Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Not Impressed with The Last of Us (TV)

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Not Impressed with The Last of Us (TV)

 I hate to admit it but I am not impressed with The Last of Us TV show.  I had high hopes after seeing the Rotten Tomatoes scores and acclaim the series was getting, but I was not impressed.  Here are some thoughts rants from someone that never played the games but did watch episodes 1-3 of the TV show.

Spoiler warning.

 First, I want to say that the show is well produced.  Visually it is stellar and there is a distinct sense of a post-apocalyptic world.  Actors, individually, are great.  I do enjoy watching the show.

 With that said my brain is really struggling to not scream out loud about this show.  

 The biggest issue I have is the lack of chemistry between characters.  Joel and Ellie really do not click and the story telling does not help.  The relationship is forced; almost to the point of being too forced.  Ellie dropping f bombs every two seconds just does not help and then having her read a letter and articulate mother f'rs when the character that wrote the letter at no point gives the vibe of dropping mother f'rs (but I get it; who doesn't love Nick Offerman dropping the "not today you new world mother f'rs" line).  Bill and Frank of episode 3 also... just... nothing clicking between those actors.

 Also there is so little exposition.  Characters just jump right to the key piece of whatever they need. Ellie walks into a room, grabs a 1,000 page book, and flips to the exact page where the note she needs is stashed.  Then a second later she figures out its a secret code instead of just random notes on a piece of paper. Every single scene is this way; characters just fall right into where and what they need.  Plot armor is on high alert!

 Honestly I would be lost on some things if I wasn't listening to the companion podcast.  The podcast does a much better job of explaining character motivations and key moments than the actual show.  One particular one is where Joel flinches at one point touching Ellie after knowing she is infected yet numerous times before that.  In the show I barely remembered it because Joel is grabbing her without flinching in every other scene before and after that moment.  It wasn't until the podcast that I reconciled why he flinched in that one scene.  In retrospect the flinch was contrived and forced.

 Then there is the mechanics of how the world and it's fungus infection works.  It has made me go "what?" so many times.  Maybe it works in the games better than it does here?  The infection can be gotten from spores?  Or by getting bitten?  But not by being scratched or having an open head wound like Joel did fighting the clickers?  It was in the food supply and went global in one day?  And if you can catch it from spores why do the characters literally not care about climbing around mushroomed dead bodies everywhere?  Why are they eating their lunch surrounded by the stuff? Why do they pick up dead infected bodies to burn without a care in the world?  You would think any single encounter with an infected, dead or alive, or any of the tendrils growing from one would send folks into a panic.  

 Let's not even get into how the fungus becomes octopus like and able to move it's tendrils about and therefore has zero resemblance to the concept of the fungus causing it's host to do something vs the fungus becoming sentient.  On top of that it only has these special powers in scenes where the visual effects budget allows for it.

 Also a single gun shot takes out an infected but being crushed in rubble doesn't?  Why do some die so fast and why are others found years later?  The one liners trying to cover this and the flashback at the start of episode two fall woefully short of making any sense to me.  It feels like the show tries way to hard to explain the situation and just comes up short.  

 I really, really struggle with the world building here.  I literally do not want to hear about it anymore.  Just make the world dangerous and don't bother trying to over explain it to me.  Bad shit happened and the world is what it is.  Now take off the plot armor on the characters and work on chemistry between characters.  Also stop giving them freaking chicken sandwiches.  No one is eating bread in this world if the worldwide outbreak was caused by flour being contaminated.

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