The first season of HBO’s The Last of Us is over. If you’re one of those people who just can’t get enough of the memorable characters and post-apocalyptic world of The Last of Us, then you’re in luck! There are plenty of shows out there that offer the same kind of tense atmosphere and gripping drama.
From sci-fi adventure to dystopian thriller, we’ve compiled a list of shows that you’ll definitely want to check out if you loved The Last of Us. So, sit back, dim the lights, and get ready to be immersed in these incredible stories.
Before Craig Mazin adapted The Last of Us for HBO, he showed off his knack for building tension and dread in Chernobyl. The 2019 miniseries is based on the real-life disaster in 1986, and effectively captures the containment and clean-up efforts that followed the catastrophe. The show’s creeping horror and tragedy, set against a familiar gloomy aesthetic, demonstrates why Mazin was the best person to adapt The Last of Us.
If you thought cannibalism in The Last of Us was disturbing, wait till you get to the episode about dogs in Chernobyl.
Do you need more daddy Pedro Pascal in your life? If your answer is ‘yes’, The Mandalorian is for you.
Before Pascal’s Joel served as a father figure for Bella Ramsey’s Ellie in The Last of Us’s epic journey across the United States, he was doing the same as Din Djarin for Grogu in The Mandalorian’s adventure across the galaxy. Unfortunately, The Mandalorian doesn’t show off Pascal’s attractive mug too often, but audiences do get to see more of his tenderness and paternal warmth as he cares for the adorable “Baby Yoda”.
Society has collapsed due to a viral pandemic, and a lone survivalist is tasked with escorting and protecting a special child across the United States. Sounds familiar?
Netflix’s Sweet Tooth is set in a world where animal-human hybrid creatures exist after a pandemic has wiped out most of the human population. The fantasy series centres on a young boy (who’s also part deer) looking for his mother, as he’s joined by a hulking and grumpy traveller. If Ellie from The Last of Us had more wide-eyed innocence, the resemblance would be all the more uncanny.
Sweet Tooth may not be as brutal as The Last of Us, but the two shows share a lot in common — from the beautiful, lush landscapes to the heavy themes dealt with between both shows.
And good news, Season 2 of Sweet Tooth will premiere on 27 April!
Many people on Twitter have been encouraging fans of The Last of Us, particularly of the show’s third episode “Long, Long Time”, to check out Station Eleven. The HBO limited series, adapted from a novel of the same name by Emily St. John Mandel, spans two time periods — one taking place at the outset of a global pandemic, and the other set 20 years later as survivors wrestle with the collapse of civilisation.
Station Eleven begs you find empathy, both for the characters on the show as well as the people in our everyday lives. And just like how Joel and Ellie, or Bill and Frank, found connection in The Last of Us, isn’t that what post-apocalyptic stories are all about?
Similarly, The Leftovers focuses on the people left behind after a mass casualty event, and explores how they navigate such unimaginable loss. Whether it’s love, fear, rage, or more, the HBO drama depicts the many different ways that people struggle to cope after unexplained devastation.
While The Leftovers shares The Last of Us’s interest in human vulnerability, it takes the time to uncover a beautiful sense of hope amidst all the melancholy, contrasting against The Last of Us’s more cynical, fatalistic approach.
It’s no surprise that quite a number of HBO shows are on this list. There’s a certain vibe and prestige to HBO dramas that offer cinematic camerawork and in-depth character studies. HBO’s Watchmen TV series is no different.
Watchmen takes the humanity and brutality of The Last of Us, and adds some sci-fi and superhero elements for good measure. The result is an intriguing, complex look at the ugly side of humankind, balanced by a tender and intimate story about faith, family, legacy, and relationships.
Train to Busan
If you felt like there wasn’t enough zombie action in The Last of Us, Train to Busan is a good flick to address those concerns. Set in the confined quarters of a high-speed rail train, there are zombies aplenty for the lead characters to escape from or fight off.
The film boasts a strong emotional core. Just like Joel in The Last of Us, when all hell breaks loose, characters do whatever they can to protect their loved ones.
Bonus: Video Game Adaptations
With the success of The Last of Us, the show can easily be recognised as one of the best video game adaptations to exist. However, there are plenty of other great video game adaptations worth checking out as well.
Fans of The Last of Us might enjoy Netflix’s animated Castlevania adaptation, which sees its heroes fend off hordes of undead vampires; or delight in the delectable gore of the live-action Mortal Kombat films; and much more. Whatever floats your boat, there’s still more The Last of Us to come, with a second season on the way.