'The Last of Us' Premieres on HBO

The Last of Us on HBO
(Image credit: HBO)

The Last of Us, a drama based on the PlayStation video game, debuts on HBO Sunday, January 15. There are nine episodes.

The series takes place 20 years after civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. “What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal and heartbreaking journey as they both must traverse the U.S. and depend on each other for survival,” according to HBO.

Pedro Pascal portrays Joel and Bella Ramsey is Ellie. Gabriel Luna, Anna Torv, Nico Parker and Murray Bartlett are also in the cast.

A New York Times review said (opens in new tab), “That fear is the core of The Last of Us. It’s an extended horror story of single parenting. Joel’s struggle is a heightened version of the everyday experience of how being responsible for a vulnerable life makes you vulnerable yourself, how it can make you do unforgivable things for them — or to them — in the name of protection.

“Through Joel, we feel the heartbreak of this world. Through Ellie, we see its wonder. When they come across the wreckage of a jetliner, she asks if he ever flew in one, and he recalls what an uncomfortable ordeal air travel was. ‘Dude,’ she says, ‘you got to go up in the sky.’”

Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann are writers and executive producers. The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television and is also executive produced by Carolyn Strauss, Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan and Rose Lam. Production companies are PlayStation Productions, Word Games, The Mighty Mint and Naughty Dog. ■

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.