Life After People

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Ratings: 8.07/10 from 197 users.

Storyline

Life After PeopleThe very notion is deliciously ghoulish: What happens to earth if - or when - people suddenly vanished? The History Channel presents a dramatic, fascinating what-if scenario, part science fiction and part true natural science. Welcome to Earth, Population: 0 is the catchy tagline, Life After People's 94 minutes are so gripping you nearly forget while you watch that you, yourself, will be gone too.

It turns out that earth can go along very nicely without us. The hardest part of the special is probably in the first 15 minutes, when pet owners confront what likely will happen to their dogs (thankfully, the show follows those dogs who break out of their houses, and the prognosis for them to survive as scavengers is good). As the fictional days and weeks tick by, the process of nature's reclaiming the planet becomes less grim and more fascinating.

The impact of the lack of people will be noticed right away, as most power grids shut down around the planet. The one holdout: Hoover Dam, whose hydro power lights up the American Southwest. Scientists say the dam can continue to operate on its own for months, maybe years, keeping the Vegas Strip alight. Only the eventual accumulation of quagga mussels, an invasive species, in the cooling pipes of the power plant--currently being cleaned by humans--will shut down the dam.

Elsewhere, critters and plants will have their run of Manhattan and every other previously "civilized" spot. Inventive photography shows bears clambering out of subway stations, and vines pulling down brownstones, then skyscrapers. It may not be a surprise when the Eiffel Tower and Space Needle meet their eventual fates, but the scenes nonetheless provide a pleasant sting of shock. Life After People is humbling, yet exhilarating.

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54 Comments / User Reviews

  1. jules

    Very educational and fascinating documentary. Thanks Vlatko!

  2. Mark

    Another great addition to this fantastic website.
    Totally enjoyed this one, thanks Vlatko, keep up the great work.

  3. Devin

    It forgot to mention how long our foot steps on the moon will last.

  4. S

    Very well done! I love the editing both visually and sound. It flowed nicely. I enjoyed watching it.

  5. Alfons v911t

    So evidence of our civilization would disappear in the blink of the geological eye? Yes and rightly so.
    Alfons v911t

  6. Leon

    Pretty showy and sensationalized. Lots of repeated cgi. The Golden Gate and other structures fall several times each. 6th-8th grade level.

  7. Dayton and Camilla

    Really, really awful narration. Reasons: the narrator's voice has that danger tone (like the one you hear in movie trailers) and he maintains it for every single sentence for the entire hour and a half. The music also has a danger quality which never ends. In addition, the captions have this electrified noise which accompanies their entrance and removal from the screen. Really irritating.

    HOWEVER, Ray Coppinger is amazing. I don't want to spoil too much about this documentary, but we may have flying cats in the future! Two thumbs way up.

    OVERALL: Interesting, but the experience was utterly destroyed by the narrator's voice.

  8. Jane

    Go Nature!

  9. Syly1212

    Humans will eventually disappear? Why? What will happen to humans? Where will we all go? I can imagine only a nuclear war would cause this.

  10. Stan

    This was pretty interesting, but I already had considered all of this stuff and more because I read "The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman. If you even remotely liked this doc, you should f'ing read this book. Many contemporary documentaries are trying to attract easily distracted people with 'intense' music and 'threatening' narrators and flashy graphics. This one is no exception, and I hope you will read "The World Without Us" which will spare you all that.

  11. luvhumans

    very entertaining! they even included domesticated dogs in this!

  12. Vacuum

    Very interesting movie, but I don't think it is possible for ALL people to be gone.
    A meteor in the future could be possibly prevented from hitting the Earth by humans.
    A nuclear war wouldn't kill ALL humans, only most (5 from 6,8 billions for example) - see the game Fallout. This is completely unrealistic situation but Hey! that's what sf movies are about !

  13. Francesca

    I watched this when it was on TV.
    Fascinating!
    Couldn't help but watch it again!!

  14. Luis Fernando

    World without us....Alan Weisman

  15. Misa Amane

    What about zombies and mutants? They could end the society D:

  16. Tabitha Ebert

    Please read all:
    You can spend ur life saying "what if this?", "what if that?"...Point is, it could probably all be avoided if humans stopped saying "what if?" and just took action. You can argue that: To take action you need to know what action to take; and that the only way to do so is to raise questions. But the problem with today...no...the problem with humans throughout history...is that we stop at "what if?". Notice I am saying we, I am taking just as much blame as the rest of the world. To be honest, people have no excuse...I don't have an excuse. Everything we see, everything we do, everything we learn has some type of topic on the environment. Even advertising is trying to get people's attention with "go green" products. All people see a trash can and see a piece of trash next it...we think..."we should pick that up." Sadly...most people than say, "The next person will get it."
    Now that i have ranted about that, let me answer your comment with a proper and on-topic reply. I am a 16 yearold highschool student; 17 in May. I lack in knowledge, and for that the little knowledge I do know is disregarded. But let me tell you why my information is valid along with my opinion of why you are incorrect.
    Years ago in middle school we had a class on this. at the end my teacher went around the room distributing a paper. She told us to write our answers on it and to not share it with anyone. She then gave us the question. Basically put she asked the class: Which would you prefer, humans to disapear and nature to come back...or to let the world continue as it is if it could. when the papers were turned in she read them aloud. 100% of the class (30 some students) all voted for the complete annihilation of the human race. We are the future generation, we are who will decide the future along with our children...taught by us. So to say that all humans cant and will not die out, it compeltely incorrect. either by choice, or by accidental effects, humans will cause their own demise. and to be honest, if a so called human can snuff their noses at warnings like this, calling them syfy, they lost their humanity. If a human can cause a nuclear war and still out live it's after-math, what would life be worth? I truely hope you read this whole thing and instead of replying in anger, think on it. Because if you can relate a playstation videogame to real life, you might need this as a sign to come back to earth and see how hellish and depleted it is becoming because of the greedy, humans who spend their life in "what if" wonderland along with all the other fairytale characters humans managed to manifest out ignorance.
    Sorry for the length and any error that may be in this. I will not offer excuse as to why errors are in it by saying "it's late" or "I never was taught proper writing skills"...not even the "I was typing fast". simple fact is, if out of my writing all you got were the errors in my style of typing...then any excuse would be a waste on the likes of you.

  17. fonbindelhofas

    based on the mathematics and understanding of universe there is no such thing like not posible, everything IS posible. some extreme thinking and calculations say that everything IS posible what human mind can think of and what we even CANT think of IS posible :)

  18. fonbindelhofas

    put 10 flys in an empty closed gass bottle and leave it for x years, after see it and wonder were all the flys go???

  19. phillipirving

    Hello Tabitha, Wow!! All i can say is Bravo,Bravo. well said. and your only 16,well17 now lol lol. please don't change your way of thinking for anybody or any reason! I can tell your a very intelligent person and that your conscious!! It gives me hope that someone at your age is thinking in such a way that will change things in the future. as you continue down your path of enlightenment and grow within it! you will be unstoppable and have the power to creat and manifest things at will. CONGRATULATION on having the power!!
    warhawk7100

  20. Guest

    Tabitha, I commend you for your message and writing style, age has nothing to do with that gift you were born with.

    And as @phillipirving: said, you will only continue to get better!

  21. Tabitha Ebert

    Thank you very much, but I wouldn't call what I have a gift. It doesn't take much to see the world as it is...people just get so caught up in what scientist predict or what their religions demand. They forget that the greatest power humans have is the power to see things in a way no other creature can and that alone will inspire changes for the better. Thank you for the complements, it is a dream of mine to be a writer some day...so it really makes me feel strongly in myself. A writer would be nothing without a reader.

  22. Annabella Blackfox Laws

    its left out the oil rigs :/ they'd go and pollute the planet's sea's from their decay.

  23. Angeleah Schaefer

    I really dislike how this series acts like nature is a "terrible and destructive force" and how great windstorms destroy "helpless cities," even when we're already gone. I also nearly laugh/cried at how they deliberately skirted around in the "Invaders" episode about how humans were keeping back the invasive species like we're heroes or something.. when it was us who brought most of them in the first place.

    In the "Water of Death" episode, I thought it was ridiculous how they called water a "destructive force" when it was only claiming back what we had forcefully taken and held on to for hundreds of years. How can they say it was the "water of death" when it brought back life to the places we'd left barren? Yes, the aquarium deaths were sad, but it wasn't the water that caused them.

    It was actually really arrogant to keep calling nature the one who was destructive and violent. The series is also inadequately named. It should be called "Human Civilizations Without People," because that is the main focus of these films. In sort of a twisted, human way, we still see ourselves and the cities we built as being "the world," even when they no longer matter. In one part of the "Invaders" episode, we think that other animals will think of us as the stuff of legends, as if we're gods.

    The series really focused way too much on what would happen to our buildings and such and not enough of how nature would take over once again and begin to clean the air, the seas and bury our poisons. The outcome would be beautiful. "Nature is our enemy," the series seems to say, "fear and fight it."

    If you really want a good book (as I think someone mentioned here before) which is fascinating, unbiased, meant for a more mature audience (yes, I remember seeing that tower fall, I don't need to see it 10 more times..), and gives you more than you'd think it would, definitely check out The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. Read it all the way through. You may be horrified, sorrowed, confused, saddened and numb, but you will be changed and you will begin (if you have not already) to be able to find your purpose. There is none of this HUMANS-ARE-THE PROTECTORS-OF-THE-EARTH-IT-IS-SUCH-A-TRAGEDY-THIS-ONE-SPECIES-IS-GONE-WHO-WILL-EVER-FILL-THEIR-NICHE??!-nonsense.

    I still have 4 more episodes to watch, but unless they are much much different from the previous ones, I doubt they'll be worth watching. All in all it was over-sensationalized with the fake-static and general bad-horror-movie sequences.

    Not really worth the watch, there are better documentaries and books about this out there.

    And yes, I agree with Tabitha Ebert, there are a lot of young people who are becoming more aware of the world which is being passed down to us (I'm 19) and it becomes clearer that something must be done.

    Nature is tough and resilient, but at what point will it no longer be able to erase our growing footprint?

  24. Anna Kravchenko

    Dear child, unfortunately, due to your age you are exaggerating almost everything you write about. There is two things you are forgetting, which are, to remain realistic and to look at the bigger picture.
    The latter would actually require you to think in terms of our whole universe, the sizes of which are ungraspable to us. Now in terms of the universe and the amount of time it exists, the existence of our planet (and I'm not even going as far as humankind) would contribute to a few mili seconds. The existence or demise of humankind will not change anything. The existence of Earth itself will not change anything. The existence of our solar system is irrelevant. The existence of our galaxy is also of no real value. Your words as inspiring and mighty as they might sound - are spoken from a point of view of a person with no life experience and not even the slightest idea of the life's value. You are saying the planet would be better off without us? Then start helping it. Your classmates were so unified on the issue that you could all go ahead and give an example. Kill yourselves. But, of course, you wouldn't. And you shouldn't. Doesn't this sound ridiculous? This is why you should be very careful what you say and keep in mind there are consequences to everything. Not to mention you are actually insulting people that do not share your beliefs, which is, if anything, extremely rude.

    Now by remaining realistic I mean exactly that. The human race will not annihilate itself. It will die off naturally as any other species on this planet that has been extinct and replaced by others for millions of years (and thats about 100.000 times longer than the 2011 years the catholic/christian influenced mankind is counting). In the last 100 years (not even a timeframe if you look back at the big picture) the progress has made major leaps. Whether you like it or not, you are ENJOYING the blessings of progress, be it the internet, your laptop, your toilet seat, the fact that you can attend school, the fact that food is available 24/7 and the water is clean and safe to drink, you don't have to die of flu and get other medical treatments that not only keep you alive but also rid you of unnecessary pain and suffering, which would eventually cause you to die at the age of 20 (and this was considered VERY OLD age a few tens of thousands of years ago). You say we are greedy. So are you. But you are worse. You still take things for granted as a lot of responsibilities have yet to be faced by you. It is YOU who don't value life as YOU are the one who suggests that the planet is better off without a major part of its life cycle.
    I suggest you keep dreaming. Dreaming is good as it makes you go for it and do what you believe in. However, be realistic, child. And don't watch TV or read dubious books. Think for yourself. The world is complicated, but it is also balanced. Where there is evil, there is the same amount of good happening elsewhere. Make the good happen yourself, don't expect the world to be fair and just, it owes you nothing. Only YOU owe yourself a good life, for what its worth.

  25. Scarlet Kinsey

    Anna Kravchenko
    Your 'logical conclusion' to the problems at hand are stupid 'Earth will be better off without us? Then kill yourself" Yes, that is ridiculous, because that is not the answer, the answer is to change, educate others that you don't need to use electricity quite so stupidly often, or buy products you know involve abuse of animals, I don't, when you take from the environment you should put it back, you should also not breed, for there are plenty of parentless children that also take from the environment, why add one more when those already existing children are more worthy of your parenthood for simply already existing in the first place? Beings that may exist in the future have no rights up until the point they exist.
    Anyone that wants children should adopt, after all is it just not wrong to say you want a child but then say "But that one's not good enough for me"?

    Besides, we are not saying progress is wrong, progress will eventually help us to live causing as little harm as possible.

  26. Richard Lennox

    "we should not breed". How stupid. If we all adopt we will soon have to "breed". So, my question is, who gets the privilege of breeding and who has to adopt? The best genetics? The wealthiest? random names out of a hat?

    Given the choice that we have now, obviously most choose to make their own. Take this choice away, which you would have to in order to make this happen. Everyone adopting, will resent it, and everyone breeding won't want to give up their child.

    Now, my last point is on your "after all is it just not wrong to say you want a child but then say "But that one's not good enough for me"

    No, that is not wrong. The couple who have died or abandoned the child should have not conceived it in the first place, its irresponsible and cruel.

    children are a product of love, by your wordings and sentiments i feel you lacked love as a child, or you would realise the bond, love and connection to your OWN child is a force like no other, adopting just isn't the same. However, those that do may be under the illusion they feel the same, because often they adopt because they can't have their own.

  27. wheelnut53

    I'm in amazement at how fast the internet philosophers can find a place to post . I like this video BTW

  28. Atom Vayalinkal

    epidemic?

  29. Atom Vayalinkal

    craters from 4 billion years ago are preserved perfectly, so my guess is at least that long.

  30. Rich Stine

    "Silenced by Nature's Onslaught" is a visual that is remarkably atypically us-centric. Humanity cannot quell the yens of our desire for perfection and pure, unbiased hypotheses. Perhaps it is not within our intrinsic natures as homo sapiens, to be able to remove ourselves solely by our own volition, from hypothetical and real scenarios.
    The echoes of human existence reverberate our innate need for godlike complexities and curious drive to become super-heroic saviors.
    Yet each known or discovered civilization of our past seems to make one thing clear: the world needs saving, if from nothing but ourselves.

  31. Angela Finbow

    Sorry, but if there were no humans left to keep all the nuclear reactors in cold shut down, the Earth would quickly become one massive nuclear explosion in space. Or is the human race going to go and dump all this stuff on Saturn before it extincts itself?

  32. Idris Ellis

    This makes the bizarre assumption that we simply disappear. Methinks it a long term process, well after Electricity has ceased to be. Unless one hods to that nonsensical heresy of rapture. I have long ago noticed how quickly nature takes over any abandoned building or black of land "inundated & flooded with water" pleonasm

  33. damone10987

    Well, for one the earth isn't even 4 billion years old. It's probably more like 2,000+ years old (Bible Time) which I believe is 100% TRUE

  34. Mike

    I agree, all the nuclear plants would end up like Fukishima within a month. Within a year lethal radiation would cover most of the earth.

  35. disqust2013

    so this film misses, overlooks the human nuclear footprint. our radioactive wastes will impact life for a long long time, even a half million years. Fukushima opened our eyes. Within a week the unmaintained reactors even the failsafe ones would leak, melt, explode and burn...

  36. Kees Ijpelaar

    thorium reactors can provide energie, and burn our nucleair waste savely make it short living, it stays dangereus yes but life is very short in place, talking about 20-100 years after burn it and not thousants of years, thorium can never meld down, it is salt based with a 100 procent meldown proof and only short living waste, this we can easely cope, thorium melddown protection is simple an frozen pipe who will if there is alarm will drain the salt solution away stopping the reaction.

    Yes I now oil barons still stop beautifull inventions.

  37. WAESUNO

    not rediculous , humans are pretty much the scum of the world , believing we are the centre point of this earth and it wouldnt function without us.which to a point is true "Our world" wouldnt function without us as we have built it on that common beleif ,humans dont have any specific prey other than sicknesses we have created ourselves (so in a scence we are killing ourselves,bonza!)building a power plant on land that could be used to regenerate rainforest/bush to allow all species (not just human) to feed live and prosper ,would, i beleive create harmony , although your new generation IPhone would be f*cked we would have to learn to ACTUALLY live for ourselves , within the guidlines of nature , ide gladly neck up if it ment resttoration of the world could take place , and only if your arrogant a** was with me , there you go my two cents ...

  38. wheelnut53

    The Earth will be ok its you dumbasses that are going to die

  39. wheelnut53

    I've watched this documentary more times than any other , I love it

  40. Garret Glenn Ellis

    I dont consider this a documentary. It's interesting but not a documentary. It's all about a "what if" situation with scientists talking about what they think that they're pretty sure would happen.

  41. Guillermo Valverde

    Did you not watch the documentary? They addressed this early on. The nuclear power plants have in built shut down mechanisms. If there is no demand for electricity they shut down without need of human intervention. They also visit the Chernobyl area and show how 20 later nature is taking it all back. Apparently absence of humans outweighs the effects of radioactivity.

  42. Guillermo Valverde

    Not so bizarre. Some kind of super plague could accomplish this within a few weeks. Leaving all other fauna unharmed.

  43. Tommy Corn

    It's likely that I'll look like a fool, but I find a glaring flaw in this. I understand that this isn't about how humans disappeared, but that must be taken into account when considering what happens to life after people. With the fact that humans are widely dispersed across the globe, with some in very remote areas, I find it unlikely that disease would be the cause of our demise. Therefore, it's much more probable that it would be due to some global catastrophe such as an asteroid or the eruption of a super volcano, which could be devastating to other beings on the planet ranging from plant to animal life.

  44. Maria Cuprian

    It's entertaining and I love it!
    It's all presumptions and based on what we've learned so far. Some facts are a little bit exaggerated but it's still a very good documentary.

  45. gnarls

    That's not the point! Hypothetically, this is about IF we all disappeared. Poof.....we're not in the picture.

  46. Sven Breugelmans

    just an excuse for CGI-artists to recreate famous buildings...and then destroy them...wow...*yawn*...imagine putting your brain and computing power at work to try and fix real world problems...looks like michael bay & co took over 'history' channel

  47. Richard Neva

    It cannot happen soon enough. I am ready are you?

  48. Thom Prentice

    Have you ever heard of Global Warming?

  49. Dave

    right on, waesuno!

  50. Boris_Badenoff

    2000 years old.. lol right..

  51. Boris_Badenoff

    It's a TV show that expresses some peoples what if scenarios.. It's for entertainment purposes..
    Some here need to get over themselves..

    jmo.

  52. JackJoe

    Life After video deletion.

  53. Michelle LeVeaux

    Or as some believe, part of the population will literally disappear like "a thief in the night", during the biblical rapture..................... eventually Armageddon will begin to happen, and the rest is history!

  54. Michelle LeVeaux

    Not to get all biblical on y'all but, as prophesied, it will all end. People first, then................ I'm not looking for responses from haters and debaters please. I believe what I do for a lifetime of reasons. Just throwing it out there as sort of a devil's advocate (so to speak)!

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