It’s been a long time coming, but the live-action adaptation of The Last of Us is finally here. After nearly a decade of reviving Joel and Ellie’s adventures in video game form, we now have a new cast, new medium, and a slightly altered version of this classic story. Episode one of nine aired last night on HBO and Sky Atlantic, so we tuned in to see if this highly anticipated retelling was worth all the hype.
By now, every gamer out there knows about the pitch-perfect prologue that drew us into Naughty Dog’s The Last of You all those years ago. It was also a tall order to muster some of its magic into this new television format, but by god, director Craig Mazin and video game director Neil Druckmann managed it and then some.
Mazin and co capture the tone of The Last of Us perfectly, while somehow making it entertaining for both newbies and veterans alike. As you can imagine, here we are push square Naughty dog has played a masterpiece A lot of things Over the years, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that the show balanced the game’s familiar moments with new and interesting behaviors.
One of said distractions was the far-fetched pre-apocalyptic prologue that follows Sarah, a young girl going about her last day of normalcy – albeit armed with a growing sense of dread. It was nice to see this part of the premiere take its time, giving us room to settle into the new version of this world and its characters.
However, once the introduction to The Last of Us is over, it wastes no time shifting things into fifth gear. Despite knowing how this story goes, it was hard not to get caught up in the urgency and panic of an episode of Chaos. It also plays with your expectations for video game fans with some neat fake-outs, and no shortage of genuine “holy sh*t” moments. What we loved even more was how natural it all felt. There were no winks at the camera, easter eggs, or anything that would puzzle someone who hadn’t played the game. It’s really well done.
And then there is that the view It’s just as heartbreaking as you remember, with great turns from both Nico Parker as Sarah and Pedro Pascal as Joel. And we can’t go on without mentioning Gabriel Luna as Tommy, who slips into a flawless role despite having so little screen time.
Following in the game’s footsteps, we’re thrust two decades into the future before our eyes even have time to dry. While this interpretation gets a little heavy handed for the whole post-apocalyptic thing, with vine-wrapped road signs and skyscrapers crumbling from traffic, it backs it up with a wonderfully dark reintroduction to its world, and especially, Pascal’s Joel. Pascal excels here as he manages to capture decades of torture without uttering a single word.
While we won’t spoil the narrative changes here, it feels like a much more streamlined version of the game’s set-up, but one that still manages to be enjoyable in the small moments. The detail displayed in the Boston Quarantine Zone really brings this world to life as well. And while the opener is decidedly less violently inclined than the game, you still get a sense of the capabilities of characters like Tess (Anna Torv), Marlene (Merle Dandridge), and especially Joel.
To make a brief mention of Bella Ramsey, who doesn’t get full time here as Ellie, we’re still not entirely sold on her performance as the foul-mouthed young man. However, as the series progresses and we get more time with Ellie, we doubt Ramsay will have many chances to win us over.
Ultimately, this is a great start to this long-awaited series. It feels faithful in all the right ways but still deviates enough to make it interesting for those familiar with the source material. Mazin and co have managed to capture the tone of the series perfectly and we can’t wait to relive this story through their lens.
To find out when you can tune in for the next episode, click us Where to watch our TV show In addition to the guide, our Full cast list Provides more details about actors and characters. Once you’ve watched the first episode yourself, cast a vote in our poll and share your first impressions in the comments below.
Check the latest gaming news here.