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Created By:
Neil Druckmann, Craig Mazin
Pedro Pascal, Bella Ramsey, Anna Torv
Writing Credits:

After a global pandemic destroys civilization, a hardened survivor takes charge of a 14-year-old girl who may be humanity's last hope.

Rated TV-MA.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Dolby Vision
English Dolby Atmos
French Dolby 5.1
German Dolby 5.1
Italian Dolby 5.1
Castillian Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 2.0
Czech Dolby 2.0
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 521 min.
Price: $49.99
Release Date: 7/18/2023

• “Inside the Episodes” Featurettes
• “Controllers Down” Featurette
• “From Levels to Live Action” Featurette
• “Stranger Than Fiction” Featurette
• “Ashley Johnson Spotlight” Featurette
• “Get to Know Me” Featurettes
• “Is This a The Last of Us Line?” Featurettes
• “The Last Debrief” Featurettes


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Last Of Us: The Complete First Season [4K UHD] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 18, 2023)

Tales of post-apocalyptic societies go back at least as far as Noah and his ark. 2023’s HBO series The Last Of Us brings a new exploration of this concept, and one that connects to post-COVID fears, even if the adapted source predates that period.

This four-disc set provides all nine of Season One’s episodes. The plot synopses come from IMDB.

When You’re Lost in the Darkness: “Twenty years after a fungal outbreak ravages the planet, survivors Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Tess (Anna Torv) are tasked with a mission that could change everything.”

I went into Last with assumptions that proved incorrect. For one, I figured it offered either an original property or a tale based on a novel or graphic novel.

Nope. Instead, the series adapts a 2013 videogame.

In addition, I thought Last would deliver a pandemic in the COVID realm, albeit one with more devastating global consequences/deaths.

Nope again. Those who suffer from the Cordyceps Pandemic mutate into violent monster-like creatures.

Failed assumptions aside, “Darkness” offers a solid pilot. After a quick circa 1968 introduction to the notion of a fungal virus, we spend about 30 minutes in 2003 to see the pandemic’s initial impact.

These scenes introduce Joel and show the insanity that came with the first wave. In addition to expository basics, Last produces visceral impact in the way it shows the chaos and violence.

From there, we hop to 2023 and see the current state of Joel and the world, with an emphasis on the US. Matters slow and become more oriented toward set-up for the overall arc the series will pursue.

The modern-day parts lack the power of the 2003 scenes, but they still function well, as they build the series’ scenario, characters and plot well. “Darkness” offers an unusually good opening episode.

Infected: “After escaping the Quarantine Zone, Joel and Tess clash over Ellie's (Bella Ramsey) fate while navigating the ruins of a long-abandoned Boston.”

“Infected” opens with another intriguing flashback to 2003, one that shows the origins of the virus. The episode then goes into “shoe leather” mode much of the rest of the way, as it firmly establishes the main characters’ mission and launches them on their path. Though fairly expository, it nonetheless develops matters in a satisfying manner – and comes with a major event at its end.

Long, Long Time: “When a stranger named Frank (Murray Bartlett) approaches his compound, survivalist Bill (Nick Offerman) forges an unlikely connection. Later, Joel and Ellie seek Bill's guidance.”

Unsaid in that synopsis is that most of the Bill/Frank sequence comes from “the past”, and this means large chunks of “Time” act as expository, though not in a clumsy way. “Time” gives us the requisite backstory for these characters and does so in a graceful manner that adds to the series’ progression.

Please Hold My Hand: “After abandoning their truck in Kansas City, Joel and Ellie attempt to escape without drawing the attention of a vindictive rebel leader named Kathleen (Melanie Lynskey).”

After the heavy drama of “Time”, “Hand” opts for a lighter tone – well, lighter for this series, that is. It doesn’t exactly turn into a comedic romp, but it allows for some wryly amusing moments, a rarity for the show to date.

Of course, these scenes don’t dominate, so we find plenty of the usual darkness, and we find some new characters as well. All of this adds up to another compelling episode.

Endure and Survive: “While attempting to evade the rebels, Joel and Ellie cross paths with Henry (Lamar Johnson), the ‘most wanted man in Kansas City’ – and his eight-year-old brother Sam (Keivonn Montreal Woodard). Kathleen continues her hunt.”

“Hand” concluded with a new threat to Joel and Ellie, and “Survive” expands on those characters’ backstory. Also, as implied by the synopsis, we get more about Kathleen and her crew. Expect a solid show that explores some intriguing paths, especially because “Survive” delivers the most intense action since the season’s first episode.

Kin: “After ignoring the advice of locals, Joel and Ellie descend deeper into dangerous territory in search of the Fireflies - and Tommy (Gabriel Luna).”

Joel’s search for his brother acts as the role’s main motivator, albeit one that brought us down a mix of alternate paths. This one leaps ahead three months after “Hand” and gets both of our leads closer to their goals.

This feels a bit anti-climactic, I must admit. That said, “Kin” manages some decent twists in its exploration of these domains, so it manages to deliver a fairly solid show, even if it lacks the impact of “Survive” – well, until a big twist at the end, that is.

Left Behind: “As Joel fights to survive, Ellie looks back on the night that changed everything.”

Seven episodes into Last and “Behind” finally delivers a real exploration of Ellie’s backstory. This feels a little late for this material, and I think virtually an entire episode devoted to this subject seems like too much. I’m glad to get the information but think “Behind” slows Season One more than necessary so late in the year.

When We Are In Need: “Ellie crosses paths with a vengeful group of survivors - and draws the attention of its leader. A weakened Joel faces a new threat.”

The second to last episode feels late to introduce new characters, and the choice of a religious cult feels a bit trite. Still, I like that “Need” gives Ellie some take charge/leadership moments, so those add value to the episode.

Look For the Light: “A pregnant Anna (Ashley Johnson) places her trust in a lifelong friend. Later, Joel and Ellie near the end of their journey.”

“Light” opens with Ellie’s true origin story – ie, her birth – and a hint at why she maintains immunity to infection. From there, “Light” follows the expected path in that it shows the culmination of S1’s journey, one that comes with various forms of peril.

This leads toward a dark conclusion with some brutal moments – and an ambiguous ending. The finale feels slightly unsatisfying given its vague nature, but “Light” nonetheless finishes this part of the characters’ journey in a mostly satisfactory manner.

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

The Last of Us appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these 4K UHD Discs. A native 4K production, the Dolby Vision episodes provided excellent picture quality.

Sharpness consistently looked tight and well-defined. Any softness seemed intentional, and the end product maintained a solid level of delineation.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws remained absent.

Colors leaned toward a modern mix of amber/orange and teal, with a push toward green in forest settings and few other hues tossed out occasionally. The 4K reproduced the tones as intended, and HDR gave them a nice boost in intensity.

Blacks looked deep and dark, while shadows demonstrated appealing clarity. HDR added range and impact to whites and contrast. This wound up as a great-looking package of shows.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the series’ Dolby Atmos audio also satisfied. Unsurprisingly, the occasional Big Action Moments fared the best.

These climaxed early in the series, as the first episode offered the most evocative soundscape. In that one, the world quickly deteriorated, and with plane crashes and other expansive moments, it used the speakers to become vivid and engaging.

After that, soundfields tended toward a more environmental side of the street, though occasional Big Action Moments nonetheless arose. These used the spectrum in a positive way, with music that also spread across the spectrum in an appealing manner.

Audio quality worked nicely, with speech that consistently appeared concise and natural. Music seemed warm and full.

Effects displayed excellent reproduction, with accurate, dynamic tones that brought deep bass as necessary. I felt pleased with the series’ audio.

Across all four discs, we find Inside the Episode featurettes. With one per program, these span a total of 49 minutes, 35 seconds.

Across these, we find notes from series creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann, prosthetics designer Barrie Gower, directors Jeremy Webb and Peter Hoar, director of photography Eben Bolter, dialect coach/director of ASL CJ Jones, movement coach Terry Notary, VFX supervisor Alex Wang, production designer John Paino, location manager Jason Nolan, set decorator Paul Healey, and actors Pedro Pascal, Nico Parker, Merle Dandridge, Bella Ramsey, Anna Torv, Murray Bartlett, Nick Offerman, Jeffrey Pierce, Melanie Lynskey, Keivonn Woodard, Lamar Johnson, Melanie Lynskey, Jeffrey Pierce, Rutina Wesley, Gabriel Luna, Storm Reid, Scott Shepherd, Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson.

The “Inside” segments discuss the source and its adaptation, story/character domains, cast and performances, sets and locations, various effects, creature design, stunts/action, and similar topics. Though they lean a bit promotional at times, the clips nonetheless come with enough worthwhile material to make them useful.

The remaining programs appear on Disc Three, and Controllers Down runs 11 minutes, 44 seconds. It brings notes from Druckmann, Baker, Mazin, Pascal, Ramsey, Ashley Johnson, Parker, Luna, Torv, Dandridge, Offerman, Bartlett, Woodard, and Lamar Johnson.

“Down” examines the adaptation of the videogame to the TV screen. Some happy talk emerges but we still find worthwhile info about the subject matter.

From Levels to Live Action spans 11 minutes, 51 seconds and offers info from Mazin, Druckmann, Gower, Reid, Ramsey, Ashley Johnson, Pascal, and VFX producer Sean Nowlan.

With “Levels”, we learn more about the adaptation of the game, though it focuses more on creature design/execution and effects. It becomes a solid complement to “Down”.

Next comes Stranger Than Fiction, a 23-minute, 44-second piece that involves Druckmann, Mazin, Ramsey, Pascal, Offerman, Keck School of Medicine Professor of Molecular Microbiology, Immunology Dr. Paula Cannon and Utrecht University Asst. Professor of Biology Dr. Charissa de Bekker, and survival expert Mykel Hawke.

“Fiction” examines the reality behind the series’ infection and related domains. We find a nice look at the facts that influenced the events.

Ashley Johnson Spotlight fills two minutes, 23 seconds and concentrates on the actor. She talks about her work as Ellie in the videograme and her character in the TV show via this fairly superficial reel.

After this we get four Get to Know Me featurettes. These cover “Gabriel Luna” (3:46), “Merle Dandridge” (2:25), “Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett” (4:41) and “Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey” (4:45).

The various actors offer some thoughts about their roles and experiences on the series. These mix useful observations and cutesy comments.

Is This a Last of Us Line? splits into two featurettes: “Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey” (5:12) and “Merle Dandridge and Gabriel Luna” (2:40).

They read dialogue to each other and ask if these lines come from the show. It becomes a fun exploration.

Finally, The Last Debrief breaks into five segments. These span a total of 31 minutes, 57 seconds.

Across these, actor and Last of Us podcast host Troy Baker answers various fan questions about the series. He delivers a good array of observations and insights.

Though the post-apocalyptic wasteland genre has been beaten to death, The Last of Us offers an engaging effort. While it never becomes especially original, it succeeds via rich characters and good action. The 4K UHD discs demonstrate excellent visuals, positive audio and a largely informative set of supplements. I look forward to Season Two.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main