The Last of Us Season 1 Review

By Ricky Valero
Published: February 5, 2023 (Last updated: March 9, 2023)
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Pedro Pascal gives an award-worthy performance as The Last of Us delivers one of the best video game adaptations to date.

We review the HBO series The Last of Us Season 1, which does not contain spoilers.

n 2014, The Last of Us debuted on PlayStation 3 with some of the best reviews of any game in history. Finally, after many years of trying to release it as a film or as a series, HBO announced in November 2020 that it was greenlit for a series. Does the adaptation live up to the hype? Or is it another lackluster attempt at bringing a great video game to life? Let’s dive in.

The Last of Us Season 1 Review and Plot Summary

The Last of Us follows a 14-year-old girl who might be the world’s last hope as a global pandemic destroyed civilization.

As a massive fan of the video game, I was worried that we would see this fall into the trap of trying to overdo certain aspects of the story or that they would try to “Hollywood-ize” it like they do everything else. For the most part, the creators did a great job of not only building a world that allowed the fans of the game the comfort of seeing their favorite game transported beautifully onto the small screen but also reeling in new viewers that either never heard of the game, or were invested for different reasons.

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I spoke to so many people on both sides of this, and each of them praised not having to play the game to understand, or they did play the game and loved it. Personally, it is one of the better video game adaptations in recent times. It also gives hope to some of the other games we all love that we’ve wanted to see painted in this light to hopefully come to fruition in the same way The Last of Us did.

Production designer John Paino and Set Decorator Paul Healy had probably the hardest jobs of anyone in this series. The video game has some of the most beautiful designs, and having to bring that to life couldn’t have been easy. However, this team of people deserves all the credit because I felt fully immersed in this world, just as I did when I played the game. I was blown away by their work.

The casting of Pedro Pascal was another brilliant choice by the creators because we see a much softer side to Pascal that we’ve never really seen before. Early on in the foundation of Joel and Ellie’s relationship, you watch a man struggle to show empathy, but as each episode goes on, you see this growth and the little things that Pascal does within this character, all the way down to his laugh, makes for the perfect Joel. I give plenty of credit to Bella Ramsey because she is great as Ellie.

Is The Last of Us Season 1 good?

Yes, it is good. I’ve seen people say The Last of Us is one of the greatest TV series of all time, and I simply ask them to watch more TV. I thought many things worked in the series, but episodes 2 and 3 felt a little underwhelming for me to consider this one of the greatest. That said, the work behind the camera and in front of the camera shows that the people that worked on this project knew how important it was to get this right. It’s hands down one of the best video game adaptations we’ve seen (the bar is low, though), and I can’t wait for season two.

What did you think of The Last of Us Season 1? Comment below.

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