3 reasons to watch zombie series The Last Of Us, Latest TV News - The New Paper

3 reasons to watch zombie series The Last Of Us

The Last Of Us is based on an acclaimed video game about a post-apocalyptic world teeming with zombie-like creatures.

But you do not have to be a fan of the game, or zombies, to appreciate this taut yet tender thriller, which is really about what happens when the veneer of civilisation peels away.

Here are three reasons to tune in.

1. Lessons from the end of the world

With Chernobyl (2019), a series that dramatised the well-known nuclear disaster, The Last Of Us creator Craig Mazin proved that an audience can see everything that is coming yet still be held rapt by masterful storytelling.

And it is just as well, because there is nothing terribly original about the premise here: A mutated fungus spreads across the globe, turning infected humans into zombie-adjacent monsters bent on infecting the healthy.

Twenty years after the outbreak, a smuggler named Joel (The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal) is tasked with escorting Ellie (Bella Ramsey) – a teenage girl who may hold the key to ending the pandemic – across what is left of America.

There has been a surfeit of such TV shows in the last decade, from The Walking Dead (2010 to 2022) to The Passage (2019) to Station Eleven (2021 to 2022), all of which share DNA with this latest tale.

But The Last Of Us eloquently teases out the social and political implications of this single, seismic biological change, and how hearts and minds can unravel, or rally, as a result.

2. Pandemic politics

The contagion leads to many people living in walled quarantine zones controlled by a repressive military agency that leverages fear of the infected to maintain its grip on power.

Outside, there are other survivors, including an embattled resistance as well as less benign groups.

Whether the writers intended it or not, it is impossible not to view this at least in part through Covid-19-tinted glasses, adding an extra layer of meaning to the narrative.

3. Vignettes of humanity

Game Of Thrones (2011 to 2019) alumni Pascal and Ramsey anchor the show with a slow-burning buddy chemistry that is delightful to watch unfold.

And you wish you had more time with supporting players such as survivalists Frank (Murray Bartlett) and Bill (Nick Offerman), whose standout story is the pandemic fairy tale you did not know you needed.