HBO's The Last of Us (premiering Sunday, Jan. 15 at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO Max, Crave in Canada), is not only gritty, emotional and just down right riveting, but it's the best adaptation of a video game we've seen.
Starring Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller and Bella Ramsey as Ellie Williams, featuring several other notable actors including Murray Bartlett (The White Lotus), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and Melanie Lynskey (Yellowjackets), the star-studded cast packs a punch and elevates this engrossing story.
Bottom line, The Last of Us will likely be your next TV/streaming obsession, whether you're a fan of the video game, or not.
What is 'The Last of Us' about?
The Last of Us is based on the popular PlayStation video game of the same name, developed by Naughty Dog and initially released in 2013. The universe expanded throughout the years and in 2022, the remastered The Last Of Us Part 1 was released to largely rave reviews.
The Last of Us HBO series takes you on a journey with Joel, decades after the apocalypse that destroyed the modern world, as he tries to smuggle 14-year-old orphan Ellie out of the quarantine zone.
In this universe there's a threat of these zombie-like creatures, which are actually humans who have been infected by Cordyceps, causing a brain infection that turns humans into monsters. There is no cure and no possible vaccine, while there are still some pockets of humanity fighting to avoid infection and survive.
Some, like Joel, remember how life was changed by this outbreak, while others, like Ellie who was born after the outbreak, only knows a world that is Cordyceps-infected.
Weaving in a number of flashbacks, The Last of Us is an affecting story of survival.
Is 'The Last of Us' worth watching?
Video games adapted to TV shows and movies have often fallen flat but The Last of Us showcases impressively deep and dynamic storytelling, with the narrative pulled from this beloved video game world.
There's nail-biting tension, jolting action sequences and heartbreaking emotional moments that make for a fully realized plot, and gives The Last of Us a sort of maturity in its expressiveness.
Some of the images can be stomach turning, particularly when paired with the kind of slow burn suspense the series utilizes frequently, but all nine episodes will have you experiencing a wide range of emotions.
Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal are an attractive pair. Their characters are skeptical of each other at the outset, they bicker but ultimately need each other to survive, with the relationship evolving to include the necessary laughter that cuts through some of the tension.
Fans of the game should expect to see the adaptation handled with grace and respect, while newbies shouldn't need to know the details of the game to feel captivated by this show.
HBO has really taken a big step in elevating the zombie genre, and we're very much on board.