Updated Dec. 6, 2012, 1:25pm CT
Dec. 21, 2012. There hasn’t been so much interest in — and, in some cases, fear over — a date since 1999 and the impending approach of Y2K. Whether or not you believe in the supposed Mayan 2012 prediction that some cataclysmic or transformative event will befall humanity on Dec. 21, 2012, the date is nearly upon us, and whatever happens or doesn’t happen, TV will be there to capitalize on interest in the Mayan 2012 Apocalypse from believers, skeptics and people who normally just wouldn’t care.
Leading up to Dec. 21, there will be plenty of documentaries, specials and movies about the dreaded “2012 phenomenon” and other doomsday/apocalypse/Armageddon scenarios. So, if you want to potentially spend your last few weeks on Earth sitting and watching television, here are a few shows to check out. All times are Eastern. Programming and times are subject to change (or destruction by asteroid, earthquake, etc.). Check back for updates and additions.
Nostradamus: 2012 (encore) — Dec. 1 at 8pm; Dec. 2 at 12am on H2. Whatever is in store — a massive cosmic collision, a global environmental disaster, an Armageddon-like religious showdown, or a more subtle transformation — many believe that December 21, 2012, will mark a major shift in the history of our planet. There is no cogent distinction between the sobering facts and hysterical fiction — what, if any, modern scientific proof exists? Is there any other compelling evidence throughout history that 2012 will be a year of unprecedented, deadly upheaval? This special looks for the parallels between the daily headlines and the 2012 prophecies from Nostradamus and others. From the mystical realms of the Guatemalan jungles to the Hopi elders and Mayan shaman to respected thinkers of the modern age — Nostradamus’ doomsday warning will be cast in a modern context.
Brad Meltzer’s Decoded: “2012: The Beginning” (encore) — Dec. 1 at 10pm; Dec. 2 at 2am on H2. Across the globe, predictions from Mayan texts to the King James Bible appear to be coming true with eerie accuracy. What can we look forward to on December 21, 2012, the date Mayan astronomers list as the end of time? Will we fall prey to a massive natural disaster, an unnatural disaster brought about by harm to our environment, or will we do what the Mayans did and destroy ourselves? Decoded investigates the science and the psychology behind the doomsday prophecies of 2012.
Countdown to Apocalypse: “Countdown to 12/21/12: Maya Messengers” (encore) — Dec. 1 at 11pm; Dec. 2 at 3am; Dec. 9 at 11pm; Dec. 10 at 3am; Dec. 20 at 9pm; Dec. 21 at 1am on H2. December 21, 2012: a prophetic date delivered in stone by the ancient Maya. Revered by scientists for their extremely accurate calendars, the Maya are also known for their mysterious ability to predict unsettling events so many are taking the December date seriously. On this date a rare galactic alignment will take place and coincidentally, as the alignment happens, our sun will be entering its most violent solar storm cycle. And, all of this comes at a time when scientists believe Earth’s magnetic defense shield, which protects us from dangerous solar radiation, may be compromised. Our planet may become paralyzed. People are heeding the warning and getting prepared, including a group of everyday Americans learning how to fend for themselves and live off the grid.
Decoding the Past: “Doomsday 2012: The End of Days” (encore) — Dec. 2 at 10am on H2. There are prophecies and oracles from around the world that all seem to point to December 21, 2012, as doomsday. The ancient Mayan calendar, the medieval predictions of Merlin, the Book of Revelation and the Chinese oracle of the I Ching all point to this specific date as the end of civilization. A new technology called “The Web-Bot Project” makes massive scans of the internet as a means of forecasting the future … and has turned up the same dreaded date: 2012. Skeptics point to a long history of “Failed Doomsdays,” but many oracles of doom throughout history have a disturbingly accurate track record. As the date ticks ever closer, this program speculates if there are any reasons to believe these doomsayers.
Countdown to Apocalypse: “Countdown to 12/21/12: Nostradamus” (encore) — Dec. 2 at 6pm; Dec. 4 at 8pm; Dec. 5 at 12am; Dec. 7 at 11pm; Dec. 8 at 3am; Dec. 16 at 6pm; Dec. 20 at 1pm & 7pm on H2. Centuries ago the prophet Nostradamus had visions of the end of our modern world. Now, scholars decipher his mysterious predictions and learn of terrible tragedies and catastrophic events that threaten to annihilate global populations. Some believe that Nostradamus has successfully predicted the rise of Hitler, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the detonation of the atomic bomb, and countless other events. Many fear that the remaining unfulfilled prophecies of Nostradamus will manifest before our very eyes.
Countdown to Apocalypse: “Countdown to 12/21/12: Hopi Blue Star” (encore) — Dec. 2 at 7pm; Dec. 9 at 6pm; Dec. 14 at 11am, 5pm & 11pm; Dec. 15 at 3am; Dec. 20 at 11pm; Dec. 21 at 3am on H2. The Hopi people have warned us that the world is headed for extinction. Based in the Arizona Desert, the Native American tribe of the Hopi has been prophesying about the fate of society for centuries. They have accurately predicted the coming of the settlers to their land, the birth of telecommunication, and the worldwide spread of the internet. The Hopi believe that our actions have caused the earth to become out of balance which will lead to a cataclysmic great purification of the planet that few will survive. To herald these end times, the Hopi believe that a blue star will arise in the heavens, followed by a great shaking of the earth. These prophecies have been passed down from generation to generation and warn of massive earthquakes, tsunamis and super-volcanoes that threaten the lives of millions.
Omens of the Apocalypse: The End is Near (encore) — Dec. 2 at 7pm; Dec. 3 at 2am on National Geographic Channel. The year 2011 gets off to a disturbing start. On New Year’s Eve, blackbirds die in Beebe, Arkansas by the thousands. Nearby, fish and more birds perish. Then a wave of unsettling animal deaths seems to sweep the globe. Are the deaths connected? A wide-ranging story begins with an investigation of the blackbirds’ death and ends by assessing how the human mind is inspired, or derailed, by seeming patterns or coincidences in nature.
Countdown to Apocalypse: “Countdown to 12/21/12: Four Horsemen” (encore) — Dec. 2 at 8pm; Dec. 3 at 12am; Dec. 4 at 9pm; Dec. 5 at 1am; Dec. 16 at 7pm; Dec. 20 at 8pm; Dec. 21 at 12am on H2. The Book of Revelation: the New Testament’s blueprint of doom foretells the coming of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse, heralding the end of days. These horsemen will usher in four divine judgments that promise to devastate humanity. While skeptics dismiss it as a mere allegory, every Sunday around the Christian world, church pews reverberate with its dark prophecies.
2012: Countdown to Armageddon: The End is Near (encore) — Dec. 2 at 8pm & 11pm; Dec. 3 at 7pm; Dec. 4 at 2am; Dec. 9 at 9am; Dec. 10 at 3pm; Dec. 11 at 10pm; Dec. 12 at 12am; Dec. 18 at 6pm on National Geographic Channel. Based on the end of a cycle of an actual ancient Maya calendar that will end on December 21, 2012, NGC asks, “What truths lie behind the fears?” Some enthusiasts fear worldwide changes from what is called a pole shift. This special introduces one scientist who believes the surface of the Earth experienced a dramatic pole shift in the past, causing the continents to slide across the core of the Earth — and has evidence to prove it. Then, experts examine one of the few remaining original Maya writings in the hope that their hieroglyphs will reveal more clues about the prophecy.
Evacuate Earth— Dec. 2 at 9pm; ; Dec. 3 at 12am; Dec. 9 at 10am; Dec. 21 at 8pm & 11pm; Dec. 28 at 4pm on National Geographic Channel. NGC debuts three premiere end-of-the-world specials over two nights, kicking off with Evacuate Earth on Dec. 2 at 9pm. This two-hour speculative science program looks at what might happen should Earth’s approaching destruction in a cosmic collision force humankind to devise a plan to leave Earth behind and escape to the nearest hospitable planet.
Nostradamus Effect: “Doomsday Hieroglyphs” (encore) — Dec. 2 at 11pm; Dec. 3 at 3am on H2. The Great Pyramids of Egypt have amazed and mystified humanity for 45 centuries. A new look at their mysterious design reveals shocking architectural prophecies containing profound messages about a violent end to our future. Evidence shows that the construction and layout of the entire Giza complex, including the Sphinx, contain coded warnings about terrible tribulations set to strike us in our own times. New research will deconstruct the architectural clues and shed light on our doomed future. Why did the Egyptians believe that a rogue comet, called the Destroyer, which passes by earth every 3,000 years, will cause unimaginable destruction again in the year 2012? What prophecy-laden stones inside the Great Pyramid predicted that September of 2001 would mark the beginning of the end of the world? And what was the role of the ancient, secret society of Freemasons in creating these predictions and carrying Egyptian knowledge into the new world of America?
El despertar de los dioses Mayas — Dec. 2 at 11pm on Once TV México. This documentary explores the Mayan culture as well as the Mayan 2012 prophecy. The program explores locations throughout southern Mexico in search of important archaeological sites that tell the stories about the different dynasties, cosmos and situations that contributed to the Mayan calendar. The special is hosted by archaeologist Erika Morales.
Doomsday: Book of Revelation: The End is Near — Dec. 3 at 8pm & 11pm; Dec. 10 at 4pm on National Geographic Channel. The most controversial book of the Bible: prophecy or ancient history? The answer lies in the book’s cryptic words. Are they a code waiting to be cracked? To some Christians, Revelation describes a doomsday scenario known as “the end times,” and they believe it’s unfolding right before our very eyes. Most scholars argue that Revelation is a product of its time with a powerful message. Two thousand years after its appearance, the battle over what it means continues to rage.
The Mayan Apocalypse 2012 — Dec. 3 at 9pm; Dec. 4 at 12am; Dec. 10 at 5pm; Dec. 21 at 10pm; Dec. 22 at 1am; Dec. 28 at 6pm on National Geographic Channel. Historian and filmmaker Paul Murton travels to America to explore how the phenomenon now better known as “2012” has swept across the Internet, with hundreds of websites featuring frightening predictions. Murton examines how this terror has spawned survival communities in which people hoard food and supplies, build bunkers and practice defending themselves with weapons to see them through the impending apocalypse. To discover who the Maya really were, he’ll also visit the ruins of the ancient Maya city of El Mirador in Central America to see where the civilization was founded and gain an insight into what they believed would happen at midnight on December 21, 2012.
Maya Underworld: The Real Doomsday — Dec. 3 at 10pm; Dec. 4 at 1am; Dec. 10 at 6pm; Dec. 18 at 10pm; Dec. 19 at 12am; Dec. 21 at 7pm; Dec. 22 at 2am; Dec. 28 at 3pm; Dec. 31 at 9pm; Jan. 1 at 2am on National Geographic Channel. Venturing into vast underwater graveyards of Mayan human sacrifices in Mexico, journalist Diego Buñuel searches for new revelations about the infamous upcoming doomsday. Using National Geographic technology, Diego and a team of archaeologists will literally light up the abyss to explore these underwater tombs and gain key insight into why some believe the Maya may have predicted an impending apocalypse. In a secret location, Diego views a rare replica of one Mayan codex whose last page is filled with illustrations of what has been interpreted as floods and ominous-looking gods that first sparked the apocalyptic prediction some 100 years ago.
Countdown to Apocalypse: “Countdown to 12/21/12: Prophets of Doom” (encore) — Dec. 7 at 10pm; Dec. 8 at 2am; Dec. 9 at 7pm; Dec. 20 at 10pm; Dec. 21 at 2am on H2. Nostradamus, regarded as the most well-known prophet in the history, wasn’t alone. Edgar Cayce, America’s most famous psychic, predicted the 1929 stock market crash and the coming of World War II. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion, claimed to receive messages directly from God foretelling terrors of a corrupted government and an impending bloody civil war. St. Malachy predicted that the next pope would signal a time of great tribulation and ultimately, the end of the world. Isaac Newton determined when the horrors depicted in the Book of Revelations would come to pass. Web Bot, a computer program, predicted global catastrophes such as September 11. Web Bot’s data is warning of the end of world around December 2012.
’12 Disasters of Christmas — Dec. 8 at 9pm; Dec. 9 at 1am; Dec. 20 at 8pm; Dec. 21 at 6pm on Syfy. Leave it up to Syfy to combine a holiday film with the Mayan 2012 Apocalypse. In this original movie, mysterious disasters connected to the Mayan prediction, as well as the iconic holiday song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” are systematically destroying a small town and spreading throughout the world. A father (Ed Quinn) learns that his daughter (Magda Aponowicz) is really the “Chosen One” who, alone, can stop further catastrophe — if he can stave off the lunatic townspeople blaming her for the community’s destruction.
Prophets of Doom (encore) — Dec. 9 at 9pm; Dec. 10 at 1am on H2. Today’s world has troubles unique to its time in history, from the global financial crisis to technological meltdowns to full scale, computerized global war. Observing the convergence of such events, contemporary prophets have begun to emerge from obscurity to suggest that these conditions might be signs of the demise of the modern world.
Decoding the Past: “Mayan Doomsday Prophecy” (encore) — Dec. 11 at 11pm; Dec. 12 at 3am on H2. The ancient Maya made their stunning prediction more than 2,000 years ago. This show peels back the layers of mystery and examine in detail how the Maya calculated the exact date of doomsday. Journey back to the ancient city of Chichen Itza, the hub of Maya civilization deep in the heart of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, to uncover the truth about this prophecy. The Maya were legendary astronomers and timekeepers — their calendar is more accurate than our own. By tracking the stars and planets they assigned great meaning to astronomical phenomena and made extraordinary predictions based on them — many of which have come true. Could their doomsday prophecy be one of them? In interviews archaeologists, astrologers, and historians speculate on the meaning of the Mayan 2012 prophecy.
Countdown to Apocalypse: “Countdown to 12/21/12: Future Terrors” (encore) — Dec. 14 at 10pm; Dec. 15 at 2am; Dec. 16 at 8pm; Dec. 17 at 12am; Dec. 20 at 12pm & 6pm on H2. Nightmarish terrors long relegated to the pages of science fiction are threatening to become a reality in the 21st Century. As science continues to evolve, the boundaries of fantasy and reality have blurred as we uncover new truths about our world and beyond. This countdown to future Apocalypse has lead everyday people to prepare for survival in the face of the looming doomsday.
Apocalypse Island (encore) — Dec. 15 at 8pm; Dec. 16 at 12am on H2. Does a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean hold the final clue to the Mayan’s apocalyptic predictions concerning 2012? One explorer thinks he’s discovered the answers that have eluded man for centuries. Jim Turner stumbled on this remote artifact over a decade ago and has spent the past ten years preparing an expedition to prove that this is the place they foretold that the gods would come to watch the final minutes of civilization as we know it.
How the World Will End — Dec. 18 at 8pm on Discovery Channel.
Apocalypse 2012 Revelations — Dec. 18 at 9pm on Discovery Channel.
Zombie Apocalypse — Dec. 18 at 10pm on Discovery Channel. As part of its “Apocalypse Tuesday” block of programming on Dec. 18, Discovery premieres this look at a group of people who are prepping for a zombie takeover, and examines the science behind this end-of-the-world scenario. From The Walking Dead to bath salts causing zombie-like attacks, zombie culture is everywhere, and there’s a belief among some that an impending zombie apocalypse is imminent. In addition to speaking to folks who are prepping for such an event, the program talk to Dr. Steven Scholzman of Harvard Medical School, who explains that it is indeed plausible for humans to contract a virus that changes them into something resembling a zombie.
Nostradamus Effect: “2012 Extinction” (encore) — Dec. 18 at 10pm; Dec. 19 at 2am; Dec. 20 at 11am on H2. The Maya, an ancient South American culture, predicted that time would end in a violent apocalypse on December 21, 2012. They created an elaborate astronomical calendar called “The Long Count,” which stops abruptly in 2012. This date, which is also the winter equinox, coincides with an incredibly rare galactic alignment that happens once every 26,000 years. What did the Mayans think would happen when their calendar ended? And were they joined by other cultures–from different parts of the world and in different centuries–all pointing to 2012 as a calamitous end time? The Hopi Indians and Eastern Hindus have similar calendars, which are remarkably synchronous. One counter-culture mystic even uses an Ancient Chinese philosophy to unlock the key to a 2012 prophecy. Nostradamus himself suggests the world is headed toward a coming cataclysm. What can we do to heed the warning of the Mayan 2012 apocalypse?
The Soup End of the World — Dec. 19 at 10pm on E!. Joel McHale and The Soup crew celebrate the Mayan 2012 Apocalypse by making fun of everyone who didn’t believe the show for the eight years that they have been broadcasting “warning signs” — like Danny Bonaduce, Tila Tequila, Honey Boo Boo Child, Flavor of Love, Bruce Jenner’s face and more. This episode revisits the past eight years to highlight the most telling-that-the-world-is-ending moments and people from reality TV and pop culture. Additionally, Joel and the gang will name The Soup‘s four horse-men/women/juvenile pageant contestants of the Apocalypse, and “celebrities” who have frequented The Soup‘s screen over the years will stop by to catch up with Joel.
2012: The End is Now — Dec. 20 at 9pm on History. Info TBA.
End of the World Marathon — Dec. 21 from 12am-6am, and 8am-8pm on Syfy. Syfy gives you several hours of programming to enjoy your (possibly) last day on Earth! Things kick off with a repeat of the documentary specials Countdown to Doomsday and 2012: Startling New Secrets. Then it’s all Syfy original movies the rest of the day, with the lineup including 2012: Supernova; 2012: Ice Age; Stonehenge Apocalypse; Doomsday Prophecy; and ’12 Disasters of Christmas.
Armageddon (encore) — Dec. 21 at 5pm on FX. An asteroid the size of Texas is heading directly toward Earth at 22,000 miles per hour, and NASA’s executive director has only one option — to destroy the asteroid by sending a roughneck team of oil drillers to land on it, drill into its surface and drop a nuclear device into its core. Stars Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Keith David and Steve Buscemi.
2012 (encore) — Dec. 21 at 8pm & 11:30pm on FX. Nobody destroys the world with better special effects than Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow). This time the Earth is heating up, and all of humanity is at risk. Loosely based on the fact that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012. John Cusack, Amanda Peet and Chiwetel Ejiofor star.
Ancient Aliens: “The Doomsday Prophecies” (encore) — Dec. 21 at 8pm; Dec. 22 at 12am on H2. The Maya created the most sophisticated calendar systems in the ancient world, and according to many scholars their Long Count Calendar will come to an end on December 21, 2012. What does this mean for mankind? Some researchers believe it will usher in the return of Bolon Yokte — a mysterious god associated with creation and war. Could this god actually be an extraterrestrial as some ancient astronaut theorists believe? Other scholars believe the end of the calendar will bring about a series of catastrophic events that may threaten the very existence of mankind. They point to a rare galactic alignment that will coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar as proof of an impending geological catastrophe. If these doomsday prophecies prove to be true, will it mean the end of the world as we know it? Or could it reveal some profound truth about the origins of the human race?
The Mayan Apocalypse 2012: Timeline Films Ltd/Richard Cook
Maya Underworld: Courtesy of NGC
’12 Disasters of Christmas: © 2012 Syfy Media, LLC