‘The Last of Us’ is the best video game to TV series adaptation yet


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“The Last of Us” TV series premiered on HBO on Jan. 15 and releases a new episode once every week for their nine-episode season. Bella Ramsey as Ellie Williams on the left and Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller.

When it comes to adaptations of video games in movies and TV shows, they are often hit or miss, with misses being more common than a hit. However, “The Last of Us” is one of the hits.

The show is based on the 2013 video game of the same name and premiered on Jan. 15 on HBO. It stars Pedro Pascal (“Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” “Wonder Woman 1984”) as Joel Miller, and Bella Ramsey (“Catherine Called Birdy”) as Ellie Williams, both of whom are the main characters from the game.

On the surface, the story for the series may seem like a typical zombie thriller, but like the game it’s based on, the series has more story depth to it than what meets the eye. It’s about the struggles in a post-apocalyptic environment, as well as the relationships that strain and also grow.

So how does a game with a playthrough that lasts over 25 hours work in a nine-episode season? Well, let’s see.

With the show in its first season, the story follows the plot of the first game. It’s about Joel and Ellie going on a cross-country adventure in a post-apocalyptic world. Joel and Ellie encounter infected people and other living people struggling to survive while also dealing with each other.

The performances are well done as both Pascal and Ramsey feel like they are bringing their characters to life with a similar energy to their video game counterparts. Also, the chemistry between the two leads feels genuine and will likely continue to grow as the show progresses.

What’s also interesting is that although the series may include story elements from the game, there are also interesting deviations with world-building. Some examples include changes in location and character traits being altered.

Regarding some deviations, one example in particular worked because of how it added more depth to the relationship of two supporting characters, Henry and Sam, portrayed by Lamar Johnson (“The Hate U Give”) and Keivonn Woodard (“Seeds of Hope: The Andrew Jackson Foster Story”), respectively. In this version, Sam has a condition that his video game counterpart didn’t have.

Though some action and horror scenes with the infected as well as hunters are present, there is some story expansion with other characters.

Another deviation was with the character of Bill, portrayed by Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”), and having an episode devoted to his own story to show how living in that world can be for other people besides Joel and Ellie.

The makeup used for the infected was well-done to make them look all decayed. As for the “clickers” and “bloaters”, which are infected characters that had been affected for much longer, the masks and costumes looked nearly identical to the models from the game.

The show has also made some nods to its source material and the creators by putting a lot of effort into making the show’s world feel similar to the game’s world with how desolate the environments are.

Another interesting element is that musician Gustavo Santoalalla, the composer for the games, also composed the music score for the series. In both the game and the series, the music adds to the somber and intense moods of some scenes.

This series does a good job of adapting its source material while also feeling like its own story. The audience of the show doesn’t have to know the games in order to enjoy it.

With the game’s story as deep as it is, the show excels with its depth in the characters and story alike. Those who have played the game may enjoy the story adapted in its own way, while non-gamers could experience the story without needing to play the game.