That’s the question surrounding HBO’s The Last of Us. An adaptation of the revered 2013 PlayStation game that follows a pair of Americans attempting to survive after a climate-change-fueled fungus turns much of the world’s population into infectious mutants.
With a season-one budget reportedly exceeding each of the first five seasons of Game of Thrones.
The Last of Us is punctuated by intense action sequences and elaborately rendered practical and visual effects. It’s also full of recognizable twists and themes. Though it is technically not a zombie-apocalypse show. Its rhythms and survivalist details the endless graveyards of abandoned vehicles. The joy found in an expired but still edible can of Chef Boyardee bring back memories of The Walking Dead and other titles of its ilk. Even if The Last of Us treads familiar ground. It is still a gripping and ambitious work that seems fated to become the premium cable network’s next Twitter-trending hit.
An early sequence following Joel; his daughter, Sarah; and his younger brother, Tommy,
As they attempt to flee a contaminated Austin, Texas, is practically a shot-for-shot re-creation of the game’s opening minutes. The camera capturing imagery of burning houses and panicked civilians through the windshield of the family’s car. Episode three, the best of the season, takes a complete detour to explore the pandemic-era evolution of the intimacy between a doomsday prepper named Bill. A minor character in the game, and Frank, an artist played by Murray Bartlett.
How much these two men grow to love each other is treated with the same import as whether or not they can continue to survive. That’s because The Last of Us is equally as interested in showing us the freaky details of this fungal environment. Ultimately, though, it’s the dynamic between Joel and Ellie that commands the most attention and progresses with the greatest degree of patience. During its clicker-evading odyssey. The Last of Us makes a point of pausing to acknowledge how much humans take for granted and how easily it could all disappear. It’s certainly not the first work of fiction to take note of that.