HBO’s series ‘The Last of Us’ builds on original video game

Matthew Tadle, Community Editor


HBO Max’s “The Last of Us” is a drama series written and produced by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann. The highly anticipated show is set in a post apocalyptic world where the entire human civilization has been taken over by a Cordyceps fungal infection, causing people to turn into zombie-like creatures. Running from January 2023 through mid March, “The Last of Us” is based on the iconic Playstation 3 game. The game was released in 2013 and remastered for Playstation 4 the following year. Despite show and film adaptations of video games being notorious for having inconsistent praise, the show has received stellar ratings, including a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 9.1 out of 10 on IMDB. While viewers have found much to adore about the show, arguably the most likable aspect is the chemistry between its two protagonists, Ellie and Joel.

This dystopian story follows Joel, played by Pedro Pascal, and Ellie, played by Bella Ramsey. The two embark on a mission to deliver Ellie to the rebel group known as the Fireflies, as she is supposedly the last hope to save mankind due to her unusual immunity to the Cordyceps infection. After escaping from the safety of the Boston Quarantine Zone (QZ) controlled by the military authority FEDRA, the two face hordes of infected, meet unlikely allies and forge an impenetrable bond.

“Seeing Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal perform in ‘The Last of Us’ is awesome, especially after seeing their work in ‘Game of Thrones,’” says Jacob Diehl (’24). “The father-daughter dynamic they share is really cool to watch develop.”

Since 2013, the developers for “The Last of Us” video game, Naughty Dog, have been nominated for and received many awards; this includes multiple BAFTAs. They also created a sequel, as well as a remake of the original “The Last of Us” game released in September 2022. The show closely follows many details of the source material, however, what fans of the show and the original game seem to love most is when it doesn’t. The show finds ways to elaborate on, and sometimes completely change, characters and stories from the original game, all in the span of nine roughly hour-long episodes. For example, episode three diverges from the main plot surrounding Joel and Ellie by introducing Bill, an already complex character from the game. Nick Offerman’s portrayal in the episode remains true to Bill’s character and personality from the game, while providing a compelling backstory and elaborating on his relationship with his loving partner, Frank.

Thanks to the overwhelming praise the show has received, it has already been renewed for a second season. It is likely that this continuation will follow the events of the game’s sequel, “The Last of Us Part: II,” which was released in summer 2020.

“I really love this series and I’m really excited to see Bella Ramsey continue to play Ellie in the next season.” Mayah Kyereboah (’24) said.