You knew it was coming. With the advent of the apocalyptic year of 2012, the Mayan doomsday prophecy, all the Nostradamus stuff, and the always present but subtextual millenialist slash Armageddonist carryover from the turn of the century, you just knew that someone would eventually arrive here. And where is here? Here is that area in the reality show universe where "Hoarders" meets "Top Shot" with a little end of the world theory thrown in to make things interesting. Here is "Doomsday Preppers."
The National Geographic Channel has filmed a series of mini-documentaries about people preparing for the end of civilization, regardless if the end comes via nuclear holocaust, pandemic, technological collapse, or even having to live through the Christian-inspired time of tribulations. Although most would call them survivalists, the term has taken on a somewhat derogatory connotation over the years, and "preppers" is what those that choose to live a safeguarding lifestyle prefer to be called. And gearing up for the collapse is what they do.
And these people don't just sit around talking about the end of world as we know it, they are involved in the stockpiling and readying of materials to be used when -- not if -- the time comes when the rest of humanity has gone the way of "Mad Max." As the NGC website section for "Doomsday Preppers" displays, they actively prepare.
Megan Hurwitt, a "metropolitan party girl" that has a gun collection, a seed bank, and an evacuation plan to get out of Houston, Texas, when the oil crisis hits.
Dennis Evers, an amusement park train whistle manufacturer and grandfather, has prepared his entire family for the coming "global chaos caused by hyperinflation" and economic collapse.
Dennis McClung, a Phoenix suburbanite with a swimming pool full of tilapia, who prepares alongside his family for a coronal mass ejection (a solar flare) that will wipe out the planet's electrical grids and cause massive sociological upheaval.
Tim Ralston, featured in depth on ABC's "Nightline" the night before the premiere, has his family getting ready for the Apocalypse (the religious one), complete with AK-47 training for his sons.
He told "Nightline": "I have a lot of other religious friends that say, 'I don't want to prepare, I'll just go to heaven.' And I say, 'Well, do you know what it's like to starve to death?' It's not a pleasant thing. God put you on this Earth for certain things, and for me it's to make sure my family lives and I can help other people."
Ralston has stockpiled food to last at least a decade and keeps a towable trailer packed at all times and ready to roll from his Scottsdale, Arizona, garage as soon as the end times begin.
Preppers apparently come in every gender, shape, size, religious orientation, and doomsday scenario. The series will highlight preppers getting ready for city-flattening earthquakes, a climate altering polar shift, and even an EMP strike that will completely knock out America's transportation system.
The show also features a resident survival expert who will gauge the various preparatory methods of the featured preppers and score them on their chances for survival if worse actually does come to worst.
"Doomsday Preppers" marks its world premiere at 9:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 7, on the National Geographic Channel.