Craig Mazin, the showrunner for HBO’s The Last of Us, has expressed his pride in the series being review bombed by a minority of viewers. Despite the show’s record-breaking popularity, a small group of viewers gave it poor ratings, with episodes 3 and 7 receiving much lower ratings on IMDb than the other episodes in the season. However, Mazin stated that he preferred “strong emotional reactions” to “indifference,” and that he was pleased with the show’s critical reception despite the bombing.
The Last of Us is set in a world where a fungus called Cordyceps has spread across the globe, infecting humans and causing them to actively seek out, kill, and consume healthy humans for sustenance. The story follows Joel, a construction worker who loses his daughter to the fungal plague, and Ellie, a young girl who is resistant to the virus. The two embark on a journey to a Fireflies camp in the west, with the promise of providing for Joel’s every need if he can get Ellie there safely.
The show features outstanding performances from Pedro Pascal as Joel and Bella Ramsey as Ellie, with their relationship developing over the course of nine episodes. The show is more concerned with human emotions than the threats posed by the infected, and well-developed characters make this aspect stand out. The cast makes the first few episodes stand out with their outstanding performances, and the conflict with the infected in episode five is an all-out mainstream, edge-of-the-seat thriller that keeps viewers fascinated until it is resolved.
The Last of Us does require patience from viewers who come looking largely for action and horror sections, but those who are willing to give the program time will find themselves absorbed in everything that the show is seeking to capture. However, some characters could have benefited from stronger writing, such as Kathleen, played by Melanie Lynskey, whose desire for vengeance and over-the-top attempts to appear tough make it unbelievable that the entire QZ agrees with her judgments.
Overall, The Last of Us is a post-apocalyptic show that is more concerned with human emotions than the threats posed by the infected. The outstanding performances from the cast and well-developed characters make this aspect stand out, and while some characters could have benefited from stronger writing, the show is absorbing and captivating for those who are willing to give it time.