What The Stand, The Walking Dead & Falling Skies, have in common. Be it zombies, a terrible flu or an alien invasion, the plot line has more similar elements than you’d think. Here I present five key plot elements that link these TV series, comic books and novel (now in adaptation for a graphic novel).
1st. Help! Everybody is dead!
This is as a good starting point as any. There you are, calm and quiet, living your honest to goodness normal, boring life, and it hits: zombie attack, alien invasion, Captain Tripp's. Nobody knows what’s really going on, but you don’t care to find out: you’re the one that’s running for dear life with your boys, like Rick Grimes and Tom Mason did. Or you have buried each one of your beloved ones and have decided to hit the road, like Larry Underwood and Frances Goldsmith did. Whatever else you were doing before: studying, working as a college professor, getting pregnant…is going to have to wait.
2nd. Stop it! Everybody is fighting each other!
And here comes one of our personality/humanity problems. We do not trust our neighbors; we try to help each other but fail or run away when a bigger, bullying band attacks us and tries to steal our supplies. Besides this unknown thing that has destroyed our way of living, we have ye another problem: other humans. Some are scary and unworldly, like Randall Flagg in The Stand; others are downright mean, like the evil town-boss known as The Governor in the Walking Dead, and there are those in the middle, like the Falling Skies renegade & chef, John Pope.
3rd. Them! Let’s fight them together instead!
But, eventually, we will overcome our fears, find new allies and try to start a new way of life. We settle camp in the safest spot we can find, and get on the move again when that safe spot fails us. We fight, occasionally, with zombies and critters from outer space, and we get our bearings: Were we are right now, what we should do from now on. We find a common goal, and yes, you have guessed what it will be: we are going to fight a common enemy instead of fighting each other. A set of evil people, the aliens/zombies themselves, or all of them. We will stick to a plan, and design a strategy to win.
4th. Whoa! It’s nearly impossible to win this!
Yes, the plot thickens. We are now a good number of well-meant people; we live in a town (Alexandria, Boulder) and have guns, food supplies and a certain amount of organization. We can even be called an army on the move, like the 2nd. Massachusetts. And the fighting begins. Here and there a few skirmishes, some more deadly than others, and each time we fight or defend ourselves we learn a valuable lesson: something to defeat our enemy. We never let our troops to lose hope, and despite every mounting difficulty, we prevail. We will win this… or wont’ we?
5th. Oops! Open grand finale!
Here’s the thing. If you want to make the story believable, there has to be some difficulty, some harshness. Every war has its ups and downs, their dead to mourn, its own mistakes to regret. But you cannot put it too grimly for the viewer, there has to be some light at the end of the tunnel; be it sheer blind luck (no spoilers for the end of The Stand, but thanks Mother Abagail for your enormous advice), a good shot (again, check Falling Skies grand first season Finale) or plain good will. Walking Dead, for one, is yet an ongoing series, and the people we now know and care about, are still standing. The future here is an open one, and we can only hope for the best possible outcome.