I enjoyed watching all nine episodes of The Last of Us!

By all means check it out on HBO plus. I'll try to keep this spoiler-free.

The Walking Dead.

Eleven seasons, mainly led by Rick Grimes, then Michonne/Maggie. A post-apocalyptic world where every human being once they die -if their brain's intact- will rise up and try to attack/devour any living mammal, preferably people. Doesn't matter what extent of decomposition they're in, they'll still move about and try to get you!

The Last of Us

A sudden attack to the world of a food-driven fungus occupies any human it gets into by taking control of them so they can infect any other living person they see. They can run fast. Further on their heads disappear replaced with a hard-shelled crown that detects sound (Clickers). Clickers navigate by clicking their tongues and listening for the echoes. Then there's even more nasty levels they turn into like Bloaters but that's for later.

Some background info...

In The Walking Dead the world's gone out, all civilization has vanished. Everybody's left adrift to fend for themselves. In The Last of Us there are 'DZs,' or Decontamination Zones in the heart of all major cites like Boston or Kansas City. With huge walls, their day-to-day involves hanging offenders of the law and burning the bodies of the infected (humanely put down with lethal injection first). TWD is based on a comic book. TLOU is based on a video game.

The Last of Us mainly involves two characters: Joel and Ellie, 13 year old Ellie has something very important about her and needs to be taken cross-country from Boston to somewhere in Wyoming. Joel is a powerful thug type of character who's up for the task.

In that TWD started as a comic the TV series behaves that way too: there's this month's villain who must be vanquished whether it's The Governor, The Terminus People, or Negan and The Saviors. Respectively, TLOU leans heavily into its video game roots by giving Joel and Ellie a very narrow, very specific goal to accomplish that happens in a linear fashion. Both shows were overseen by their creators so that's not surprising.

So how do they differ?

I'm surprised to say that even though the science behind TLOU is much, much more accurate and provable (this Cordyceps fungus does indeed exist in ants and they do some of the same things as in the show) TWD gave me a more 'visceral' or close-to-the-skin feeling of dread and horror.

Why is that? Things that die don't suddenly mend themselves together enough to move about. Anyone who's looked at road kill up close or a dead mouse in the grass can tell you. It's like expecting a rusty old car in a junkyard to just get up and roll away. I guess it's because I can relate to seeing death and decay up close more than a man with an Onion Blossom growing out of his face.

That being said some of the stuff happening on The Last of Us, the world-building, the emergency agencies that sprung up early on becoming brutal authoritarian police states (FEDRA: Federal Emergency Disaster Relief Agency) because they can... versus some vague wishy washy mentioning of 'when all of it went down' talk of anyone who is remembering the 30 days or so it took in TWD, you can say the former got it better.

(Don't get me started on Fear the Walking Dead, which was advertised as the show that would take you to the events of those 30 days. All they did there was give you -again- vague details and fresher zombies.)

Environmental/Political or Character?

Environmental/political sci-fi stories used to be the norm but they're going away. I liked them better. They question where the world is going. On the social end you had Soylent Green (too many people on planet Earth, no more food)...

... or The Andromeda Strain (a space-born virus brought to earth by a satellite that could wipe out all life). On the political end you had Orwell's 1984 (all the world's a totalitarian structure made to end free thought forever) or Rollerball (wars are now turned into sporting events). You got to see bit by bit how polite society slowly slides downhill into an unrecognizable version of ourselves.

Character driven stories are a feature of the last 40 years, and I think they're here to stay. Character driven stories keep its audience focused on the problem the characters face. The audience isn't given time to think about the implications of the world being described, no matter how horrible.

A politically driven story doesn't let you off the hook so easily, though. Soylent Green had Edward G. Robinson going into the assisted suicide room watching the world of the old days before pollution and overpopulation on the wall-to-wall screens.

That's scary.

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