Boston in the Movies / TV / Netflix


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Dec 24, 2008
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I didn't see any posts about 'The Last of Us' show on HBO Max. I am finding the series to be worth watching. I haven't played the video game that it's based on.

The plot of the show (based on the video game) is that a fungal infection causes everyone to turn into zombies (I had a fungal infection like that in college). A lucky few survive. The US government tries to save people by setting up FEMA zones (I forget the name) in major cities, after the zombies have taken over and after the government bombs much of the country in order to contain them and to save the survivors (although, spoiler alert: they also kill a bunch of uninfected people because there's nowhere to put them). The government ends up being the bad guy as much as the zombies, which I guess is a bit more pronounced in the show than in the series (spoiler alert: the government starts hanging "traitors" when they misbehave).

So the first couple of episodes take place in post-apocalyptic Boston where the main character guy meets up with a 14-year old girl (spoiler alert: oh, never mind). I think they did a good job of recreating Boston (the show was filmed in Calgary, Alberta, I guess). Lots of the stuff is just CGI (what we used to call mattes).

Anyway, here are some screengrabs. (Explanations before the images, not after.)

The "old" State House (by which they mean, the one that used to be used BZ - before zombies, not the "Old" State House that was the original) where they go to find other anti-govs is a real building presumably up in Canada but I didn't look up where. Close up it doesn't match quite at all.


This is their approximation of the State House on the side where the Hooker Entrance is located.


Gold dome in the distance. Spoiler alert: everyone's dead when they get there.


This is my favorite shot. That's the Sheraton (sic) building to the left, Custom House Tower in the middle and .. incredibly, 75 State Street to the right.


They visit the "Bostonian Museum" to get a look at the city. Rumor is they used to sell a talking Mayor White doll here saying, "Welcome to the Shitty of Bawston."


Nothing can kill it. The old New Boston City Hall outlasted the zombies and the bombings. However, it also spared Quincy Market and Faneuil (sic) Hall.

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Moving on.

So, I realize now I'm putting this up in reverse order and therefore don't make sense linearly; apologies.

Here's the Bostonian Museum. I don't think it's based on any real building in Boston - you tell me. It's supposedly near Faneuil (sic) Hall.


When they leave the DMZ they have to travel to the old New State House so of course it takes them from the North End to the Seaport to the old New State House (don't ask - there's no reasoning for that). I see the Custom House Tower, 125 High Street, Copley Place (?), and International Place (Philip Johnson's "Fuck You" to Boston remains).


Including this one because they walk by a Boston Police cruiser with "Crime Stoppers" on the side.



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A dormer, 75 State Street, and .. palm trees?

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"Lancaster" here means the street, not the House in Game of Thrones (if you know, you know). TBH, I had no idea where she was talking about until I pulled out my Rand McNally.

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I updated Wikipedia because someone had said they went to the "State House" and I was sure they meant "Old" State House until I rewatched with the captions on and realized they meant the old State House.

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There's some topical humor when they are sneaking out of the DMZ by going through the MBTA subway tunnels. Joel, the good guy, who long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away wore a helmet (if you know, you know) says something about back when the city of Boston was changing from being full of apartments to condos. TBH I couldn't quite get his point but I think it had to do with gentrification. This from a guy from Texas.

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They have to bust through the doors of the "Haymarket" subway station. It's the Green Line, I guess.

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They hatch a plan to break out of the DMZ by sneaking underground. Joel is from Texas but somehow "under Haymarket" makes perfect sense to him.

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They're in the North End, you know.

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Yes, that is a sign saying "North Square 1837", accurate to the font! In small print I'm sure it says, "City of Boston, Thomas M. Menino, Mayor".

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Yeah, if you've been bad and snuck out at night, they hang you. They used to do this to witches, they say, on the Boston Common.

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This is the first shot of Boston outside of the DMZ.

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Almost done.

A better shot of outside FEDRA (the DMZ). it's more like the Seaport but geographically they have it more in the North End.

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FEDRA zone. Look at those bay windows!

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Congress Street.

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Boston has been fenced in. I can't guess where this view is from or what the tall building in the distance on the right is. It might be Cambridge, it might be ten miles west of Boston (if you know, you know).

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I really wish I could make this out. It's the establishing shot at the beginning of the episode. There's that lamp post with names on it but they weren't lit enough so I could see. I figured it was the Public Garden but geographically it doesn't make sense. It's more likely to be outside a wardrobe in Narnia (if you know, you know).

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We don't hang witches on Boston Common! That's where we hang heretics*! Witches are sent up to Salem**.

* Ok, one heretic, and we apologized and ever gave her a nice statue.
** Now Danvers, and yes, they were actually local to the area, they weren't sent from Boston.
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Thank you for this! I don't have any desire to watch this but I was curious as to how Boston was depicted.

Still more accurate than Boondock Saints, at least.
It's all Computer Generated effects, and it's certainly not close to reality. LOL The third episode was supposed to be some small village west of Boston. (I think I saw a sign for Lincoln in the episode.) A survivalist makes the village center his own fortified compound to keep out the zombies, bad guys, and government. However, he meets a male-companion along the way. I totally HATE zombie movies and scary movies in general, but I watched the first 3 episodes so I could watch the "gay bear love story" arc within the series. It was a sweet episode.
It’s never very convincing when Canada stands in Boston. The Handmaids Tale is an example that had me particularly distracted because the Boston setting does not seem at all like a realistic stand-in.
It’s never very convincing when Canada stands in Boston. The Handmaids Tale is an example that had me particularly distracted because the Boston setting does not seem at all like a realistic stand-in.

No matter how much love I have for “Fringe” on Fox a while back, everything about the exterior establishing shows and most exterior locations made me giggle, especially when they moved production from NYC to Canada in Season II. Shots of driving from Cambridge/Harvard to Marlborough Street in the Back Bay … via a deserted warehouse/industrial district with a vague, glowing city in the distance? Hilarious. A local buddy and I used to IM (gawd, I’m old …) during the show together on Friday nights and laugh at the incongruity of it all.

As Aaron Sorkin once wrote, “Vancouver looks like Boston, California.”

The other thing that always cracked us up was that Walter’s lab at Harvard was only a 20-minute drive to upstate New York, NYC, and everywhere on the Mid-Atlantic/New England states. I get narrative compression, obliged to meet a 43-minute run time, but it got absurd at times.
I mostly stick to the Maine forum, but thought this new title card was worth putting here...

Any thoughts as to what the leftmost building is, to the left of the Custom House tower? The rest are easy.