Fans pleasantly surprised by ‘The Last Of Us’ TV adaptation

HBO’s newest hit show provides a surprising turnout.

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HBO Max

Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) are seen venturing the decrepit, disease ridden city in this promotional poster.

The gaming classic “The Last of Us,” which was released back in 2013, has been transformed into an HBO show a decade later, and fans are eating it up. This adaptation honors the original story while making some changes to captivate audiences and add to the realism of an apocalypse.

“The Last of Us” is generally regarded as one of the best apocalypse games to date, with an interesting twist that differentiates it from other classics: the infection spreads via a fungus rather than a virus or parasite. The game follows Joel, a man who lost his only daughter in the chaos the day the fungus took over his city. He befriends a young girl, Ellie, who is immune to the fungus, and ends up protecting her by any means necessary, just like he would have done for his daughter.

The casting for Joel and Ellie, the show’s main characters, caused an uproar when first announced. Pedro Pascal was chosen to play Joel, while Bella Ramsey was picked for Ellie. Both actors received immense criticism and hate, especially Ramsey, as she did not physically look like Ellie. Comments such as “worst casting ever,” “HUGE miscast,” and “I wished they picked someone else for this role…” are just a few examples of what can be found when scrolling through the comments of the young actress’s post announcing her part in the show.

Screenshot from “The Last of Us” taken in 2012 featuring Joel and Ellie. While Ramsey does not resemble Ellie physically, her ability to portray Ellie’s personality and attitude have won many fans over. (Flickr)

Now that a couple of episodes have been released and fans can see how these two actors bring their favorite characters to life, audiences are beginning to praise the casting. Wiregrass freshman Jackson Lenczden, like many fans, adores the cast.

“Bella Ramsey has delivered Ellie’s attitude in a great way,” Lenczden said.

Ashley Johnson, the woman who voiced Ellie in the original game, applauded Ramsey for her portrayal of Ellie, stating that she is “so perfect for [the] role.”

The show’s creators have stuck to the game’s story in many ways, which longtime fans of the game appreciate. Some of the shots are taken exactly from the game, such as the farm on fire, and the dialogue is word-for-word in some scenes.

Some major points in the game were not present in the show, though, which was a bold choice for the creators. In the game, the infection spread through fungal spores in the air, forcing the player to don a gas mask every so often. In the show, to remain realistic, the directors decided to ignore spores completely, opting for “tendrils” instead. Each time a tendril is touched or disturbed in any way, it activates the fungus “hivemind,” sending a crowd of infected hunting the beloved characters. One of Wiregrass’s┬áteachers, Avery Walker, who played the game many years ago, understood the reasoning behind this change and appreciated it.

Promotional photo featuring Ellie and Joel, where tendrils can be seen creeping up the walls behind them. (HBO Max)

“I feel that it was a brilliant addition to the series,” Walker said. “It makes the idea of the infected scarier, knowing that our characters could take one [wrong step] and a horde of infected will come running their way.”

Senior Paul Petit, who played the game before the show’s release, is excited about what’s in store for the show.

“I can’t wait to see how faithful [the show] is to the games, while adding new content to expand the series in a way that makes ‘The Last of Us’ good to its core,” Petit said.

This new show is incredibly human; it is heartbreaking and horrifying in the absolute best ways. “The Last of Us” has exceeded fans’ expectations, and will hopefully continue to do so. Episodes are released each Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on HBO Max, with the first episode free to watch on HBO Max.