After the success of HBO’s The Last of Us, all eyes are on season 2, however, a perfect replacement for the show has already arrived, and it’s the last one anyone would expect. The Last of Us debuted as one of the most popular shows of the year, exceeding expectations despite how popular the video game franchise is. The show did a great job of adapting its source material, but it makes the wait for season 2 even harder. Craig Mazin, creator of the show confirmed that at the end of the strikes The Last of Us season 2 will be ready to proceed with production.
It was recently announced that a deal had been struck with writers which could allow the next season to begin work sooner rather than later, although acting strikes are continuing. Even if The Last of Us season 2 begins the next stages immediately, it will likely still be a long wait before any trailers or release dates happen. Thankfully for fans of the show, there is already the perfect replacement ongoing that will act as a great substitute. The latest hit zombie show takes aspects of The Last of Us while also having its own unique elements in addition to an already established fan base, making it the best replacement.
Unexpectedly, The Walking Dead’s latest spinoff, Daryl Dixon, is the perfect Last of Us replacement. For years, The Walking Dead was not only the biggest zombie show on TV but one of the biggest shows in general. It went to unprecedented heights and gained popularity before the first Last of Us game even came out. HBO’s zombie hit seemed to have replaced The Walking Dead and taken its crown for the best zombie show, which makes it even more surprising that the older franchise is clawing back its relevancy. Having seen such a drastic decline, it appeared The Walking Dead’s best days were behind it, but Daryl Dixon proved otherwise.
With the declining reputation of The Walking Dead, story concerns about Daryl Dixon were inevitable; the show managed to overcome them and achieve positive reviews from audiences and critics. A Walking Dead spinoff is perhaps the last thing people would expect to be the best alternative to The Last of Us, but its story mixes what makes both franchises work to really excel. Fans of The Walking Dead still get to watch a fan-favorite take on walkers, only this time in a brand-new environment. Likewise, The Last of Us fans have some familiar plot points and relationship dynamics to enjoy.
Despite their similarities, Daryl Dixon doesn’t copy The Last of Us. The biggest resemblance between the two shows would be Laurent and Ellie. The Last of Us focuses on Joel trying to deliver Ellie to the Fireflies as she is believed to be immune while Daryl tries to safely escort Laurent across France with the belief that he is special in The Walking Dead spinoff. Ellie and Joel’s relationship is more focused on their direct dynamic and how they influence each other’s lives whereas Daryl’s relationship with Laurent is much less direct and instead the focus is around Daryl and Isabelle, Laurent’s Aunt.
Daryl and Joel also share somewhat similar motivations, with both only agreeing to help because of what they can gain from it. In Daryl’s case it’s returning to America, in Joel’s case it’s for weapons. The two shows even share the comparison of Laurent and Ellie’s birth. Ellie’s mother dies after giving birth to her while Laurent’s mother dies during childbirth after being bitten and turns to a walker before fully giving birth. With all these similarities, it makes sense both would perform well in terms of ratings, yet Daryl Dixon still manages to stand on its own and avoids becoming a Last of Us copycat.
With The Walking Dead concluding in 2022, it looked like the franchise had run out of steam, but Daryl Dixon has reinvigorated the whole franchise. Relocating Daryl to France and separating him from the rest of the main cast was a risk, but one that paid off. This allowed for a fresh environment, new characters, enemies, and storylines. All of these factors have led to Daryl Dixon having the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of all The Walking Dead projects. This includes the main show that once pulled 17 million viewers, emphasizing quite how well this spinoff has done.
Daryl Dixon has given new life to The Walking Dead universe and makes the upcoming spinoffs more exciting. The Daryl spinoff has been renewed for a season 2, as has Dead City with Rick Grimes still to return to the franchise in The Ones Who Live. Even if the universe isn’t as popular as it once was, there is no doubt all these new shows bring excitement and the sort of relevancy to The Walking Dead that it hasn’t had in many years. Daryl Dixon may not be direct competition to The Last of Us, but it does offer an alternative for fans desperately waiting for the next season.