humans-b-gone is called “The Big Death,” where a virus that can be transmitted by touch kills everyone over the age of puberty, leaving a world where kids had to raise themselves in the aftermath now run things. The main character, Jeremiah, thinks his father might still be alive, and in searching for him, he finds a brewing conflict between a group of survivors at a place called “Thunder Mountain” and those who want to take over the world by force. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but my main arguments for seeing it are:
• J. Michael Straczynski wrote it, so the plot is thought out, well-structured, and… sadly had to be rushed at the end.
• If you liked Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings movies, Sean Astin appears as an intriguing character named “Mr. Smith.” He talks to God, by the way.
• The world as presented in this show is one of the reasons I couldn’t ever get into Jericho, because I liked this one so much better.
The main issue with the show is that the suits at Showtime canceled it after only two seasons. They told JMS this around the middle of season 2, so he had to cram two to three seasons worth of plot into the shows remaining. Things move very fast, and while you get a sense of where the show was headed, it would’ve been nice to see it in its entirety.
So if this is something you might want to take in, it’s streaming on iTunes and Amazon Prime. And in a kind of weird parallel to our current obsession with toilet paper, there’s a scene where the chance to use a working toilet after years of roughing it is given cinematography and music normally reserved for romantic reunions. You gotta love that, right?