The AMC television series "The Walking Dead" (based on the comic book series) takes a similar approach, but the viewer doesn't get that information until much later. What you do get, right from the beginning, though, is some solidly suspenseful Doomer / Survivalist / Prepper-centric television that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I'm re-watching the first 2 seasons right now, in anticipation of the October 14th premiere of season 3, and I thought I'd post a review of each episode as I watch (or until I get sick of it or y'all get sick of reading them). Beware of spoilers below.
Flash back to Rick in better times (though not without their own kinds of troubles). We can now see that he is a Sheriff's Deputy. He's eating lunch with his partner Shane, talking about women and the troubles he's having with his wife Lori, when a call comes in over the radio. Some guys have shot a deputy in a neighboring county and are leading a high-speed chase. Our boys go to help set-up a roadblock, and there's eventually a shoot-out, in which Rick is seriously wounded. He awakens some time later in an abandoned hospital that has been ransacked and there are half-eaten bodies everywhere. Also, there are a bunch of Walkers locked behind a chained door in there; he has no clue what's going on, but they don't sound friendly, so he hits the bricks. The world outside is not much better. Rotting bodies, covered in flies are everywhere. Civilization is officially over.
Rick finds an abandoned bicycle and makes his way home to find an empty house; his wife and son are gone. He is understandably despondent. At this point, he begins to doubt reality, trying to will himself to wake up from his nightmare, which is pretty much the same way most of us would react. Remember, he wasn't there to witness the meltdown of society when TSHTF -- he's being hit with it all at once, which is something that those of us who foresee a coming crash of whatever sort need to think about. It won't take what are virtually zombies walking around to cause a lot of people to experience mental distress. This is well-evidenced again later in the episode when Rick discovers a house in which the occupants have committed suicide after writing "May God Forgive Us" on the wall. The inference here is that they were unable to deal with the fall of civilization, and made their own peaceful (comparatively) exit. This will occur in any true TEOTWAWKI scenario, either due to some combination of fear and despair or simply as a means of asserting control over the way one dies, rather than waiting for the end to come in some unforeseen or far more painful way. We had all better be prepared for it.
Soon after, Rick comes into contact with the only other survivors he has thus far encountered in the personage of a boy around the same age as his son and the boy's father, played by Lennie James who was a major cast member of another Doomerific TV show called "Jericho" a few years ago. They are immediately suspicious of his wounds. They want to know if he's been bitten or scratched by a Walker. They soon explain that's how people become Walkers, but not before Dad threatens to kill him with a knife if he tries anything funny. Good job, Dad; gotta be sure this new guy isn't a threat to his son.
In this instance, they represent the much-needed plot device through which Rick (and we as viewers) learn what is going on, or, at least, a snippet of it. We learn that sound and light draw the Walkers. The father and son are sheltering in place in an abandoned house with the doors and windows boarded shut, and they are practicing both light and noise discipline -- both concepts that are familiar in survivalist circles. They are employing these tactics because the house they're sheltering in is surrounded by shambling, vicious, man-eating zombies; but such practices will be important for those of us in the real world as well. When there's no power for miles, except at your house, you will make a really nice target for looters and even worse types of two-legged predators if you aren't very careful. Remember that.
They inform him that being bitten or scratched by a Walker causes a fever that kills, but after a while the victim rises again, and they can then only be killed by destroying the brain. Turns out the dead bodies Rick saw wrapped-up all around the hospital were mostly people who had been infected, then "put down" by the authorities. This again, is something we can expect to see in the case of an extremely-dangerous and highly-contagious viral outbreak, even in the real world. Granted, it would have to be almost unbelievably bad, far worse even than the terrible Influenza Epidemic of 1918 that killed between 20-50 million people worldwide, before anyone would start culling victims; it could happen, however.
Rick believes his family is still alive, because there's evidence they've packed, albeit quickly. He knows it wasn't looters ransacking the place because pictures have been taken. The Dad and son suggest they might have gone to Atlanta, where a refugee center was being set up, offering military protection and food, and where the CDC was reportedly working to try to find a cure. That's where they themselves had previously been headed, before things got too crazy and they had to hunker down.
Next, Rick and his two new friends go to the Sheriff's office where he worked and there is a comical scene involving hot showers, which no one has been able to enjoy in a long time. It seems, however, that the Sheriff's department had its own propane system, independent of the city's gas and electricity mains, and its still working. This is important for us as it highlights yet another benefit to being self-sufficient with your own separate infrastructure for water, hot water, and power, to help ensure a better life for you and yours in a SHTF collapse scenario. Needless to say, before leaving, they commandeer weapons and ammo from the Sheriff's office armory as well.
Rick is going to Atlanta to try to find his wife and son and wants his new friends to come, to which Lennie's character (the Dad) replies they will be a few days behind him, after he's had time to teach his boy to shoot and practice some himself.
I'm leaving out lots of plot here and concentrating mostly on the parts that are important to those of us in the Doomer / Survivalist / Prepper community, so that you can enjoy it when you watch it (if you haven't already). It is a very dramatic and well-done hour of television, if you can stand some gruesome visuals and even more gruesome things you know are happening, even when you don't necessarily see them. It is not a show for those with a weak disposition.
Rick runs out of gas on his way to Atlanta, leading him to commandeer a horse to get him the rest of the way into the city. We are treated to a stunning wide-shot visual of complete gridlock on outbound lanes leading away from Atlanta, while the inbound lanes are totally clear for Rick and his horse. The only other thing I'll point-out is that we also briefly see another group of survivors who are getting-by in a makeshift camp up on a mountain near some kind of flooded quarry somewhere outside Atlanta, and this group includes Rick's family and his former partner Shane. They seem to have no idea that Rick is alive.