You Need to Watch “The Last of Us”


If you’ve got a finger on the pulse of the video game world, then you probably heard about the critically acclaimed 2013 hit “The Last of Us” long before I did. It was one of the most popular games of the 2010s, taking over the internet with its gritty action-adventure style and movie-like graphics.

But if you’re like me, whose gaming experience has never extended further than a late-night Minecraft run with friends, the game may have eluded you. That is, until earlier this year, when HBO released the first episode of their TV adaptation of the game.

I’m not a die-hard game lover by any means, but if I’m anything, I’m faithful to a 10-episode HBO miniseries (or anything HBO does, for that matter). So I took a chance and watched the first episode.

I was about ten minutes in when I realized this was going to be far more than a casual one episode experience. I was enthralled.

“The Last of Us” tells the story of a post-apocalyptic society destroyed by a mutated fungal disease that transforms humans into flesh eating monsters of nightmarish proportions. Amidst this chaos, a world-weary smuggler named Joel (Pedro Pascal) is tasked with a cross country journey and a special kind of cargo: Ellie (Bella Ramsey), a 14-year-old girl with a secret that has the potential to change the world.

With a typically high HBO budget (some estimates say $10 million per episode), showmakers had no problem bringing the special effects of the animated game onto the silver screen.

But the real magic of the show lies with the people.

“TLOU” is a show unabashedly reliant on the charisma present between its two lead actors. It’s a risky aspect to bank on, but one that pays off, thanks to the sincere performances of Pascal, Ramsey, and just about everyone else they come across.

Episodes aren’t made by action; they’re not afraid to include heartwarming, albeit mundane, moments of their lives along the journey. Little moments, like explaining what football is to a teenager born after the end of the world, bring the viewer right alongside the stars. Then, when it’s time for action, it delivers — and it’s all the more suspenseful and shocking because of it.

If you’re not big on the heart-pounding moments, there’s still plenty of emotional moments.

HBO has also successfully captured a part of television that I’ve missed. Episodes are released on Sunday night each week, killing the ability to binge, but simultaneously adding weight to their cliffhangers and uniting an audience around it. There’s nothing like watching a show for the first time while millions of others across the country tune in as well. And there’s nothing like seeing the credits roll and yelling at your TV, knowing it’ll be a full week before you know what happens next.

It’s not too late to experience the last few episodes of the show in real time. Don’t ignore one of the best shows being released right now. And don’t miss the chance to catch it live.