You can have any plot, character, and theme you want in a post-apocalyptic setting. The challenge is to show how the setting affects all those things without overpowering them.
There could be fewer people or more; better technology or worse; familiar settings that have deteriorated but remain recognizable, or unfamiliar ones. The theme could be hopeful or dark. The characters could be any age, kids or teens or adults in or past their prime.
I think a lot of the stories are about the tension between freedom and control. Whatever destroyed society probably resulted in too much of one or the other, and that's a major challenge for the characters. If there's anarchy, how can they establish order? If they live lives that are highly constrained, how can they escape or rebel? Every author has a different focus and a different way of answering the question.
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