Ross: HBO’s ‘The Last Of Us’ is a worthy game adaption, quality television



Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey star in HBO’s new television remake of the popular videogame “The Last of Us.”

Atticus Ross, Staff Writer

In the last few years, due in part to the pandemic, streaming services have grown insanely popular and have adapted to produce their own content, allowing fans to watch from the comfort of their homes. HBO Max consistently pumps out quality content, including “Euphoria,” “Succession,” “Barry,” “The White Lotus” and “Game of Thrones,” which drew large audiences of fans as well as critical acclaim. 

HBO uses a week-to-week schedule that drops new episodes every Sunday. This release strategy allows for shows to build up hype and conversation, contrasting many streaming platforms, such as Netflix, which release a whole season in one day. HBO’s “The Last Of Us” continues the trend and has already become one of its most successful shows to date.

The show is based on the popular Playstation game, The Last of Us, released in 2013. The setting is an apocalyptic United States overrun by fungal zombies. 

Craig Maizen, a producer and writer for HBO’s adaptation of the game, comes from the success of “Chernobyl,” which he also wrote and produced. Neil Druckman, an original writer of “The Last Of Us” and co-director of the game, also helped write the show’s script and even directed the second episode. This helps keep the show faithful to the game but also allows for fresh additions and changes. These make the transition from game to TV more seamless and help create a better and more investing story.

What makes the show so intriguing is the science behind it and the contrast of how real it feels compared to your average run-of-the-mill zombie media. The zombification process doesn’t stem from a viral infection but from the Cordyceps fungus. Cordyceps, or Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, is a real-life fungus that can infect ants and turn them into so-called zombies. Especially after the pandemic, the show becomes even more realistic and scary, making the audience feel like this could actually happen.

One reason why the franchise works so well on-screen is due to good acting. The two leads — Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey — encapsulate their characters from the game — Joel and Ellie —  faithfully and with so much depth. You really care about them and their stores. Both play very complex characters who are thrown into the fight for their lives. Supporting characters also play a large role in the show’s appeal, with many leaving a substantial impact on viewers.

“The Last Of Us” is a breath of fresh air from typical zombie shows thanks to its creative, new ideas. The show has great set locations that allow for excellent cinematography of landscapes, is incredibly well written and has superb acting all around. Though the show is very bleak, it provides a horrifyingly real look at what would happen to society and the lengths we would have to go to to survive.

Most game adaptations fail to appease their fans, but many fans of “The Last Of Us” were relieved to see their favorite game successfully re-invented in a live-action performance.