HBO’s The Last of Us has taken the world by storm. The series received big attention even before its release thanks to the extensive hype generated by HBO, and its fanbase had a strong foundation thanks to the video games it is based on. There’s only so many episodes of The Last of Us that can be viewed though, and you’ve likely already seen everything available from the series.
Fortunately, the themes of love, loss, survival, and battling dangerous foes are present in other shows, so it’s not too hard to find shows which provide similar entertainment. These will be best viewed on a binge-watch for The Last of Us fans to see the variety that can be found in material of the same genre. So without further ado, here are 10 shows to watch if you like The Last of Us.
12 Monkeys (2015-18)
While it may not be set in the dead-center of an apocalypse like The Last of Us, 12 Monkeys carries similar themes and stories beats that fans can resonate with.
The show builds off of a time travel premise, wherein protagonist James Cole arrives in 2015 after warping from 2043. Cole has to learn the cause of a plague that has ravaged the world in the future.
Much like The Last of Us, the series shows the value of having trusted people around in order for James to reach his goal. He can’t reach solutions without relying on them, and builds believable connections with them as a result.
12 Monkeys also carries the hopeless atmosphere that The Last of Us contains, as it seems that the protagonists’ quest will always be undone. The show gradually adds revelations that change the context of James’ mission, which is similar to the way Joel and Ellie’s relationship evolves because of the former’s decisions.
Black Summer (2019-21)
Just like The Last of Us, Black Summer is a road show, in that the story progresses as the protagonist moves forward. While it may seem like a straight-forward zombie drama about a mother who heads out to search for her missing daughter, said mother’s journey brings her into conflict with dangerous human survivors as well as the undead, selling the feeling of being in a dangerous and unforgiving world.
The series also stresses the importance of characters developing genuine connections. Their relationship alters their original plans, which is along the same lines as Joel’s after he starts to see Ellie as his daughter.
The Mist (2017)
The Mist is an adaptation of one of Stephen King’s works, which is centered around a town covered in the titular mist. The hazy condition soon becomes violent in nature, as people start to lose their senses and their lives.
The Last of Us fans will enjoy The Mist for creating a sense of paranoia among its viewers, as the former has a familiar atmosphere. The series also keeps viewers on their feet through various teases about what the true cause of the mist could be. Viewers will likewise be shown how danger changes people, as the characters are forced to take lives in order to retain their own sanity.
The Leftovers (2014-17)
The Leftovers is set a few years after an event where 2% of the world’s population suddenly vanishes. The fallout from this rapture has a heavy impact on people whose loved ones disappeared, and the show takes place in a small town whose residents have to adjust to their new lives while investigating the supernatural phenomenon that occurred.
While The Leftovers doesn’t have the blood and gore that The Last of Us contains, the two shows have similar elements of love and loss. The series deals with characters forging new relationships with people they never would have interacted with had circumstances been different, and does so in a way that portrays the silver lining of actions taken in desperation.
Fear The Walking Dead (2015-)
Fear the Walking Dead starts off showing the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, but gradually moves toward times when people have started to adjust to the new world. It definitely falls more in line with apocalyptic themes from stories like The Road, as new characters are frequently introduced while existing protagonists look for safer places.
The Last of Us viewers will like how Fear the Walking Dead depicts the early days of the zombie outbreak, with similar losses for the characters that are in line with what Joel felt while losing Sarah. Throw in the crossover characters from the flagship Walking Dead series on top of this, and even skeptical fans will see Fear the Walking Dead has plenty of interesting curveballs which carve out the franchise’s lore and keep things entertaining.
The Stand (2020)
The Stand is another adaptation of a Stephen King novel, following characters after a viral outbreak becomes a full-on pandemic. The survivors are left with the option of following two leading figures; both of whom have unclear agendas.
This faction mentality is similar to The Last of Us, where characters have to choose between the government and the Fireflies. The Last of Us viewers will likewise enjoy The Stand’s short and succinct story, with the miniseries covering the most important plot points. Even with the compact style of the show, The Stand manages to be a gripping tale, as viewers are made to wonder which faction is truly good and what the future of the world might be.
The 100 (2014-20)
The 100 is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi where the world was deemed uninhabitable and a space ark was filled with survivors. The main show is about the descendants of the space colony returning to Earth in the future, only to be confronted by the remnants of humanity who never left the planet.
The Last of Us’ survival themes are present in The 100, as the characters have to avoid their more savage enemies while integrating with those sympathetic to their cause. Additionally, the show will connect with The Last of Us fans for its dystopian world, which is an intriguing environment the protagonists frequently explore.
Z Nation (2014-18)
Z Nation is about a group of people protecting one person in their group who is immune to the zombie outbreak. The show has a comedic spin to it through the characters’ quirky personalities, but retains its horror outline through zombies that can be quite terrifying.
The Last of Us has its own fair share of monstrous undead, so fans will like the presentation of the infected offered in Z Nation. Furthermore, the nomadic nature of the story will feel familiar since Joel and Ellie also go on an adventure through different places and locales.
All Of Us Are Dead (2022)
All of Us Are Dead takes place at a high school as soon as the zombie outbreak hits, forcing the students to fight for themselves. This fast-paced series throws many problems in the way of the protagonists, with several dying in quick succession and leaving viewers guessing who will survive.
The Last of Us doesn’t shy away from the gory details, which is why fans of the show will take to All of Us Are Dead. The presence of young main characters will also appeal to The Last of Us viewers who enjoy following Ellie, as All of Us Are Dead shows what happens when adolescents have no one else but themselves to rely on.
The Walking Dead (2010-22)
The Walking Dead remains the most successful zombie franchise in recent memory, proving the genre can work on TV. The series initially follows Rick Grimes and his group as they search for a sanctuary before shifting to preserving their community in later seasons. The show places emphasis on the characters and their efforts to prevent themselves from becoming corrupt as so many other survivors have.
The Last of Us viewers will enjoy the characterizations found in The Walking Dead, which has many personalities who all get their time to shine. Rick Grimes carries a flawed but powerful persona like Joel does, and his arc of balancing his humanity with the need to survive remains compelling season after season. The Walking Dead throws in several badass characters like Daryl to shake things up too, as well as some genuinely scary villains.
That does it for our picks for the best shows like The Last of Us. Be sure to search for Twinfinite for more entertainment-related content, including our take on the Top 10 Best Shows Like National Treasure: Edge Of History.
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