THE Last of Us, a hugely popular video game about a smuggler and a young female teenager trying to survive a post-apocalyptic world is now an HBO TV series. Episode one streamed over the weekend and so far the reviews are in and it’s really really good.
Rotten Tomatoes ratings aggregator had the series at 99% based on 117 reviews. Critics say it’s the best live-action adaptation based on a video game and the cast received equal praise.
A great story and a great cast
The new series stars Pedro Pascal, whom you may know for his role in the insanely popular Disney Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian.
He plays Joel, a smuggler who is tasked to take a 14 year old girl named Ellie –played by Bella Ramsey from Game of Thrones fame– to a group of rebels called the Fireflies. He only agreed to this arrangement in exchange for getting supplies and transportation to help him look for his long lost brother.
Danger and mayhem follow them everywhere as they try to survive a slew of hostile survivors and humans who turned into flesh eating creatures along the way.
Ellie is a teenager who seems to have immunity from the fungus that turned millions of people into these zombie-like creatures. All hope and survival relies on the possibility that her genes might be the cure to the infection that has devastated the United States.
For 20 years since the mass infection started, Joel had been plagued by the trauma of his daughter’s death. He turned into this hardened, contraband dealing smuggler who occasionally drew flashbacks from that fateful night.
What makes the storyline stand out for a video game adaptation is the focus on the imminent connection that will develop between Joel and this teenage girl he needs to protect. The possibility that this will cull memories of his dead daughter and can bring about a burgeoning affinity towards Ellie make it more compelling.
Pascal and another HBO hit
Pascal received universal praise from the critics for his performance in the series. After his success with the Mandalorian, several offers to do new pilots were coming from the networks but he chose The Last of Us partly because working with co-creator Craig Mazin was appealing. It took him only 24 hours to decide to sign on the dotted line.
So far the numbers are exceptional. 4.7 million people watched the first episode, making it the 2nd best debut in HBO’s history. The House of the Dragon is number one.
Millions of fans of both the game and the TV series are in for another round of success for this franchise. And if the numbers and the feedback are any indication, HBO has just reached another milestone in their quest to give their viewers quality content.
By the way, trust that after watching this cinematic gem, listening to an 80s song will never be the same.
The ending is the dopest thing. Trouble is coming.