One trailer we did get out of CCXP is for The Last of US, HBO’s big-budget adaptation of the popular video game series. The show debuts on HBO and HBO Max on January 15, with Pedro Pascal starring as Joel, a survivor of a mysterious plague that wrecked humanity and civilization as we know it. He’s hired to transport a teenager, Ellie (played by little Lady Mormont herself, Bella Ramsey), out west, where someone is supposedly working on a cure for the virus that destroyed everyone’s lives.
The Last of Us is a super intense game series known for its emotionally devastating storylines, and the TV adaptation is headed up by Craig Mazin, he of Chernobyl fame, so this is going to be a laugh riot, whoo boy.
Seriously, though, I’m not sure I can even get on TLOU train right now. The trailer looks awesome—I love the inclusion of “Take On Me”, a fun nod to the games—and in the abstract, I love the apocalyptic aesthetic of the show. I really do just love the look of abandoned spaces, and this trailer is 100% abandoned spaces. The casting is also pitch-perfect, not just Pascal and Ramsey—who do make a compelling duo as Joel and Ellie—but Graham Greene, Murray Bartlett (who is television’s favorite dead guy right now), Nick Offerman, Anna Torv, Gabriel Luna, Storm Reid, and THE Melanie Lynskey. In a fun twist, Merle Dandridge, who voices resistance leader Marlene in the games, is also playing Marlene on screen. (Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, who voice Joel and Ellie, respectively, are playing other roles in the series.)
But I KNOW where this is going. I mean, I’m sure the show will take liberties. They’re not compelled to follow the games exactly. But a show about what’s left of society twenty years after its collapse is going to be a bummer. I had to get off The Walking Dead’s misery carousel eventually, and the opportunity for TLOU to turn into the same kind of never-ending sadness cycle is HIGH. Also, do I want to fall in love with Pedro Pascal playing a reluctant but devoted surrogate father only to see horrible things happen to him, or do I just want to watch The Mandalorian again? I admit, Pascal in daddy mode is super hot, and I’m not usually into the whole dad aesthetic. But it works in The Mandalorian, and it is working here, too. But is it enough to offset the inevitable heartbreak? However much they tweak it for TV, at the end of the day, TLOU is not known for happy things happening to happy people. Let me watch the trailer for the tenth time while deciding how much of this I can handle.