Life After People was a television speculative fiction series on which scientists, structural engineers and other experts speculate on about what might become of Earth should humanity instantly disappear. The featured experts also talk about the impact of human extinction on the environment, and the vestiges of civilization thus left behind.
The program does not speculate on how humanity may disappear, stipulating only that it has, and that it has done so suddenly, leaving everything behind including household pets and livestock that have to fend for themselves. The thought experiment is based on documented results of the sudden removal of humans from a geographical area and the results that have occurred when people discontinue the maintenance of buildings and urban infrastructure. Lurie’s narration begins: “What would happen if every human on Earth disappeared? “This isn’t the story of how we might vanish…it’s the story of what will happen to the world we leave behind.”
The series’ episodes thematically offer examples of structural and biological decay. The focus is on specific locations such as religious icons,bridges and dams, and government buildings, and the fate of certain related objects, such as artefacts, documents and human bodies. The fate of some kinds of flora and fauna are covered as well. Each episode also contains a segment in which experts examine real locations that have been abandoned by people, including ghost towns and other sites of deterioration, where the deterioration has been caused by events similar to those outlined in the episode. Although the series speculates on the fates of landmarks around the world, the main focus is on situations that may occur at locations in the United States.
The various events that may occur after people disappear suddenly are depicted using CGI dramatizations. Structures covered include the Egyptian pyramids, the Empire State Building, theSears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower), the Astrodome, the Space Needle, the Eiffel Tower, the Burj Khalifa, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Gateway Arch, Taipei 101, the USS Constitution, the Hoover Dam, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Grant’s Tomb, John Hancock Center and Air Force One. The time line of predicted events begins approximately one day after the disappearance of mankind and extends up to one hundred million years into the future (one day, one week, one year, 10 years, 15 years, 25 years, 50 years, 100 years, 200 years, etc.).