Doomsday cults have been predicting the end of the world a long time. Cults are often led by a charismatic leader, with twisted views of the way the world works and an over inflated ego. And they have long made people wonder how anyone would fall for the nonsense spewed from their leader’s mouths. Creator and star Sonja O’Hara takes viewers inside a millennial cult. She answers that very question about cults in her limited series Doomsday.
Living a vegan lifestyle with a limited carbon footprint among a group of similar minded people may seem like a dream come true. However, for the residents of a Florida commune, it’s not necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. For starters, their enigmatic leader Dagny (Karin Agstam) is too good to be true. On one hand she talks about keeping things simple. She appears to care about the group of men and women she has gathered together. But on the other she runs a tight ship and doesn’t obey her own rules. And she isn’t above punishing or even murdering those she deems to be a threat.
Dagny talks about the approaching doomsday as if it’s an unavoidable event, and steals her converts’ money and identities to fund her venture. Some try to escape, but return when they can’t get past the brainwashing that Dagny subjected them to. The cult even draws an undercover journalist named John (Mark St. Cyr), even though he believes he is beyond their influence. Still, there is trouble brewing as some members are plotting to rebel against their leader. A mysterious new stranger appears, and the police start turning an eye towards them.
Doomsday is a fascinating look at life inside a cult, and helps make it more understandable why people belong to one. The series is far from a black and white exploration of the subject, which is in part thanks to the wide variety of characters. Each have their own reasons as to why they belong, and are all broken in their own way. Unlike other series or movies that have delved into the subject, Doomsday gives a less biased view of cults. The series is also helped by the strong acting of the cast. Characters vary, from the sexually rebellious Camden (Sonja O’Hara) to the innocently naïve Annie River (Ellen Toland). Doomsday wouldn’t be as as strong as it is without their performances.
Doomsday is one of those shows you will want to binge watch because you will want to know what happens next. Thankfully that can be done within a day, or maybe two at the tops, since there aren’t a lot of episodes. In the end it’s dramatic television that draws you in and holds you to the very end.