The Last of Us Season 1 Review
The Best Survival Horror Series Since Season 1 of the Walking Dead
Score 9/10 - Highly Recommended
Posted by Anthony DeRouen | March 13th, 2023
The Last of Us is a live-action adaptation from the hit Playstation video game series. If you're familiar with the video game and subsequent show then this spoiler-free review will be old hat.
If you're like me and didn't play The Last of Us all the way through (or at all) then read on! Chernobyl showrunner Craig Mazin was a fan of the video game and Neil Druckmann was a fan of the HBO series Chernobyl, so naturally they pitched the idea to HBO for a television series. Three years later we are given a big-budget character drama with strong horror elements that rivals The Walking Dead's best days.
Much has been said about The Last of Us already, so I'll keep it short and sweet, and to the point. This is a high-production series that excels on the strengths of its lead cast and attention to character development and pacing. If you were a fan of the early Walking Dead then this series is for you. If you're a fan of video game adaptations (and wish most weren't horrible!) this series is for you. If you're a fan of survival horror then this series is definitely for you. Hell, if you're a fan of drama and have never watched anything resembling survival horror I would recommend The Last of Us.
The story of The Last of Us centers around a fungus that jumps species and decimates mankind. Our protagonists are forced to fend off grotesque, hostile humans and other cannibalistic creatures. The employment of the cordyceps fungus is particularly inventive and serves the narrative across multiple levels. If you're thinking Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets True Grit you wouldn't be too far off.
What makes this series really shine is the emphasis on not passing up the video game storyline or adding filler. This ensures what we receive is top-notch drama. Looking back - the Resident Evil film franchise had all the time and resources to put out quality movies but consistently failed. The Walking Dead had a stellar first few seasons, but filler (among other issues) did it in.
The nine episodes of The Last of Us are self contained arcs. This is a fluid story featuring many quality actors who only see an hour of screen time before Joel (played by Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (played by Bella Ramsey) move on. The urgency of their presences are powerfully felt. This show has a finite space among the stars so every scene and line carries substantial weight.
What makes this series really shine is the emphasis on not passing up the video game storyline or adding filler.
This is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that is worth the price of subbing HBO Max. They offer multiple streaming options for decent rates. I went with the ad-supported plan for $9.99 and was pleasantly surprised at the minimum number of ads which ran at the beginning of the show.
So knowing all of that let's sit back and enjoy a television series that may only stick around for three to for seasons but will give us lasting memories for twice that time. Let's also appreciate the creative talent's restraint for refusing to milk a solid IP for a few more paychecks. God knows HBO is just as guilty as AMC when it comes to milking franchises.