Just a few days before the first episode releases, select members of the media have shared their thoughts on the first season of HBO's adaptation of The Last of Us. With Joel played by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey taking on Ellie's role, alongside Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin leading things, the series always had a great shot at success. However, the first wave of reviews pitch The Last of Us as a genuinely excellent piece of TV, and one of the best adaptations of a video game ever.
Unfortunately, Push Square wasn't able to view the TV series prior to release, so we will be watching the episodes and providing coverage at the same time you'll be watching it. For more information on Where to Watch The Last of Us TV Show, click the link. Below you'll find a selection of reviews for The Last of Us.
Empire - 10/10
Comfortably the best adaptation of a video-game ever made: one that deepens the game’s dystopian lore, while staying true to its emotional core. Like the game, it’s a masterpiece, too.
Collidor - 10/10
In everything from the choice of directors to the decision to keep Gustavo Santaolalla’s heartbreaking score from the games, it's clear that Druckmann and Mazin adore this story and took loving care in telling the story of Joel and Ellie in this new way. The Last of Us is a phenomenal retelling of a story that was already one of the best narratives ever told in a video game, and this version highlights the importance of varying perspectives in a way that will only become more important if the series gets a second season. Druckmann and Mazin have taken this unforgettable story and made it richer and more impactful, letting us live with these characters and this world in a way that we couldn’t in the game. The Last of Us is a monumental success, and in this universe of incredible darkness, Mazin and Druckmann show us the light that makes this story so powerful.
Radio Times - 10/10
The Last of Us is the best video game adaptation of all time, and it's also a fantastic TV drama in its own right. If you're on the fence about watching it, do yourself a favour and get involved as soon as possible. Trust us, you'll be infected in no time... infected, that is, with a hunger to watch the next episode.
IGN - 9/10
HBO’s The Last of Us is a breathtaking adaptation of one of the most impactful stories told in video games and brilliantly brings Joel and Ellie’s journey to a whole new audience. Taking the essence of what made the original tale so enduring, it builds out the world of the game while also switching up some aspects to almost entirely stunning effect. Anchored by two outstanding lead performances from Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal, it delivers an enriching show for fans of the PlayStation hit, while also managing to stay welcomingly thrilling to newcomers.
The Telegraph - 4/5
Although the drama mixes up the narrative with flashbacks – including an unexpected film-within-a-film in episode three – The Last of Us's origins as a game are occasionally visible in the relentless sequence of challenges that Ellie and Joel must face. At nine episodes, it feels a little long, even if it is truncated compared to its source material. But in its scale, depiction of dread and its believable vision of friendship in disaster, The Last of Us is a rare piece of television: an adaptation that makes you want to rush out and play the game.
Gizmodo - "Best Video Game Adaptation Ever"
By sucking us in with this post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested setting, The Last of Us is able to use those expectations to shine a light on underappreciated aspects of life. Things like family, friends, love, and a nice hot meal. Lead by two award-worthy lead performances, the show features stunning production design and locations, powerful writing and filmmaking, all in service of putting two characters through a truly gut-wrenching, page-turner of a story. The season has a few peaks and valleys, but the valleys are never that low, and the peaks get incredibly high, resulting in a phenomenal season of television, destined to be one of the year’s best.
Hollywood Reporter - "Powerful Video Game Adaptation"
HBO’s The Last of Us is by far the best video game adaptation ever made for the big or small screen. That’s the blurb HBO wants for this post-apocalyptic tale of desperation, perseverance and zombies, and that’s the blurb HBO is sure to get — because it’s almost incontestably true. At the same time, it undersells just how very good The Last of Us is, simply as a TV show — albeit one existing fans will recognize as closely, at times shot-for-shot and line-for-line, linked to its Naughty Dog source material.
Rolling Stone - "A Finer Version of The Walking Dead"
It is extremely straightforward and simple in what it’s trying to do, but hard-hitting about it. I’ve never played the game, but Druckmann and Mazin have turned it into something that works incredibly well as a television show.
Vanity Fair - "One of the Best Video Game Adaptations Ever"
We already had the loss and despair of Station Eleven just a year ago; The Last of Us only adds more brutality. But the latter show proves rewarding enough, in more than fits and starts, to be worth a chilly winter’s watch. While so much seems to stalk our own streets, threatening to undo us, at least we can take small comfort in the fact that the fungus is, for now, still safely on the other side of the screen.
Entertainment Weekly - 67/100
The scope is vast, for better (soaring vistas, extensive cityscapes) and for worse (one of the premiere's two prologues is pointless). There are big-deal guest leads. The action is fine, functional. One episode completely shifts the game's canon, but some scenes get recreated shot-for-shot. That may work best for newbies, or fans who prefer adaptations barely adapted. It contributes to the feeling of watching someone else's replay.
If you weren't already going to watch, have these reviews convinced you to at least give the TV series a shot? Let us know in the comments below.