‘The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon’ first reviews draw comparisons to ‘The Last Of Us’
Norman Reedus returns in the second post-Walking Dead spin-off following Dead City, which centred around Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
In The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, which has already been renewed for a second season, the character finds himself escorting a young girl who might be humanity’s saviour across post-apocalyptic France.
The premise echoes the Joel and Ellie dynamic of HBO’s The Last Of Us. While reviews from critics do highlight some differences between the two shows, the comparison is repeatedly noted as a potential sticking point.
“While this spin-off is often derivative, with some moments becoming almost comical in how much they feel like The Last Of Us-lite, Daryl himself is a study foundation to build from,” Collider writes, giving the show a ‘B’ rating. “After fading into the background in the original series, his taking centre stage here is a nice change of pace.”
In a review on IGN, the show is described as a return to form for the franchise, albeit one which is “similar enough” to The Last Of Us to “draw negative comparisons”.
“The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is the best thing the franchise has done in years,” the review reads. “Too many years, in fact. Daryl felt like a lost cause for a while, despite him being given more to do on the original series after Rick’s departure, but this series, for as ridiculous as the ‘Daryl in Paris’ logline sounds, is solid as heck.”
TheWrap were similarly positive, writing: “Can it resuscitate a franchise many feel has long-since died? The jury is still out. But as a standalone entry, The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is a surprisingly gorgeous, soul-stirring, and riveting watch. Norman Reedus said they were making art with this show. And you know what? He wasn’t lying.”
TotalFilm, meanwhile, were more hesitant with praise: “Those who have been entrenched in The Walking Dead fandom since the beginning might want more from Daryl Dixon. Now we know the apocalypse started in France thanks to The Walking Dead: World Beyond, perhaps fans will be hoping for more of a backwards-looking show that details how it all kicked off. Instead, we get something a little deeper, a little more human, as Reedus’s Daryl gets lost, finds a purpose, and wrestles with what it means to belong.”
Speaking in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Greg Nicotero addressed the show’s similarities with The Last Of Us.
“I remember watching the first episode of The Last Of Us and going, ‘Ummm… guys?’” Nicotero said. “We were already deep into production when The Last Of Us came out. I enjoyed The Last Of Us tremendously.”
His explanation, however, doesn’t entirely add up considering the HBO show is based on the highly popular video game from 2013.
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon premieres on September 10 on AMC in the US. A UK release date has yet to be announced.