End of the world as we know it
June 20, 2013 6:49 PM   Subscribe

This is macabre, I know. However, I really enjoy documentaries on past or future disasters: Rogue waves, wild fires, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, pyroclastic flows, etc. I often wake up at 2am, and these past/future documentaries get me calm and able to sleep again. What are your recommendations on this subject? There are so many internet sources on this material, and I've seen a lot, but please give me your comprehensive picks!
posted by Kronur to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
I actually really enjoyed the BBC's documentary Pompeii: The Last Day. (Wikipedia.) It's a dramatized documentary with narration, following various characters during the buildup to the final end of Pompeii, and then showing some of the real-world archaeological discoveries that the recreations were based on (where certain remains were found, for instance). Very end-of-the-world.
posted by theatro at 7:09 PM on June 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

This book (The World Without Us) is not a documentary, but it's incredible reading. It starts with the assumption that all humans just disappeared (think rapture, not plague, so there aren't bodies decaying all over the place) and looks at how the world fares from a variety of perspectives: what happens in NYC? at a nuclear plant? at the petroleum-industrial complex on the Gulf coast? what happens to wildlife?

It starts off right at the moment humanity disappears, and continues well into the future. It's alarming, beautiful, dramatic, truly incredible. I highly recommend it.
posted by Capri at 7:12 PM on June 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

Search Youtube for "Hurricane Katrina" and you'll find lots of what you're looking for. Very scary storm surge footage, and a few docus to boot.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:28 PM on June 20, 2013

Life After People sounds like it's a TV version of Capri's answer.
posted by Lucinda at 7:32 PM on June 20, 2013

I haven't seen it (I lived in New Orleans during Katrina and I couldn't even watch the first ep of Treme) but I hear Spike Lee's documentary is great.
posted by radioamy at 7:39 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

In the Path of a Killer Volcano is one of my favorites from volcanology class. NOVA has a number of these types of films, with a good amount of detail and science. (I really like this kind of documentary as well.)
posted by Gneisskate at 7:48 PM on June 20, 2013

Can it be a fake documentary? If so, then you'll love "Special Bulletin," which freaked out a lot of people (a la "War of the Worlds") when it aired because they missed the disclaimer at the beginning that they were watching a movie, not a news report.
posted by jbickers at 8:38 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

In our household we call this 'Disaster Porn'.
posted by matty at 9:05 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding the NOVA recommendation. I particularly liked the episode about the crash of Air France 447.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 10:38 PM on June 20, 2013

Serial Killer Earth! It's a History Channel series, *total* disaster porn, but should be right up your alley. Amazon Instant Video has individual episodes or all of season 1 available at a fairly reasonable price.
posted by Kat Allison at 6:50 AM on June 21, 2013

The series Armageddon on the History Channel is some good disaster porn. Mega-Disasters is another good series. Seconding the mention of Special Bulletin upthread.
posted by Rob Rockets at 12:00 PM on June 21, 2013

Permuted Press publishes apocalit (I think) exclusively.
posted by Edna Million at 11:30 PM on June 21, 2013

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