It’s been a long time coming, but the live-action adaptation of The Last of Us is finally here. After nearly a decade of bringing Joel and Ellie’s adventure to life in video game form, we now have a new cast, a new medium, and a slight twist on this classic story. The first episode of Nine aired on HBO and Sky Atlantic last night, so we tuned in to see if this highly anticipated novel was worth all the hype.
By now, every gamer out there knows the perfect pitch intro, which drew us to Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us all those years ago. It was quite a task to even cram some of its magic into this new TV format, but by God, director Craig Mazin and video game director Neil Druckmann managed it and then some.
Mazen and his colleagues have perfectly packaged The Last Of Us’ tone, while somehow making it entertaining for beginners and veterans alike. As you can imagine, we are here Push the box I played Naughty Dog’s masterpiece Many Over the years, we’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that the show neatly balances familiar moments from the game with interesting new twists.
One of the deviations mentioned was the pre-apocalyptic extended prologue that follows Sarah, a young girl going through the last day of her normal life – despite her heightened sense of dread. It was great to see this part of the premiere take its time, giving us space to settle into the new version of this world and its characters.
However, once The Last Of Us prequels wrap up, it wastes no time shifting things into Phase 5. Despite knowing how this story unfolded, it was hard not to get sucked into the urgency and panic of the escalating chaos in the first episode. It juggles your expectations too with some neat fake-outs for video game fans, and there’s no shortage of real, “sacred” moments. What we liked most is how natural everything was. There was no camera wink, easter eggs, or anything that would baffle someone who hasn’t played the game. It’s a really good job.
And then there that Scene. It’s just as heartbreaking as you’ll remember it, with great turns from Nico Parker as Sarah and Pedro Pascal as Joel. And we can’t go on without mentioning Gabriel Luna as Tommy, who slips into the role flawlessly despite his limited screen time.
Following in the footsteps of the game, we’re pushed two decades into the future before our eyes even have time to dry. While this interpretation is a little trickier for the whole post-apocalyptic thing, with its vine-coated road signs and crumbling skyscrapers from the get-go, it’s bolstered by fantastically grim reintroductions to its world and, more specifically, Joel Pascal. Pascal excels here as he manages to capture decades of agony without saying a word.
While we won’t spoil the changes to the narrative here, this feels like a more streamlined take on the game’s setting, but still manages to enjoy the smaller moments. The details shown in the Boston Quarantine Area bring this world to life, too. And even though the opening is less violent than the game, you still get a sense of the potential for characters like Tess (Anna Torv), Marlene (Merle Dandridge), and especially Joel.
To briefly mention Bella Ramsey, who doesn’t get as much time as Elle here, we’re not yet completely sold on her performance as the foul-mouthed teen. However, as we get more time with Ellie as the series progresses, we think Ramsey will have plenty of opportunities to win us over.
In the end, this is an incredibly strong start to this long-awaited series. It feels sincere in all the right ways but is still skewed enough to make it interesting for those familiar with the source material. Mazen and his colleagues managed to capture the tone of the series perfectly and we can’t wait to relive this story through their lenses.
To find out when you can listen to the next episode, tap Where to watch The Last of Us TV show Instructs. In addition, we have Full cast list Provides more details about the cast and characters. Once you’ve watched the first episode for yourself, put a vote in our poll and share your first impressions in the comments below.
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