If you’re already experiencing The Last of Us withdrawals after the finale, let SCREAMBOX fill the post-apocalyptic void in your life with The Island.
Known internationally as Sløborn, the series combines elements of disaster thriller, coming-of-age drama, dystopian sci-fi, and survival horror. The German-Danish co-production was created by filmmaker Christian Alvart, who directed the genre films Pandorum, Case 39, and Antibodies before creating Netflix’s Dogs of Berlin.
It’s never been easy to be a teenager, but it’s particularly difficult for Gen Z, who are doomed to reckon with fears of the future — or lack thereof. As 15-year-old Evelin Kern (Emily Kusche) puts it in The Island‘s opening voice over, “Ever since I can remember, the world has been ending. Species extinction, deforestation, economic crises, environmental pollution, terrorism, and climate change. Happy days. Somewhere there is always the next crisis, the next war, and mankind has to fight to avert the apocalypse. You get used to it.”
Evelin’s troubles extend beyond conventional teen drama and existential dread. Shortly after discovering that she’s pregnant from a secret relationship and learning that her parents are separating, a deadly, airborne virus breaks out in her remote island hometown of Sloborn.
One might mistake The Island for being inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic, but production on the first season wrapped shortly before the world shut down. It’s eerily prescient, predicting how the public would largely ignore the threat until it’s too late, paving the way for conspiracy theories and political propaganda.
Akin to The Walking Dead sans zombies, The Island is a character-driven slow-burn. Although tension simmers just below the surface from the start, the outbreak doesn’t really take hold until halfway through the first season. In the interim, the show takes its time to develop the characters and the interweaving plot lines in which they’re involved. The investment is rewarded by rich storytelling.
In addition to Evelin, the ensemble includes belligerent bully Fiete (Tim Bülow), his meek target Herm (Adrian Grünewald), strung-out author Nikolai Wagner (Alexander Scheer), Evelin’s illicit lover (Marc Benjamin, Eddie the Eagle), reformed criminal Magnus Fisker (Roland Møller, Skyscraper), delinquent youths Devid (Aaron Hilmer, All Quiet on the Western Front) and Ella (Lea van Acken, Dark), Evelin’s parents Richard (Wotan Wilke Möhring, Antibodies) and Helena (Annika Kuhl), and gruff police officer Mikkel Schwarting (Urs Rechn, Dogs of Berlin), among others.
The Island premiered in July of 2020 on Germany’s ZDFneo. The first season builds — and destroys — the world in eight episodes, while the second season follows the surviving residents after the collapse of civilization for six episodes.
Both seasons are streaming on SCREAMBOX.