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I never played The Last of Us before the TV show and I have no regrets

The Last of Us TV series is so good that it doesn't even matter I've never played the game before, I'm completely invested all the same

Bella Ramsey as Ellie, and Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us TV Series

So, The Last of Us is now a TV series, and a very good one at that. Among its huge audience are two types of people; those who have played the PS5 game, and those who haven’t. Who knows how the demographics break down when it comes to watching the horror series, but I fall into the latter camp and have no regrets at all.

I’m not a massive gamer. I play some sports games and the odd Star Wars or superhero game here and there. Despite hearing all the buzz around The Last of Us video game, I never felt the urge to dive into that world.

I know what you’re thinking; I’m missing out on something special. You’re probably right, and truth is, I’m likely going to explore the game once the thriller series has wrapped up. But for now, I’m just enjoying the fact I have no idea what’s going to happen next.

All my friends have played The Last of Us before, both parts. So, when this show was announced and details started to emerge, they were losing their minds and I didn’t really understand why. I’ve seen enough awful video game movies to know the transition from being a player to a spectator is often disappointing.

Obviously, I was wrong to ever doubt HBO (the studio that literally never misses). As you can see from our The Last of Us TV series review, this is a show which is excelling on every front, and satisfying not just fans of the game, but newcomers to the story, too.

What’s great though, is that while my friends are psyched about certain The Last of Us characters showing up or precise scenes being faithfully recreated from the game, I’m just a blissfully unaware passenger along for the ride. I’m able to enjoy the incredible work of the whole production, without the burden of expectation I would have if I had played the game.

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Rather miraculously, the only thing I knew about The Last of Us going into the TV show’s premiere is that zombies were involved in some capacity. I am oblivious to any big plot twists or monumental events from the game; I have no idea how long certain members of The Last of Us cast will be around; and from what I hear, I have so many surprises ahead of me on this journey.

Isn’t that just one of the most joyous parts of experiencing any form of television or movie? Yes, it’s brilliant that my friends are drooling with anticipation each week for things they suspect will happen, but I’m getting to see all of this unfold for the very first time. I guess everyone is different, but I honestly don’t think I would appreciate this sci-fi series half as much if I already knew what lay ahead.

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel in The Last of Us TV series

What’s especially great about The Last of Us TV series, though, is that Craig Mazin and co. are adapting the source material in such a way that there’s something new for everyone. While the show is remaining pretty faithful to the original survival game, I am told there are lots of elements that are not actually in the game.

That’s the beauty of longform storytelling like this, rather than cramming everything into a two hour thriller movie. By all accounts, The Last of Us is already a stunning story, but the TV series is able to breathe new life into the source material and flesh out all the various strands of the narrative.

Murray Bartlett and Nick Offerman as Frank and Bill in The Last of Us

The Last of Us Episode 3 is the perfect example of the advantages in having the time and space to explore different avenues in more detail. We didn’t need to see any Clickers or think about the infected; the episode flourished simply by showing us two humans making the best of what they have.

I don’t know what’s coming next, but if the rest of this series is as strong as the latest episode, I will continue to be hooked right through to The Last of Us season 2. And then, who knows, maybe I’ll find the time to immerse myself in the game and see a different side to Ellie and Joel’s journey.

For more from the show, check out our feature on how The Last of Us’ LGBTQ+ representation puts The Walking Dead to Shame, or dive into guide to the Cordyceps. Alternatively, learn more about The Last of Us zombie types from our friends at The Loadout.