Showtime’s new thriller Yellowjackets has steadily gained buzz—see what I did there—throughout its first season. Fans have been enthralled by the story of a high school girls soccer team trying to survive after a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness and the far-reaching consequences of their ordeal. And it’s no wonder. With its steadily unfolding mystery and complicated group dynamics, the show has all the hallmarks of hit mystery-box shows like Lost—not to mention a killer ’90s soundtrack.
Of course, Sunday night’s shocking season finale only has us hungry for more. Thankfully a second season is already in the works. But for now, there’s a blood hive sized hole left in our collective TV-watching schedule. If you’re starving for more survivalist content, please consider the following films and shows.
Lord of the Flies
First, it’s worth going all the way back to the source. Yellowjackets creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson have said that the show was partially inspired by the online response to a proposed all-female version of Lord of the Flies. And while a direct all-female take of William Golding’s 1954 novel has yet to surface, there’s always the 1963 film adaptation (streaming now on HBO Max). The British school boys in director Peter Brook’s film—which is included in the Criterion Collection—may not descend into full-on cannibalism, but they do get pretty brutal. And for the true completist, there’s also the less successful 1990 version (available to buy on Amazon) starring a young Balthazar Getty.
For better or worse, when you think “cannibalism in survival situations” you think Alive. Ethan Hawke stars in this film based on the true story of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed in the Andes in 1972. In a very early ’90s Hollywood move, director Frank Marshall spins this harrowing tale of deprivation and survival into an uplifting, inspirational movie. Available to rent on Amazon.
So, if you experienced a mild case of déjà vu watching Yellowjackets, it might be due to this Amazon Prime series. I remember people describing The Wilds as “the female Lord of the Flies” when it premiered back in late 2020, one of the many things it has in common with Yellowjackets. Like the Showtime series, The Wilds concerns a group of teenage girls who survive a plane crash—here on a desert island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean—on their way to a young women’s empowerment retreat. The twist here is that the girls are the unwitting subjects of a social experiment run by the group that runs the retreat they were meant to attend. The series has been renewed for a second season.
Y: The Last Man
It may have been the lesser of this year’s two big, anticipated post-pandemic shows, but I for one stan FX’s Y: The Last Man. Based on a mid-aughts comic book series of the same name, the show depicted a world in which all mammals with a Y chromosome are suddenly killed by a mysterious plague. That is, except for adorable slacker Yorick (Ben Schnetzer) and his pet monkey. Showrunner Eliza Clark wisely updated the source material to focus on the complicated dynamics amongst the various groups of women trying to survive and maintain order in a post-apocalyptic world (as well as acknowledging the existence of trans men). Unfortunately, FX canceled the show and despite initial attempts to find a new home for it, Clark recently announced that Y: The Last Man won’t be returning for a second season. Still, if you can get past the gruesome first episode, it’s worth checking out for its gripping story and stellar performances by Diane Lane, Missi Pile, Marin Ireland, Amber Tamblyn and the rest of the phenomenal cast.