The Last of Us HBO Series


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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 09: (L-R) Lamar Johnson, Jeffrey Pierce, Storm Reid, Nico Parker, Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Merle Dandridge and Gabriel Luna attend the Los Angeles Premiere of HBO’s “The Last Of Us” at Regency Village Theatre on January 09, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

HBO released the first episode of the 2013 video game “The Last of Us” on Jan. 15, 2023, and will continue to release an episode every Sunday until Mar. 12. Already the show has been set to renew for a second season and has become one of the most popular HBO shows following its debut alongside “House of the Dragon.” 

The show stars Pedro Pascal playing Joel Miller whose job is to bring a 14-year-old girl named Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to a research facility that believes her immune self will provide a cure to the infection that has plagued mankind.

Most of the storyline is carried out by a protagonist that holds a grip on many of the viewers’ emotions despite being emotionally unavailable himself. This is a persona that will dwindle when around the comical Ellie who uses her sarcasm as a defense mechanism. 

As for the casting of these characters, like every adaptation, they have received backlash. People have mainly commented on Pedro’s beard and ethnicity for not accurately resembling his character. 

Bella had toxic fans bringing down her entire appearance and in response, she said, “It’s only recently that I’ve accepted I am Ellie, and I can do it, and I am a good actor. But this will last for a few weeks and then I’ll think I’m terrible again. That’s just the process.” 

However, despite this harsh feedback they have talentedly delivered their roles immersing the audience in their action-adventure world and not much negativity can be found towards their acting skills. 

Fans of the game were also doubtful of how drastic the differences would be because whether it is an adaptation from a book, play, comic, or video game, changes are bound to happen. 

Neil Druckmann, the writer of the game, switched his creative vision to fulfill a better outlook on the story after the audience changed from players to viewers. He says in a Variety interview, “Everything is only seen through the [player’s] perspective. If we were to shoot those sequences as is, they would make for pretty boring action sequences. So one of the easiest decisions we made was like to say, ‘Let’s strip all those out. Let’s only have as much violence in this story as is required and no more.’ That allows the violence to have even more impact when you see it on screen than in the game.” 

As for Craig Mazin, creator of the show, he says, “But ‘The Last of Us,’ more than any other video game I’ve ever played, connected me to character and relationship. And the relationship between Joel and Ellie was the thing that we wanted to pull through the most.”

Both claim that any changes they add will be free of nonsense and simply enhance the story. 

As for the run-down on the skillful cinematography by Ksenia Sereda and Eben Bolter,

They captured a devastated and treacherous storyline with the use of faded colors, hand-held cameras, many close-ups, and a wide-range of settings. 

All this artistry tied into the show with its decade-long fanbase has led to a 93% rating of people who liked it, 4.7 million people who watched it on its release date, (now over 20 million viewers) and number one on top trending shows.  

The show had been highly anticipated since 2020 when it was first announced to be in production and according to the stats, has seemingly met up to many of the fans’ expectations.