Plague, nuclear holocaust, and alien invasions! Whatever end-of-the-world / post-apocalyptic theme you can think of is on TV right now. But in the fray of TV shows for preppers, a lot of good shows have come and gone. If you feel like all of the best shows are canceled prematurely, no one shares your pain like we do. In this list, we want to focus on 11 survival TV shows (past and present) that we think are worth checking out.
 
 
11 Survival TV Shows Worth Watching

1. Falling Skies (2011)

11 Survival TV Shows Worth WatchingIn a world where civilization has been incapacitated by alien attack, we follow the story of a group of rag-tag survivors in the Boston area. In this post-apocalyptic world, there are no more electronics, military’s or major cities left, leaving only a handful of the world’s previous population to fight off the ongoing invasion. The odds are steep and survival is difficult when every day is is spent protecting and caring for the people, while also waging an insurgency campaign against an occupying alien force.
 

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2.Jericho (2006)

11 Survival TV Shows Worth WatchingThis apocalyptic drama which aired back in 2006, was based on the story of a group of people in a little town in Kansas called Jericho as they struggle to survive the affects of nuclear fallout in several major cities around the U.S. The interesting twist to this show is that there is an underlying tone suggesting the government might have actually been complicit in the explosions. The town’s citizens come together to try to restore resources such as power and water and war with neighboring towns over debatable local resources. The writers did a great job with the story line and keep you hooked with the strength and vulnerability of each character. They also manage to sprinkle in some humor for good measure – not to mention the amazing soundtrack.

Jericho was suddenly canceled after the first season and was met with a barrage of complaints to CBS from the shows loyal fans. After launching a grassroots internet mega-campaign to revive the show CBS agreed to bring it back for one more season and at least wrap up some of the unanswered questions.

Click to buy: Jericho – The Complete Series11 Survival TV Shows Worth Watching

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3. Survivors (2009)

11 Survival TV Shows Worth WatchingSurvivors is a British post-apocalyptic fiction drama that follows a similar premise as a lot of the other survival shows; the pandemic wipes out most of the population, society breaks down, people try to figure it all out. But what I really liked about this one is that they kind of make hero’s out of normal, everyday people who didn’t really even know they had it in them until it really came down to it. They were just normal people until things got crazy and forced them to rise to the occasion, which is what I think we’re going to see a lot of in the E.O.T.W.

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4. The Colony (2009)

11 Survival TV Shows Worth WatchingThe Colony is a reality show on the Discovery Channel that originally aired in 2010. The show is basically a controlled experiment where a group individuals are placed in an isolated urban setting, where a hypothetical global catastrophe has occurred and the group has to try to rebuild with whatever they can find. They have basically an entire city to themselves and they can take over any property or resources they wish, but there are hired actors who act as thugs and looters to threaten and terrorize the members of the group to test their boundaries.

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5. Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment

11 Survival TV Shows Worth WatchingThis is another Discovery Channel reality show where they pluck a group of city dwelling, urban professionals right out of their comfort zone and drop them by helicopter into the Alaskan outback smack-dab in the middle of winter. There are given limited supplies, a carry pack and a map to help them find their way to shelters along their route. If, at any time they sissy out and want to go home, all the have to do is hit their emergency GPS signal and a rescue helicopter will come get them out of there. I have to admit this show has taught me some really unique survival skills that you might not see anywhere else like how to hunt for and prepare some rather unusual game like squirrels and porcupines. The show has just premiered for a third season which will take place in Venezeula. It should be interesting to see how the cast members fare in their new environment this time around.

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6. Extreme Survival

11 Survival TV Shows Worth WatchingWhile it only lasted 3 seasons, Extreme Survival with Ray Mears was an excellent wilderness survival show. Ray traveled to a diverse set countries all around the world, immersing himself in the culture and native survival techniques. Ray travels through the US, Canada, Italy, Brazil, India, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. In addition to focusing on the native techniques, Ray also shares inspiring and sometimes horrifying survival stories that occurred in each area. There are dozens of shows and movies that Ray took part in, but this one should not be missed.

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7. Man vs Wild

11 Survival TV Shows Worth WatchingWhat makes Bear Grylls show so unique is the fact that he is willing to demonstrate some of the more strenuous or difficult survival techniques that most others would shy away from. He isn’t afraid to get down to the more nitty gritty aspects of survival that most of us would rather not have to think about like drinking your own urine to prevent dehydration or crossing a freezing cold river in the middle of winter. While it may seem a little over the top at times, I can’t help but think that there might be some point in our lives when we have to make a choice to do something disgusting or even painful in order to stay alive. You can’t help but respect the man for that.

Man vs. Wild – Season 1 (6 DVD set)11 Survival TV Shows Worth Watching

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8. Les Stroud “Survivor Man”

11 Survival TV Shows Worth Watching

Les Stroud brings a humble quality to the realm of survival TV shows in Survivorman. Without any support staff or even a camera crew, he shows what it really takes to survive in the wilderness by yourself and with less than ideal supplies. From desert and swamp to the arctic mountains, Les has to survive for seven days, all on his own. But the difficult terrain doesn’t bring spirits down, Les keeps a positive and comedic attitude throughout each situation, making it feel more like a camping trip than a survival experience. You’ll come away from every episode with ancient survival techniques passed down from the natives of each area.

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9. Surviving Disaster (2009)

11 Survival TV Shows Worth WatchingWhat will you do when disaster strikes? Spike TV’s new original series Surviving Disaster, led by Navy SEAL Cade Courtley, vividly takes viewers through catastrophic scenarios and arms them with the knowledge needed to survive the unthinkable. Courtley tackles worst-case scenarios and equips viewers with the practical information needed to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Whether the threat is natural or man-made or on a national or personal level, Courtley speaks directly to the viewers and guides them through a comprehensive, step-by-step process to not only survive the big picture disaster, but endure the many dangerous obstacles that may occur within each catastrophic event. While leading viewers out of danger, Courtley not only provides helpful tips and hands-on instruction, but swiftly points out common misconceptions and fatal mistakes. Unlike any other series, Surviving Disaster may actually save lives by providing actions that anyone can perform.

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10. Jeremiah (2002)

11 Survival TV Shows Worth WatchingThis show is set in a post-apocalyptic future where all of the adult population was wiped out by a pandemic, leaving only kids to rule the world. We follow the main character “Jeremiah” played by Luke Perry as he tries to find out the real goal behind the pandemic and who is at fault. He partners up with a couple more hard core survivalists as they commandeer resources, discover hidden government bunkers and try to rebuild a broken nation.

The series ran from 2002 to 2004 on Showtime, but production stopped in 2003 when creative differences among the production companies couldn’t be resolved. The show wrapped up it’s second and final season in 2004 after a long hiatus off the air and resolved most of the plot threads from the first season.

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11. Dual Survival (2010)

11 Survival TV Shows Worth Watching

Wilderness survival takes on a new twist in Dual Survival when naturalist Cody Lundin and military-trained Dave Canterbury tackle tough terrain as a team. Each expert has experience in different types of survival situations, which exposes that classic question; how would a survival expert who’s never attempted this fair? It’s almost like seeing how you might respond in that extreme situation, which brings humanity to the show. You will also get to see how polar opposites might approach the same problem and be able to overcome it in completely different, yet successful, ways.

 

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Additional Resources

Top 10 Survival Movies

120 Useful Books for Your Survival Library

Cody Lundin Interview – When All Hell Breaks Loose

Collapse Documentary (2010)

Modern Marvels: Surveillance Equipment

Survivalism In Fiction

 

About The Author

Survival Spot is dedicated to helping everyone learn to be prepared. No matter what happens you can be ready.

22 Responses

  1. Dustin

    Man Woman Wild. EXCELLENT wilderness survival show. Currently enjoying a second season right now on Discovery Channel.

    Apocalypse Man is a good show, about on par with Man vs Wild, but specifically tailored to suburban/urban survival.

    Doomsday Preppers is a decent show illustrating different approaches as well as feedback regarding the preparedness level from an independent evaluation source cited to be a subject matter expert.

    After Armageddon is a great show depicting what could play out after a pandemic – the vignettes are broken up by subject matter expert's advice/caution.

    Reply
  2. Gwen

    Glad you put Jericho on the list! The Jericho story continues in the season 3 graphic novel, now available from Amazon. The story starts at the end of season 2 with Jake and Hawkins in Texas with the bomb. We get to meet a new Green family member, learn the backstory of John Smith and watch as the fractured US grows closer to Civil War!

    Reply
  3. A Texan

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! My wife has been almost completely apathetic about preps, and has allowed me (under some protest) to store a modest amount of food and water and to buy some basic equipment.

    Now, however, because of this article I started watching Jericho with her last night on Netflix. I haven't mentioned a word about preps, I'm just letting her take it in. She's officially hooked after 2 episodes…and said that she'd be fine watching the other 27 episodes. I am sure that before long she'll at least unconsciously become more prep-oriented and less resistant to the idea of storing extra food, etc. I've been banging my head against the wall trying to find a way to get her to not only consider prepping more, but actually DOING more (because intentions aren't worth a thing when the balloon goes up). Again, THANK YOU!

    Reply
    • Survivalspot

      Glad to hear that your wife is opening up to the idea of prepping! I can only imagine how challenging it must be to have a partner who isn't on board with you in that regard. It takes up such a huge amount of your time (and resources) that it's almost impossible to get fully prepared without their support. Survival shows and movies seem to be a great starting point for those who have a harder time wrapping their head around the idea..
      Thanks for the positive feedback and best of luck to you and your wife in your future preps!

      Reply
    • mom of five

      Give her the book one second after that will change her mind.

      Reply
  4. Kay

    I saw this post and decided to try the show Jericho. I have to tell you, this is one of the best TV shows I have ever watched. I definitely recommend it! Survirors was good too once you got into it. The first episode wasn't great, but after that I liked it.

    Reply
  5. JS1985

    I cant find some of these shows like disaster survival and extreme survival ive looked on netflix and some of the other movie sites and tv show sites and nothing

    Reply
  6. jon

    Hey! I just noticed another message in another blog that seemed like this. How have you learnt all this stuff? That’s one cool post.

    Reply
  7. Michael Ruiz

    I love watching survival movies and TV shows. I remembered that my most survival movie when I was a kid is Cast Away by Tom Hanks. In fact until now it is still my favorite. I watched several times already. I was really amazed on he survived along in an island without survival equipment.

    Reply
  8. will

    no walking dead??? no doomsday preppers? its like you just blew off the best ones

    Reply
    • Survivalspot

      Hey Will, we need to update this post due to new shows coming out. The walking dead is one of our favorite shows here at Survival Spot. Thanks for the feedback!

      Reply
  9. tim

    I would like preppers more if nat geo would take it more seriously. the walking dead is entertaining at best. I like zombie movies but it is starting to get old. I am looking forward to revolution in the fall. I really wish hollywood would make a survival movie showing how average people survive disasters instead of sensationalizing every disaster that comes about. why not help save lives for a change.

    Reply
  10. neglesvamp

    Hey, Nice list. I'll have a look at the shows that i did not see yet.
    I'm a huge fan of survivorman. It's proberly because he is so down to earth. And the stuff he does it the stuff your should do if you get lost. And the fact that he does not have a camera man and a sound guy + random assistens hanging around all the time, just makes it more real and fun to watch.

    Reply
  11. Tony

    Thanks for the list, not even seen most of them but will certainly be checking them out. I can recommend the Ray Mears extreme survival series, I like how he talks with indigenous people & picks up tips from them for the particular areas he's in, and the survival stories he recounts from the areas he's visiting are equal parts interesting and inspiring. I highly recommend his Ray Mears Northern wilderness series too. Bear Grylls does some extreme things in his series, true. But he rarely shows or explains techniques in sufficient detail & it was revealed in the press that some stuff was fabricated, also that while he was 'supposed' to be spending the night out in the wilderness area and relying on his skills, he would actually be whisked away to spend the night in a nice comfy hotel. More show and less substance with Grylls.

    Another couple of interesting programs were made with former SAS special forces soldier Chris Ryan. Terror alert could you survive…….covers things like terrorist attack, mass blackouts, plane hijacking etc. And Hunting Chris Ryan is also worth watching. The premise is that he's dropped into different environment's with minimal equipment, he's then pursued by a hunter force made up mainly of former US and UK soldiers & has to reach a rendezvous point in order to escape. Entertaining & some interesting tips can be picked up along the way.

    Thanks again for the list, much appreciated.

    Reply
  12. linda

    New TV series show called "Revolution" -Monday nights Pacific time 10 pm, great show that deals with entire blackout and every move and decision you make is about survival.

    Reply
  13. pj22

    Revolution, new show about about U.S. power outage and the fallout, survivorship and warring… entertaining at best. Mostly just about the people's lives & stories. Not incorporating tips about how to survive, make water potable, etc. Just another show. It does make you think about what to do in event of no power, not counting on it for everything, being prepared, but it is not a teaching show

    Reply
  14. Jules

    Hey, does anyone know of a end-of-the-world type TV series in about 2010 (I think) I remember a scene where a black woman interrogates and executes a man, and another scene in a warehouse stocked full of food where a guy gets shot in the leg (?) and the girl he's with nicks off instead of helping him… any ideas?

    Reply
  15. Chris

    New survival show on the CBC….. Being canadian, because most of us know this stuff already

    Reply
  16. Adrian

    lol! In Dual Survival, I just like how there's a down to Earth person who's in touch with mother nature & respecting her laws & there's this hearty cunt who's a complete opposite of him who doesn't give a fuck about what he thinks & they both have to survive together.

    Reply

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