The Last of Us HBO series, a TV adaptation of Naughty Dog’s acclaimed first game, debuted yesterday to a great response. Deadline reports that the first episode drew 4.7 million viewers through linear and HBO Max. After House of the Dragon (which drew nearly 10 million viewers with its debut), this is the highest premiere for a new series since Boardwalk Empire.
Created and written by Craig Mazin of Chernobyl fame and Neil Druckmann, Naughty Dog co-president and director and writer of the video games, The Last of Us HBO series stars Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where the United States has fallen after an outbreak of the Cordyceps infection. Joel takes a job to escort Ellie across the country, and the two bond while surviving against the Infected, scavengers, and other threats.
Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO of HBO and HBO Max Content, stated, “We are thrilled to see fans of the series and game alike experience this iconic story in a new way, and we extend our gratitude to them for helping to make it a success. Congratulations to Craig, Neil and the brilliant cast and crew who worked tirelessly to bring this show to life. We look forward to fans around the world enjoying the rest of the season.”
Mazin and Druckmann added, “Our focus was simply to make the best possible adaptation of this beloved story for as big an audience as we could. We are overjoyed to see how many fans, both old and new, have welcomed The Last of Us into their homes and their hearts.”
Though it follows the “broad beats” of the first game’s story, the show isn’t a “line-by-line adaptation”, featuring new characters, themes and locations. This serves to expand on ideas that were only “briefly explored” in the games. Head here for a brief peek at what to expect from future episodes.