The Last of Us (TV series)

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The Last of Us
Genre
Created by
Based onThe Last of Us
by Naughty Dog[a]
Written by
  • Craig Mazin
  • Neil Druckmann
Starring
Theme music composerGustavo Santaolalla
Composers
  • Gustavo Santaolalla
  • David Fleming
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes9
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Greg Spence
  • Cecil O'Connor
Production locationCanada
Cinematography
  • Ksenia Sereda
  • Eben Bolter
  • Christine A. Maier
  • Nadim Carlsen
Editors
  • Timothy A. Good
  • Mark Hartzell
  • Emily Mendez
  • Cindy Mollo
Running time43–81 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkHBO
ReleaseJanuary 15, 2023 (2023-01-15) –
present (present)

The Last of Us is an American post-apocalyptic drama television series created by Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann for HBO. Based on the video game franchise developed by Naughty Dog, the series is set twenty years into a pandemic caused by a mass fungal infection, which causes its hosts to transform into zombie-like creatures and collapses society. The first season, based on the 2013 game, follows Joel (Pedro Pascal), a smuggler tasked with escorting the immune teenager Ellie (Bella Ramsey) across a post-apocalyptic United States. The second season is expected to adapt the 2020 sequel, partly following Abby (Kaitlyn Dever).

Guest stars include Nico Parker as Joel's daughter Sarah, Merle Dandridge as resistance leader Marlene, Anna Torv as Joel's partner Tess, Gabriel Luna as Joel's brother Tommy, Lamar Johnson and Keivonn Montreal Woodard as brothers Henry and Sam, and Melanie Lynskey and Jeffrey Pierce as resistance leader Kathleen and her second-in-command Perry. The second season is set to introduce Isabela Merced as Ellie's romantic interest Dina and Young Mazino as Dina's ex Jesse.

The first season was filmed in Alberta from July 2021 to June 2022, while the second season is being filmed in British Columbia from February to August 2024. It is the first HBO series based on a video game, and is a joint production by Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, Naughty Dog, the Mighty Mint, and Word Games. Druckmann, who wrote and co-directed the games, assisted Mazin with scriptwriting for the first season's nine episodes, joined by Halley Gross, who co-wrote the second game, and Bo Shim for the second season. The score was composed by Gustavo Santaolalla, who composed for the games, and David Fleming.

The Last of Us premiered on January 15, 2023. It received acclaim from critics, who praised the performances, writing, production design, and score; several called it the best adaptation of a video game. It won several awards, including eight Primetime Emmy Awards out of 24 nominations. Across linear channels and HBO Max, the series premiere was watched by 4.7 million viewers on the first day—the second-biggest for HBO since 2010—and almost 40 million within two months; by May, the series averaged almost 32 million viewers per episode. The second season is set to premiere in 2025.

Cast and characters

Main

41 year-old man smiling at something to the left of the camera.
18 year-old girl talking to something to the left of the camera.
Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey portray the lead characters, Joel and Ellie.[5][6]
  • Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller, a hardened middle-aged survivor who is tormented by the trauma of his past.[5][7] Joel is tasked with smuggling a young girl, Ellie, out of a quarantine zone and across the United States.[5] Joel is portrayed as more physically vulnerable in the series compared to the game—he is hard of hearing in one ear and his knees ache when he stands.[8]
  • Bella Ramsey as Ellie, a 14-year-old girl who displays much defiance and anger but has a private need for kinship and belonging.[6] She is strong-willed but has not lost her playfulness, bonding easily with children, and has a fondness for puns.[9][10][11] She is immune to the Cordyceps infection and may be the key to creating a vaccine.[6]

Guest

  • Nico Parker as Sarah, Joel's 14-year-old daughter.[12][13] She cares for her father, playfully teasing him over his behavior and attitude.[14]
  • John Hannah as Dr. Newman, an epidemiologist who issues a warning about the threat of fungi during a talk show in 1968.[15]
  • Merle Dandridge as Marlene, the head of the Fireflies, a resistance movement hoping to gain freedom from the military. Dandridge reprises her role from the video games.[16]
  • Christopher Heyerdahl as Dr. Schoenheist, an epidemiologist on the 1968 talk show who is skeptical of Newman's warning.[17]
  • Brendan Fletcher as Robert, a thug and black market arms dealer in the Boston Quarantine Zone.[18] Robert fears Joel's retribution against his actions.[19]
  • Anna Torv as Tess, a hardened survivor and Joel's partner.[20] Tess is respected in the Boston Quarantine Zone, largely out of fear. She is protective of Ellie during their escort mission.[21]
  • Gabriel Luna as Tommy, Joel's younger brother and who maintains idealism in hoping for a better world.[22] A former Firefly, Tommy gave up on their cause and runs a commune with his wife.[23]
  • Christine Hakim as Ratna Pertiwi, a mycology professor who advises the Indonesian government to bomb Jakarta to slow the spread of the infection,[24] for which she feels hopeless.[25][26]
  • Nick Offerman as Bill, a misanthropic survivalist.[27] Bill's paranoia and distrust of the government left him prepared for the pandemic, protected in an underground bunker.[28]
  • Murray Bartlett as Frank, a survivalist living in an isolated town with Bill.[29] Frank is friendlier and more trusting than Bill, forming a close bond with Tess and Joel.[30]
  • Lamar Johnson as Henry Burrell, who is hiding from a revolutionary movement in Kansas City.[31] Henry is hurt by his own actions but ultimately does them to protect his younger brother Sam.[32]
  • Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen Coghlan, the leader of a revolutionary movement in Kansas City.[33] Kathleen is soft-spoken and outwardly sweet but an intelligent and fierce leader.[34][35]
  • Keivonn Montreal Woodard as Sam, a deaf, artistic eight-year-old child who is hiding with his brother Henry.[31][36][37] Sam was diagnosed with leukemia at a young age.[38]
  • Jeffrey Pierce as Perry, a revolutionary rebel in a quarantine zone who is Kathleen's second-in-command.[39][29] Pierce portrayed Tommy in the video games.[29] Perry is a former military member.[40]
  • John Getz as Eldelstein, a Kansas City doctor who protects Henry and Sam from Kathleen and the rebels.[41][42]
  • Rutina Wesley as Maria, a co-leader of the survivors in Jackson and Tommy's pregnant wife.[43][44] Formerly an assistant district attorney, Maria is calm and merciful in her decisions.[45][43]
  • Graham Greene as Marlon, a Native American hunter who has lived with his wife Florence in the wilderness of Wyoming since before the pandemic.[31][46] Marlon is resourceful and untrusting of strangers.[46]
  • Elaine Miles as Florence, who lives with her husband Marlon.[31] Florence is calm and humorous. Unlike Marlon, she did not want to isolate in the wilderness.[46]
  • Storm Reid as Riley Abel, an orphaned girl who is Ellie's best friend at military school in post-apocalyptic Boston.[47][48] Riley ran away from military school to join the Fireflies, considering the former to be fascists.[49]
  • Scott Shepherd as David, a preacher who leads a struggling community.[50] David is calm and acts as a caring leader,[51] but is manipulative and abusive.[52] He claims to have found God after the outbreak and views the virus as a form of divine justice.[52]
  • Troy Baker as James, David's aide.[53] Baker previously portrayed Joel in the video games.[54] James lacks faith in David but wants to be considered his equal, feeling threatened when Ellie's capabilities threaten to usurp his position.[50]
  • Ashley Johnson as Anna, Ellie's mother.[55] Johnson previously portrayed Ellie in the video games.[54] Anna is resourceful, killing an infected while giving birth. She is close with Marlene; upon giving birth to Ellie, she tasks Marlene with caring for Ellie after she becomes infected.[55]

Season 2

  • Kaitlyn Dever as Abby, a soldier who seeks vengeance for a loved one and subsequently has her worldview challenged.[56]
  • Young Mazino as Jesse, an important member of his community whose selflessness sometimes comes at a cost.[57]
  • Isabela Merced as Dina, Ellie's romantic interest and Jesse's ex. She is a freewheeling spirit with a loyalty towards Ellie, which is challenged by the world's brutality.[58]
  • Catherine O'Hara in an undisclosed guest role[59]

Episodes

Season 1 (2023)

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
1"When You're Lost in the Darkness"Craig MazinCraig Mazin & Neil DruckmannJanuary 15, 2023 (2023-01-15)0.588[60]
2"Infected"Neil DruckmannCraig MazinJanuary 22, 2023 (2023-01-22)0.633[61]
3"Long, Long Time"Peter HoarCraig MazinJanuary 29, 2023 (2023-01-29)0.747[62]
4"Please Hold to My Hand"Jeremy WebbCraig MazinFebruary 5, 2023 (2023-02-05)0.991[63]
5"Endure and Survive"Jeremy WebbCraig MazinFebruary 12, 2023 (2023-02-12)[b]0.382[65]
6"Kin"Jasmila ŽbanićCraig MazinFebruary 19, 2023 (2023-02-19)0.841[66]
7"Left Behind"Liza JohnsonNeil DruckmannFebruary 26, 2023 (2023-02-26)1.083[67]
8"When We Are in Need"Ali AbbasiCraig MazinMarch 5, 2023 (2023-03-05)1.039[68]
9"Look for the Light"Ali AbbasiCraig Mazin & Neil DruckmannMarch 12, 2023 (2023-03-12)1.040[69]

Season 2

Production

Development

A 51 year-old man with a grey beard smiling to the left of the camera.
44 year-old man with short black hair and a beard smirking to the left of the camera.
The Last of Us was created by Craig Mazin (left) and Neil Druckmann (right). Druckmann wrote and co-directed the video game.[70]

A film adaptation of Naughty Dog's 2013 video game The Last of Us was announced in 2014, to be written by the game's writer and creative director Neil Druckmann;[71] it entered development hell by 2016,[72] and the rights had relinquished by 2019,[73] when Mazin met Druckmann.[73] The two agreed that The Last of Us required the length and pacing of a television series.[74] HBO announced the series was in planning stages in March 2020, with Mazin and Druckmann named writers and executive producers, and Carolyn Strauss and Evan Wells executive producers.[70] It is PlayStation Productions's first show,[70][75] announced as a joint production with Sony Pictures Television and Naughty Dog.[76] HBO greenlit the series in November, adding executive producers Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan and production company Word Games,[76] followed by production company the Mighty Mint in January 2021[77] and executive producer Rose Lam in February.[22] The first season's ten-episode count was reduced to nine during production.[78][79]

The Last of Us is believed to be the largest television production in Canadian history, expected to generate over CA$200 million in revenue for Alberta.[80][81][82] Sources suggested the budget was between US$10 million and US$15 million per episode for the first season;[82][83] The New Yorker claimed the series budget exceeded each of the first five seasons of Game of Thrones.[8] The budget is set to increase for the second season.[84] Canadian artists union IATSE 212 claimed the production led to a 30 percent increase in union membership and employment.[85] The first season covers the events of the first game and its downloadable expansion The Last of Us: Left Behind (2014);[86] Druckmann and Mazin suggested a second season would immediately cover the sequel, The Last of Us Part II (2020), to avoid filler;[87] Part II is expected to span multiple seasons,[88] and Mazin does not want the series to overtake the games.[89] The writers ensured characters remained true to their developments in Part II in case the show received more seasons.[90]

On January 27, 2023, less than two weeks after the premiere, HBO renewed the series for a second season.[91] Mazin confirmed plans for a third season if the second is successful,[4] and said the series could run for four or five in total, expecting each to have different episode counts.[84] He is not opposed to spin-off material "in principle", but suggested he would not work on any himself.[92] In January 2024, Kate Herron, Nina Lopez-Corrado, Mark Mylod, and Stephen Williams were announced as directors for the second season alongside Druckmann, Hoar, and Mazin.[93]

Casting

Two men with dark hair, both wearing thick jackets, embracing each other
Pedro Pascal (left) and Gabriel Luna (right) on set playing brothers Joel and Tommy in Canmore, Alberta, in November 2021

Casting took place virtually through Zoom due to the pandemic.[94] Casting director Victoria Thomas wanted to honor the game without being limited by it.[95] On February 10, 2021, Pascal and Ramsey were cast as Joel and Ellie.[5][6] The producers sought actors who could embody Joel and Ellie individually and imitate their relationship.[96]: 14:42  Though both were featured on HBO's Game of Thrones, Pascal and Ramsey had not met before the filming of The Last of Us began but found they had instant chemistry, which developed over production.[97]

Mazin and Thomas sought high-profile guest stars; Thomas said many of the actors "don't usually do one-episode guest spots".[98] Guest roles were announced throughout 2021: Luna in April,[99] Dandridge in May,[16] Parker in June,[12] Pierce, Bartlett, and Torv in July,[29][20] and Offerman in December.[27] This was followed by Reid in January 2022,[47] Baker and Ashley Johnson in June,[54] Lamar Johnson, Woodard, Greene, and Miles in August[31] Lynskey in September,[33] Shepherd in December,[100] and Wesley in January 2023.[44]

Casting for the second season was put on hold in May 2023 due to the Writers Guild of America strike; actors had been auditioning with scenes from The Last of Us Part II due to an absence of scripts.[101] The production team wanted to start the second season's casting with Abby.[84][102] Dever, Mazino, and Merced's casting was announced in January 2024,[56][57][58] followed by O'Hara's in February.[59]

Writing

Halley Gross, who co-wrote The Last of Us Part II, joined the writers' room for the second season.[4]

A post-apocalyptic drama and thriller,[103][104][105] the series is written by Mazin and Druckmann;[70] Mazin wrote all first season episodes except the premiere and finale, which he co-wrote with Druckmann, and the seventh episode, written by Druckmann.[106] A writers' room was established for the second season,[107] with Mazin and Druckmann joined by Halley Gross, who co-wrote Part II with Druckmann, and Bo Shim, a new writer.[4] Druckmann was convinced Mazin was the ideal creative partner for the series after witnessing his passion for the game's story.[87] The writers avoided making "a zombie show",[108] acknowledging the infected creatures were a vessel through which characters are pressured to make interesting decisions and reveal their true selves.[94] Content cut from the game was added to the show.[109] Druckmann said some scripts borrow dialogue directly from the game, while others deviate; some of the game's action-heavy sequences were changed to focus on character drama at the encouragement of HBO.[110] Mazin compared the process to adapting a novel, with identical emotional beats despite different narrative events.[111]

Druckmann felt the most important element of adapting the game was to "keep the soul", particularly character relationships, whereas gameplay and action sequences were of minimal importance.[112] He was open to changing aspects of the games but wanted a strong reason,[113] ensuring he and Mazin considered impacts on later narrative events.[86] The game's outbreak takes place in 2013 with its post-apocalyptic narrative in 2033; this was changed to 2003 and 2023 as the writers felt the events taking place simultaneously with broadcast was more interesting and did not fundamentally change the story.[114][115] They added the outbreak's origins to ground the narrative; following COVID-19, they recognized audiences are more knowledgeable about viral pandemics.[108] The writers removed spores—the vector through which infection is spread in the games—and replaced it with tendrils forming a unified network, inspired by the idea of mycelium.[108] The writers found the series an opportunity to delve into backstories of characters who the game otherwise ignored, wanting to better understand their motivations.[116]

Filming

The first season was filmed in Alberta from July 2021 to June 2022.[117]

The first season filmed for 200 days, with around 18–19 days per episode, amounting to 2–3 pages of script per day.[73] Filming began in Calgary, Alberta, on July 12, 2021.[117][118] It moved to High River and Fort Macleod in July,[119][120] and Calgary in August.[121] Around CA$372,000 was spent for a four-day shoot in Downtown Edmonton in October.[122] Filming moved to Calgary October and November,[123][124] and Canmore in November.[125] Production took place in Okotoks and Waterton Lakes National Park in February 2022,[126][127] Calgary from March to May,[128][129][130] Olds in May and June,[131] and High River in June.[132] Production concluded on June 11,[133][134] followed by additional photography in Kansas City in October.[135]

The second season is filmed in British Columbia,[136] including Vancouver.[137] Delayed by the writers' and actors' strikes,[138] production began on February 12, 2024.[139][140] Running under the working title Mega Sword, it is set to end on August 21.[141]

Music

Gustavo Santaolalla, who worked on the video games, composed the score for the television series.[142]

Santaolalla and David Fleming composed the score for the television series;[142][143] the former wrote its opening theme.[144] He said Latino viewers "will recognize touches" of his music,[145] and drew on his experiences in film and television, having composed the themes and some tracks for Jane the Virgin (2014–2019) and Making a Murderer (2015–2018).[145] He primarily recrafted his previous work instead of creating new music, focusing on elements he found interesting.[146] Fleming's work was inspired by real-world sounds within a decayed civilization.[143] A 66-track soundtrack album for the series was released digitally on February 27.[146]

The first episode features the song "Never Let Me Down Again" by Depeche Mode due to its blend of upbeat sounds and dark lyrics;[147][148]: 40:25  it returned in the sixth episode, performed by Mazin's daughter Jessica, to demonstrate Ellie feeling let down by Joel.[149][150] The third episode uses "Long, Long Time" by Linda Ronstadt, which exhibits themes of unfulfilled love and how time heals wounds, echoing Bill and Frank's relationship;[151] streams increased significantly following the episode's broadcast.[152][153][154] The fourth episode's title references the lyrics of "Alone and Forsaken" by Hank Williams.[155]: 1:01  The seventh episode features "All or None" by Pearl Jam to represent Ellie's loneliness and uncomfortability,[156]: 7:28  reuses Etta James's version of "I Got You Babe" from Left Behind as its romantic lyrics hidden by joyous music mirrored Ellie and Riley's feelings,[156]: 56:28  and uses A-ha's "Take On Me" to reflect their feelings towards each other and illustrate Ellie's journey.[157]

Design and post-production

The first season's production team included five art directors and hundreds of technicians.[82] The game's artists provided feedback on costumes and sets.[94] Costume designer Cynthia Ann Summers found the series more difficult than fantasy or period pieces as the costumes had to be integral to the story without standing out.[158] Production designer John Paino referenced the video game but focused on references used by Naughty Dog during development. He created an image collage which included a photograph of reassembled chairs, which Mazin considered the show's mandate: "the built world is unbuilt and rebuilt".[159] Barrie and Sarah Gower, with whom Mazin had worked on Chernobyl, were engaged to create the prosthetics for the infected.[160]: 0:31 [161][162] Mazin wanted the clickers to resemble the in-game design through prosthetics; he felt using visual effects would have lessened their impact.[163]: 18:24  Choreographer Terry Notary wanted the creatures' movements to imitate each other, akin to schools of fish.[164] Misty Lee and Phillip Kovats, who had worked on the games,[c] returned to voice the clickers for the series.[165]

The first season was edited by Timothy A. Good and Emily Mendez;[8] Mark Hartzell edited the second episode,[166][167] and Cindy Mollo edited the eighth.[168] Mendez worked as Good's assistant editor on the third episode,[169] then as his co-editor for the fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth.[170]: 27:35  Sixteen visual effects teams worked on the series,[171][172] supervised by Alex Wang.[8] The season had over 3,000 visual effects shots;[136] most episodes had around 250.[171] The 650-person team at DNEG worked on 535 shots for the series over 18 months, primarily focusing on environmental effects; field trips were conducted to gather resources, and the team regularly referenced the video games.[173] The visual effects teams consulted with Naughty Dog's concept artists when creating the infected,[8] and used timelapse videos of Cordyceps growth as animation references.[164] Design studio Elastic created the title sequence to demonstrate the "unrelenting nature" of the fungus.[174][175]

Release

Broadcast and home media

The first season premiered in the United States on January 15, 2023.[79] It was broadcast on HBO in the United States,[176] and is available to stream in 4K resolution on HBO Max.[177] The first episode received its red carpet world premiere in Westwood, Los Angeles, on January 9,[178] followed by theater screenings in Budapest and Sydney on January 11,[179][180] and New York City on January 12.[181] Behind-the-scenes videos, titled Inside the Episode, were released on HBO Max and YouTube following each episode,[182][183] and Naughty Dog released Building The Last of Us, featuring interviews with the cast and crew of the series and games.[184][185] The first season was released digitally and on DVD, Blu-ray, and Ultra HD Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on July 17.[186] and in the United States on July 18;[187] The release contains behind-the-scenes featurettes including a short film about adapting the game, a conversation with microbiology and parasitology experts, and the Inside the Episode series.[188]

In December 2023, HBO announced the second season is set to premiere in 2025.[189]

Promotion

To promote the show, Troy Baker, Ashley Johnson, Bella Ramsey, and Pedro Pascal presented Best Action Game at The Game Awards in December 2022.[190]

The Last of Us's marketing campaign utilised "breadcrumb content": small teases to maintain engagement.[191] Emily Giannusa, HBO vice president of marketing, planned promotional material to prove faithfulness to the source but discovered it was unnecessary as fans created it themselves.[191] The marketing team conducted social listening from 2020 to identify non-gaming influencers interested in the series.[192] HBO shared the first image of Pascal and Ramsey in costume in September 2021.[193] The first footage was revealed in a HBO Max trailer during the premiere of House of the Dragon in August 2022.[194][195] The first teaser trailer was released in September,[33] receiving over 17 million views in less than 24 hours[196] and over 57 million organic views in 72 hours, the most-watched promotional video in HBO's history.[191]

The first full trailer was released at CCXP in December,[100][197] marking the promotional campaign "kicking into high gear".[192] Pascal, Ramsey, Baker, and Ashley Johnson presented at The Game Awards 2022 on December 8.[190] HBO announced Baker would host a companion podcast alongside the series, featuring Mazin and Druckmann.[198] A season trailer was released after the airing of the first episode on January 15.[199] Pascal, Ramsey, Bartlett, and Offerman appeared on several talk shows to promote the series,[200][201][202][203] and Pascal and Ramsey appeared on covers of The Hollywood Reporter and Wired.[87][7] On January 27, the first episode was released for free on HBO Max in the United States, and on Sky's YouTube channel in the United Kingdom.[204][205]

Reception

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the first season The Last of Us has an approval rating of 96% based on 481 reviews, with an average rating of 8.75 out of 10.[206] Metacritic calculated an average of 84 out of 100 based on 43 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[207] Several reviewers considered it the best adaptation of a video game;[208][209][210] GameSpot's Mark Delaney wrote it "feels like the beginning of a new era" for the genre.[144] Reviewers praised the differences from the game's narrative,[144][211][212] and some believed the scenes lifted directly from the game were among the weakest and led to issues with pacing.[213][212][214] Critics overwhelmingly considered the third episode the season's best,[215][216][217] and some named it among the greatest episodes of television overall.[210][218] The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg felt it elevated the series to a new level,[219] and Empire's John Nugent called it "moving, surprisingly romantic, and one of the finest hours of television in recent memory".[220] Several critics lauded the production design;[220][221] Digital Spy's David Opie wrote "every set feels like it was ripped straight out of the game".[217]

The cast's performances received widespread acclaim, with critics singling out Pascal and Ramsey's chemistry.[208][227][228] Evening Standard's Vicky Jessop said the two "steal every scene they're in".[229] Empire's Nugent and /Film's Valerie Ettenhofer considered Pascal's performance his career-best, citing his ability to portray nuance and rare vulnerability.[215][220] Several critics found Ramsey gave the show's breakout performance for their balance of comedy and emotion,[210][211][230] with Time's Judy Berman calling them "the show's greatest asset".[216]

Guest performances were highly praised.[222][217][230] Rolling Stone's Alan Sepinwall lauded Parker for "holding the screen" and establishing Sarah as likeable,[223] and Push Square's Aaron Bayne wrote Luna flawlessly "slips into the role" with little screen time.[231] Den of Geek's Bernard Boo found Torv sophisticated and heartbreaking.[232] Offerman and Bartlett's performances were described by Complex's William Goodman as "career-best"[221] and by Inverse's Dais Johnston as Emmy-worthy.[233] Lynskey's performance was praised for juxtaposing humanity and viciousness.[224][234] IGN's Simon Cardy lauded Lamar Johnson's emotional performance in his final scene,[235] and Total Film's Bradley Russell felt the naivety of Woodard's role intensified the narrative.[236] Critics enjoyed Pascal and Luna's chemistry in the sixth episode,[237][238] and Ramsey and Reid's in the seventh;[239][240] Bleeding Cool's Tom Chang called the latter two "award-worthy",[241] and Push Square's Bayne felt Reid effectively captured Riley's sense of "youthful pride".[225] The A.V. Club's David Cote called Shepherd's performance "masterful in its wry, understated charm".[226]

Ratings

The premiere episode had 4.7 million viewers in the United States on its first night of availability, including linear viewers and streams on HBO Max, making it the second-largest debut for HBO since 2010, behind House of the Dragon.[242] The total viewing figure increased to almost 40 million within two months.[243] In Latin America, the series premiere was the biggest HBO Max debut ever.[244] The video games increased their sales following the premiere.[245][246] The second episode had 5.7 million viewers on its first night, an increase of 22 percent from the previous week, the largest second-week audience growth for an original HBO drama series in the network's history.[247] The first two episodes averaged 21.3 million viewers by January 31,[248] the five five almost 30 million by March 6,[249] and the first six 30.4 million by March 12, the highest figure for an HBO series since Game of Thrones's eighth season, surpassing House of the Dragon's ten-episode average.[250] With over three million viewers in the United Kingdom, the ninth episode became Sky's most-viewed finale for an American debut series, topping House of the Dragon's first-season finale.[251] The series broke HBO's subscription video on demand viewer ratings in Europe, and became the most-watched show on HBO Max in Europe and Latin America.[252][253] By May, the series averaged almost 32 million viewers per episode in the United States.[253]

Awards and nominations

The Last of Us is the first live-action video game adaptation to receive major awards consideration.[254] It was nominated for 24 Primetime Emmy Awards, with a leading eight wins at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, including for Offerman and Reid.[255] From major guilds, it won two awards at the Screen Actors Guild Awards[256] and one at the Directors Guild of America Awards,[257] and received two nominations at the Producers Guild of America Awards[258] and Writers Guild of America Awards.[259] It was nominated for three Critics' Choice Television Awards,[260] three Golden Globe Awards,[261] and five TCA Awards,[262] and led the Astra Creative Arts TV Awards with six nominations.[263] In genre awards, the series was nominated for five Saturn Awards.[264] It led the MTV Movie & TV Awards with three wins, including Best Show,[265] and was nominated for six awards at the People's Choice Awards, including Show of the Year.[266] The series earned the biannual Seal of Authentic Representation from the Ruderman Family Foundation for Woodard's role as Sam.[267]

Notes

  1. ^ The Last of Us was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment.[1] Neil Druckmann was the writer and creative director, serving alongside game director Bruce Straley for the first game, and co-game directors Anthony Newman and Kurt Margenau for the second.[2][3] Halley Gross co-wrote the second game.[4]
  2. ^ The episode was released online on HBO Max and HBO on Demand on February 10, 2023, ahead of its broadcast on television to avoid conflicting with Super Bowl LVII.[64]
  3. ^ In addition to providing clicker noises, Phillip Kovats was the audio director of the first game.[165]

References

  1. ^ Tallerico, Brian (January 11, 2023). "New to 'The Last of Us'? Here's What to Know Before It Debuts". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 11, 2023. Retrieved June 14, 2023.
  2. ^ Petit, Carolyn (January 10, 2023). "HBO's The Last Of Us Is A Safe Show That's Caught Between Big Changes, Expectations". Kotaku. G/O Media. Archived from the original on January 10, 2023. Retrieved June 14, 2023.
  3. ^ Wells, Evan (March 9, 2018). "An Update from Studio President Evan Wells". Naughty Dog. Sony Interactive Entertainment. Archived from the original on March 10, 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d Andreeva, Nellie (July 14, 2023). "'The Last Of Us': Co-Creator Craig Mazin Provides Season 2 Status Update, Rules Out Another Bill & Frank Episode, Reveals Season 3 Plans". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on July 15, 2023. Retrieved July 15, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d Andreeva, Nellie (February 10, 2021). "Pedro Pascal To Star As Joel In 'The Last of Us' HBO Series Based On Video Game". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d Kit, Borys; Goldberg, Lesley (February 10, 2021). "'Last of Us': 'Game of Thrones' Breakout Bella Ramsey to Star as Ellie (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. MRC. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Jhaveri, Hemal (January 9, 2023). "Unmasking Pedro Pascal, the Complicated New Face of Sci-Fi". Wired. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on January 9, 2023. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
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