New Show “The Last of Us” is Grabbing the Attention of the Public


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Main characters Ellie and Joel on the cover of HBO Max’s new show, The Last of Us.

“The Last of Us” is an action-adventure survival horror game, created by Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment. The series is set in a post-apocalyptic United States ravaged by creatures infected by a mutated fungus. The Last of Us has now turned out to be more than just a video game, it’s now a popular television show produced by HBO Max.

“The Last of Us” takes place 20 years after the destruction of modern civilization. Joel (played by Pedro Pascal), one of the main characters and thus far survivor of the pandemic, is hired to smuggle a 14-year-old girl named Ellie (played by Bella Ramsey) out of a quarantine zone. A simple job quickly turns into a treacherous, dangerous, and heartbreaking journey as they both travel across the United States and are dependent on one another for their own survival.

Across HBO Max, “The Last of Us” debuted with 4.7 million viewers, making it the third largest debut for HBO following right behind “Boardwalk Empire” and “House of the Dragon.” Forbes has stated that, “The second episode was a 22% jump over the first, 4.7 to 5.7 million viewers, and then episode 3 rose 12% over episode 2, up to 6.4 million”.
Why has this show become so popular with the American audience? Simply said, the directors have been able to include real-world problems that are present in today’s society. The show itself is set in a pandemic, which our world has recently just come out of today in 2023. The characters are all portrayed uniquely and demonstrated differently from each other. The cast is also incredibly diverse with characters who are a part of the LGBTQ community, characters of color, characters who are deaf, multilingual characters, etc.

For example, in the third episode of the season, Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank’s (Murray Bartlett) story completely changes, with their story taking over the majority of the show’s third episode. Bill and Frank are two gay men who find each other and we get to see their story through the episode. Their initial meeting is still the same, but Bill and Frank are seen starting a relationship after their initial standoffish encounter. Through this relationship, we as the audience are able to see how easily love can be found throughout a pandemic and such a distraught time.

Beyond this, there is so much meaning and little detail being put into each episode. For example, the most recent episode, “Kin”, was more realistic and devoted a lot of time to developing the bond between Joel and Ellie, who are the two main characters on the journey across the US fighting for survival. Throughout this journey, they develop a father-daughter-like relationship. We see that Joel finally starts to show his fear in this episode because he feels responsible for Ellie more than just as a person, but as her guardian. There is detail that is given to the audience through the way the characters develop throughout the show. For example, Joel starts to get heart pain and starts drinking because of this fear inside him.

There was a lot of science used to create the effects in addition to the show’s culture and attention to detail. The fungi pandemic is the show’s central concept. For this show to be accurate, a great deal of scientific knowledge had to be applied. MPR News stated, “Cordyceps, the fungus in The Last of Us, does not affect humans — it affects insects. But Asiya Gusa does study one of the deadliest fungi infecting humans in the real world, Cryptococcus neoformans. The fungus is found throughout the world. Still, most who are infected do not get sick.”

Although the show has received a lot of hype from the audience, there has been some backlash on the show itself and the actors in the show. The show has gained fan acclaim and cemented its status as a cultural phenomenon because it is based on a popular video game. This series has the duty to live up to the highest of expectations because its fanbase is a passionate and unique alliance with the original game. Nico Parker, who plays Joel’s daughter Sarah, shot down criticism of her casting. In one of the actor’s pictures, someone commented that she had a body and aesthetic that was too glitzy and glamorous to play someone who survives an apocalypse.

The first season of The Last of Us is nine episodes in total, and the first six have now aired as of February 19. That means there are three episodes, and three weeks remaining. This show and game have received a lot of attention from the public, and there is a lot of excitement to see what is coming at the end of the season.