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Early Praise for The Last of Us (Fan Creations)

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, January 10, 2023, 02:42 (413 days ago)
edited by Cody Miller, Tuesday, January 10, 2023, 02:45

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/the_last_of_us/s01/reviews

HBO’s take on the video game property finally answers the question: What if a big-budget TV or film adaptation stayed faithful to the source material, even repeating the same scenes, lines and big story beats?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/reviews/the-last-of-us-hbo-season-1-review/

Hmmmm…

See you all on here this Sunday for the discussion thread. Looking forward.

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Side Question / Sub Topic

by ManKitten, The Stugotz is strong in me., Tuesday, January 10, 2023, 05:54 (413 days ago) @ Cody Miller

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/tv/the_last_of_us/s01/reviews

HBO’s take on the video game property finally answers the question: What if a big-budget TV or film adaptation stayed faithful to the source material, even repeating the same scenes, lines and big story beats?


https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/reviews/the-last-of-us-hbo-season-1-review/

Hmmmm…

See you all on here this Sunday for the discussion thread. Looking forward.

I won't be watching Last of Us (I don't have HBO and I've never played the game.)
I've not watched The Witcher (I've never played the game.)
I won't watch God of War when it comes out (I've never played the game.)

These are all Playstation exclusive games. Besides Halo, what Xbox exclusive games have been turned into TV series? Or are on the table to be made?

PS Sclusy shows VS Xbox Sclusy shows - what's the score?

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Side Question / Sub Topic

by ZackDark @, Not behind you. NO! Don't look., Tuesday, January 10, 2023, 14:33 (413 days ago) @ ManKitten

I won't be watching Last of Us (I don't have HBO and I've never played the game.)
I've not watched The Witcher (I've never played the game.)
I won't watch God of War when it comes out (I've never played the game.)

These are all Playstation exclusive games.

The Witcher games never had been! And those other two are either already on PC or coming soon. Highly recommend.

PS Sclusy shows VS Xbox Sclusy shows - what's the score?

...yeah, Halo was pretty cool, but kinda yikes too.

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Side Question / Sub Topic

by Joe Duplessie (SNIPE 316) ⌂ @, Detroit, Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 05:35 (412 days ago) @ ManKitten

Besides Halo, what Xbox exclusive games have been turned into TV series? Or are on the table to be made?

A movie, but still.

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Side Question / Sub Topic

by cheapLEY @, Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 09:57 (412 days ago) @ ManKitten

PS Sclusy shows VS Xbox Sclusy shows - what's the score?

Sony has 10+ adaptations done or in the works. God of War, Horizon, Twisted Metal, Uncharted, Gran Turismo, Ghost of Tsushima, Days Gone, The Last of Us, Gravity Rush, Jak and Daxter.

Keep in mind that Sony has Sony Pictures. I’m not sure if Sony Pictures (or any of its subsidiaries) are producing any or all of those things, but there’s still industry connections there that they can leverage more easily than Microsoft can, probably.

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Side Question / Sub Topic

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 10:32 (412 days ago) @ cheapLEY

PS Sclusy shows VS Xbox Sclusy shows - what's the score?


Sony has 10+ adaptations done or in the works. God of War, Horizon, Twisted Metal, Uncharted, Gran Turismo, Ghost of Tsushima, Days Gone, The Last of Us, Gravity Rush, Jak and Daxter.

Keep in mind that Sony has Sony Pictures. I’m not sure if Sony Pictures (or any of its subsidiaries) are producing any or all of those things, but there’s still industry connections there that they can leverage more easily than Microsoft can, probably.

Fun fact: Sony owns Bungie!!!

Where’s our Destiny TV show?!

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Side Question / Sub Topic

by ManKitten, The Stugotz is strong in me., Wednesday, January 11, 2023, 11:02 (412 days ago) @ Cody Miller

PS Sclusy shows VS Xbox Sclusy shows - what's the score?


Sony has 10+ adaptations done or in the works. God of War, Horizon, Twisted Metal, Uncharted, Gran Turismo, Ghost of Tsushima, Days Gone, The Last of Us, Gravity Rush, Jak and Daxter.

Keep in mind that Sony has Sony Pictures. I’m not sure if Sony Pictures (or any of its subsidiaries) are producing any or all of those things, but there’s still industry connections there that they can leverage more easily than Microsoft can, probably.


Fun fact: Sony owns Bungie!!!

Where’s our Destiny TV show?!

Didn't they already say they planned on making one? or at the least, hinted that it was on the wish list.

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Episode 1

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Sunday, January 15, 2023, 19:55 (407 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Spoilers

Ellie - Are you my fucking mom or something?
Marlene - Do I look like your mom?!

Now, I'm not a fuddy duddy who can't see a black person on screen. But the race swap of Joel's daughter creates a problem. Ask yourself, if you knew nothing about this story, and you saw a Chilean man with a black girl, what would your first thought be? Interracial marriage? Ok, one possibility. Adopted? Ok, another possibility. The fact that a non trivial portion of people will probably assume the latter might seem like a minor point, but I think it's pretty big and has the potential to undermine the major theme and motivation behind the entire story.

The story hinges upon Joel failing with his biological daughter, and thus taking care of Ellie as an adopted daughter for redemption. But it just doesn't work if his daughter was adopted too… it's not really a second chance, it's not Joel desperately trying to make peace. It'd be just a redo. Further, children can just happen, so not being a great father but trying to after you realize that to your biological child, is shitty but at least admirable and I think people would root for you. But if you failed your adopted child? Well you chose it, so you're just a piece of shit.

In the opening, we have no indication that Joel and his daughter are trying to reconnect. No indication he's been a shitty father. But that's so huge… it's the entire reason he carries the guilt with him all those years and sees Ellie as a way to make things right. He was shitty dad who didn't get the chance ot make things right. But as presented in the show… he wasn't a shitty dad at all. He simply lost his daughter.

Lastly, the beginning is from her perspective. IMO major mistake. It's Joel's story not hers. I realize that the game lets you play as her, but on the screen, it feels totally different. If it were Joel's perspective, that would inform us later on as to why he later becomes the guy he is.

So we have an opening that doesn't clearly establish that Joel's daughter is his by blood, doesn't establish that Joel was a shitty dad now trying to make it right, and isn't from his perspective. I really really fear that these seemingly little things are going to compound and rob the story and ending of its punch, because these elements were critical in the game for setting Joel's emotional conflict.

Finally, the opening with the talk show explaining the Fungus was not necessary. I think that info could have been rolled out as needed throughout the story. It felt inelegant.

Ok, with that out of the way, everything after the opening was pretty on point. Great production design and direction, you believe every second of it. The infection detector was a nice touch that was set up for a great tense payoff near the end (I don't remember if this was in the game, with the red/green). The casting was great. Pedro is great as Joel, just nailing it.

My only worry is that folks who haven't played the game are going to be short changed by the choices in the opening. Otherwise, thumbs up.

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Episode 1

by cheapLEY @, Sunday, January 15, 2023, 20:07 (407 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by cheapLEY, Sunday, January 15, 2023, 20:12

Ok, with that out of the way, everything after the opening was pretty on point. Great production design and direction, you believe every second of it. The infection detector was a nice touch that was set up for a great tense payoff near the end (I don't remember if this was in the game, with the red/green). The casting was great. Pedro is great as Joel, just nailing it.

It was set up like that in the game as well. When you first start playing as Joel, you can watch a group of soldiers scanning people held at gun point. One pops up red and gets executed on the spot. Then the scene where Ellie gets scanned plays out fairly similarly to the show.

My only worry is that folks who haven't played the game are going to be short changed by the choices in the opening. Otherwise, thumbs up.

I honestly sort of think you’re overthinking it because you’ve played the game. I don’t really see the differences you see. We don’t really see Joel as a shitty dad in the game anymore than we do in the show. I don’t honestly know that we were supposed to think he’s a shitty dad. I certainly never thought that.

Overall, this was a great first episode. The casting is perfect so far. Pedro just is Joel. Bella Ramsey is great as Ellie. If this has been a Netflix style drop the whole season at once, I’m certain I would just stay up all night and watch the rest of it. It’s great.

I also loved the talk show opening. I’m not sure it was the most deft way to do it, but I thought it was effective and honest really haunting.

I loved the fake out when they were in the truck and don’t get hit by the other car like they did in the game.

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Episode 1

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Sunday, January 15, 2023, 20:10 (407 days ago) @ cheapLEY

I honestly sort of think you’re overthinking it because you’ve played the game. I don’t really see the differences you see. We don’t really see Joel as a shitty dad in the game anymore than we do in the show. I don’t honestly know that we were supposed to think he’s a shitty dad. I certainly never thought that.

I should play the game again, but I remember it being crystal clear in the opening he wasn't there for her, and he's currently doing his best to make things right. That's why her death hit him so hard. With her also died his redemption as a father. That's why he was willing to sacrifice everything for Ellie - she was his second chance for that.

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Episode 1

by cheapLEY @, Sunday, January 15, 2023, 20:17 (407 days ago) @ Cody Miller

but I remember it being crystal clear in the opening he wasn't there for her, and he's currently doing his best to make things right.

Sure, I won’t disagree with that. But being a single parent and having to work all the time to put food on the table doesn’t make him
a shitty dad. I remember being sad at the situation but seeing pretty clearly that he loves his daughter but also sometimes life sucks and you do what you have to make ends meet.

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Episode 1

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Sunday, January 15, 2023, 20:19 (407 days ago) @ cheapLEY

but I remember it being crystal clear in the opening he wasn't there for her, and he's currently doing his best to make things right.


Sure, I won’t disagree with that. But being a single parent and having to work all the time to put food on the table doesn’t make him
a shitty dad. I remember being sad at the situation but seeing pretty clearly that he loves his daughter but also sometimes life sucks and you do what you have to make ends meet.

But why was he single and put her in that position? Why did his wife leave? He made mistakes.

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Episode 1

by cheapLEY @, Sunday, January 15, 2023, 20:26 (407 days ago) @ Cody Miller

but I remember it being crystal clear in the opening he wasn't there for her, and he's currently doing his best to make things right.


Sure, I won’t disagree with that. But being a single parent and having to work all the time to put food on the table doesn’t make him
a shitty dad. I remember being sad at the situation but seeing pretty clearly that he loves his daughter but also sometimes life sucks and you do what you have to make ends meet.


But why was he single and put her in that position? Why did his wife leave? He made mistakes.

Did she? Maybe she died. Maybe she was the problem and he left her. Also marriages just don’t work sometimes. People are allowed to make mistakes without being shitty people.

Episode 1

by EffortlessFury @, Monday, January 16, 2023, 06:04 (407 days ago) @ Cody Miller

but I remember it being crystal clear in the opening he wasn't there for her, and he's currently doing his best to make things right.


Sure, I won’t disagree with that. But being a single parent and having to work all the time to put food on the table doesn’t make him
a shitty dad. I remember being sad at the situation but seeing pretty clearly that he loves his daughter but also sometimes life sucks and you do what you have to make ends meet.


But why was he single and put her in that position? Why did his wife leave? He made mistakes.

Then why did the wife leave their daughter in his custody?

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Episode 1

by Korny @, Dalton, Ga. US. Earth, Sol System, Monday, January 16, 2023, 14:04 (407 days ago) @ Cody Miller

but I remember it being crystal clear in the opening he wasn't there for her, and he's currently doing his best to make things right.


Sure, I won’t disagree with that. But being a single parent and having to work all the time to put food on the table doesn’t make him
a shitty dad. I remember being sad at the situation but seeing pretty clearly that he loves his daughter but also sometimes life sucks and you do what you have to make ends meet.


But why was he single and put her in that position? Why did his wife leave? He made mistakes.

Your entire take on her race and adoption in general is really, really weird.

I honestly don't see any of what you do here.


Even in the original game, all evidence, from the pictures, to the birthday card, to the conversations that Joel has with Ellie, it all points to Joel having been a great father who went the extra mile to make sure Sarah had opportunities in life that many kids who have both parents don't get (why she still turned to selling hardcore drugs is anyone's guess).

And while there was an official outside-the-game explanation about Sarah's mom (Word of God is she abandoned them shortly after Sarah was born, likely PPD, possibly some other reason), I never wondered it once when I first played the game. Even thinking about it now, for a single dad to retain sole custody of a child, a girl at that? Not indicative of someone who "made mistakes".

Especially once we consider just how far Joel will go to protect his daughter...

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Episode 1

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, January 16, 2023, 14:38 (407 days ago) @ Korny

Even in the original game, all evidence, from the pictures, to the birthday card, to the conversations that Joel has with Ellie, it all points to Joel having been a great father who went the extra mile to make sure Sarah had opportunities in life that many kids who have both parents don't get (why she still turned to selling hardcore drugs is anyone's guess).

This was AFTER he neglected her no? That was the stuff he tried to do to turn it around.

Unless my recollection of the game is just wildly wrong?

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Episode 1

by cheapLEY @, Monday, January 16, 2023, 15:22 (407 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Even in the original game, all evidence, from the pictures, to the birthday card, to the conversations that Joel has with Ellie, it all points to Joel having been a great father who went the extra mile to make sure Sarah had opportunities in life that many kids who have both parents don't get (why she still turned to selling hardcore drugs is anyone's guess).


This was AFTER he neglected her no? That was the stuff he tried to do to turn it around.

Unless my recollection of the game is just wildly wrong?

I think it’s wildly wrong—that’s what he’s saying. As far as I can recall (and I just played the opening of the game when the Part 1 PS5 version came out last year), there’s literally nothing in the game portraying Joel as having neglected her, unless you extrapolate him coming home very late from his job as being neglectful.

Are you certain that you’re not thinking of the opening of Part II, where he’s trying to make amends with Ellie?

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Episode 1

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, January 16, 2023, 15:26 (407 days ago) @ cheapLEY

Are you certain that you’re not thinking of the opening of Part II, where he’s trying to make amends with Ellie?

No idea. Maybe I'm extrapolating? The birthday card Korny mentioned, I recall specifically mentioning how he was never home.

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Episode 1

by cheapLEY @, Monday, January 16, 2023, 15:30 (407 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Are you certain that you’re not thinking of the opening of Part II, where he’s trying to make amends with Ellie?


No idea. Maybe I'm extrapolating? The birthday card Korny mentioned, I recall specifically mentioning how he was never home.

Sure. That alone isn’t proof of neglect.

I’m open to having missed something, but I don’t see it as trying to portray Joel as a bad father, but instead a single father trying the best he can. It’s clear that they love each other. Even her stupid hardcore drugs joke portrays a good relationship.

Episode 1

by Claude Errera @, Monday, January 16, 2023, 09:17 (407 days ago) @ Cody Miller

The story hinges upon Joel failing with his biological daughter, and thus taking care of Ellie as an adopted daughter for redemption. But it just doesn't work if his daughter was adopted too… it's not really a second chance, it's not Joel desperately trying to make peace. It'd be just a redo. Further, children can just happen, so not being a great father but trying to after you realize that to your biological child, is shitty but at least admirable and I think people would root for you. But if you failed your adopted child? Well you chose it, so you're just a piece of shit.

As both an adopted kid and a parent of an adopted kid, I'm really uncomfortable with your distinction between adopted and bio kids. (I have both... I can tell you that for me, there isn't a difference in how responsible for them I feel, or how much I love them... or how I'd feel if I got the chance to take care of another kid if they were all dead in horrible circumstances. And while I don't know my bio parents, I don't have any feelings for them - I don't hate them for giving me up, I don't love them for the blood ties. I don't know them at all, and that doesn't bother me.)

I never finished the game (we've talked about this), but I didn't get ANY of what you described from playing the beginning. I think that whatever lens you're viewing this through is pretty highly affected by your own personal beliefs in a way that doesn't resonate outside your own head. (At least, it doesn't resonate for me, at all.)

I haven't seen the first episode yet.

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Episode 1

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, January 16, 2023, 10:25 (407 days ago) @ Claude Errera
edited by Cody Miller, Monday, January 16, 2023, 10:32

As both an adopted kid and a parent of an adopted kid, I'm really uncomfortable with your distinction between adopted and bio kids. (I have both... I can tell you that for me, there isn't a difference in how responsible for them I feel, or how much I love them... or how I'd feel if I got the chance to take care of another kid if they were all dead in horrible circumstances. And while I don't know my bio parents, I don't have any feelings for them - I don't hate them for giving me up, I don't love them for the blood ties. I don't know them at all, and that doesn't bother me.)

I'm not arguing about whether he'd love her any less or anything like that. It is merely about perception to an audience. Neither the game nor the TV show explore those dynamics, so given that both are using shorthand, you can't expect such nuance in the presentation. There will be confusion.

I asked someone who saw the show but not played the game, and he just assumed she was adopted. If you don't go into that relationship explicitly, people will jump to conclusions based upon THEIR experience and prejudice. I have family members who were adopted, and while the relationship is wonderful and loving, they do not believe there is no difference. Your experience isn't even universal among adopting / adopted. But right or wrong, they're already looking at it differently than if they hadn't race swapped. It is wrinkle introduced with no benefit, since no effort is made to explain or explore the relationship from that point of view.

It's fine if you take the time to illustrate the point you made above. But they did not.

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Episode 1

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, January 16, 2023, 18:56 (406 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by Kermit, Monday, January 16, 2023, 19:19

As both an adopted kid and a parent of an adopted kid, I'm really uncomfortable with your distinction between adopted and bio kids. (I have both... I can tell you that for me, there isn't a difference in how responsible for them I feel, or how much I love them... or how I'd feel if I got the chance to take care of another kid if they were all dead in horrible circumstances. And while I don't know my bio parents, I don't have any feelings for them - I don't hate them for giving me up, I don't love them for the blood ties. I don't know them at all, and that doesn't bother me.)


I'm not arguing about whether he'd love her any less or anything like that. It is merely about perception to an audience. Neither the game nor the TV show explore those dynamics, so given that both are using shorthand, you can't expect such nuance in the presentation. There will be confusion.

I asked someone who saw the show but not played the game, and he just assumed she was adopted. If you don't go into that relationship explicitly, people will jump to conclusions based upon THEIR experience and prejudice. I have family members who were adopted, and while the relationship is wonderful and loving, they do not believe there is no difference. Your experience isn't even universal among adopting / adopted. But right or wrong, they're already looking at it differently than if they hadn't race swapped. It is wrinkle introduced with no benefit, since no effort is made to explain or explore the relationship from that point of view.

It's fine if you take the time to illustrate the point you made above. But they did not.

I don't relate to your reading of Joel as some kind of neglectful, guilty father in the game--I'm pretty sure the creators mainly tried to show how much Joel loved Sarah, and I think they succeeded brilliantly in the show and the game. I don't know why people, based on the evidence, would assume she was adopted, and if they did, how that would make any difference. Those of us who are adopted might understandably take offense at the suggestion that biology is so determative when it comes to parental love. I would go so far to say that if there is a difference, adoptive parents are more loving because they sought to do so.

It's mostly moot, though, because I believe the vast majority of people accept what you quickly dismiss, that Sarah resembled her mother more than Joel. I gave as much thought to it as I did when I assumed the Sarah's mom in the game was probably blonde. If people are giving it more thought than that, I don't care what they think.

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P.S.

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, January 16, 2023, 19:31 (406 days ago) @ Kermit

As both an adopted kid and a parent of an adopted kid, I'm really uncomfortable with your distinction between adopted and bio kids. (I have both... I can tell you that for me, there isn't a difference in how responsible for them I feel, or how much I love them... or how I'd feel if I got the chance to take care of another kid if they were all dead in horrible circumstances. And while I don't know my bio parents, I don't have any feelings for them - I don't hate them for giving me up, I don't love them for the blood ties. I don't know them at all, and that doesn't bother me.)


I'm not arguing about whether he'd love her any less or anything like that. It is merely about perception to an audience. Neither the game nor the TV show explore those dynamics, so given that both are using shorthand, you can't expect such nuance in the presentation. There will be confusion.

I asked someone who saw the show but not played the game, and he just assumed she was adopted. If you don't go into that relationship explicitly, people will jump to conclusions based upon THEIR experience and prejudice. I have family members who were adopted, and while the relationship is wonderful and loving, they do not believe there is no difference. Your experience isn't even universal among adopting / adopted. But right or wrong, they're already looking at it differently than if they hadn't race swapped. It is wrinkle introduced with no benefit, since no effort is made to explain or explore the relationship from that point of view.

It's fine if you take the time to illustrate the point you made above. But they did not.


I don't relate to your reading of Joel as some kind of neglectful, guilty father in the game--I'm pretty sure the creators mainly tried to show how much Joel loved Sarah, and I think they succeeded brilliantly in the show and the game. I don't know why people, based on the evidence, would assume she was adopted, and if they did, how that would make any difference. Those of us who are adopted might understandably take offense at the suggestion that biology is so determative when it comes to parental love. I would go so far to say that if there is a difference, adoptive parents are more loving because they sought to do so.

It's mostly moot, though, because I believe the vast majority of people accept what you quickly dismiss, that Sarah resembled her mother more than Joel. I gave as much thought to it as I did when I assumed the Sarah's mom in the game was probably blonde. If people are giving it more thought than that, I don't care what they think.

My only complaint about the show so far is that the soundtrack seems muted and not as effective. It was integral to the experience of the game. The famous traumatic scene before the title card in the game didn't affect me in the show (it might've had I not expected it), but the same scene in the game still affects me--the difference is the soundtrack.

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P.S.

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, January 16, 2023, 20:53 (406 days ago) @ Kermit

My only complaint about the show so far is that the soundtrack seems muted and not as effective. It was integral to the experience of the game. The famous traumatic scene before the title card in the game didn't affect me in the show (it might've had I not expected it), but the same scene in the game still affects me--the difference is the soundtrack.

One other thing is that you've seen it before with almost the exact same imagery. They are straight up lifting literal shots from the game and putting them in the TV show. Not gonna hit the same when it's a literal 1:1 translation of something you've already seen.

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P.S.

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, January 16, 2023, 22:02 (406 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by Kermit, Monday, January 16, 2023, 22:09

My only complaint about the show so far is that the soundtrack seems muted and not as effective. It was integral to the experience of the game. The famous traumatic scene before the title card in the game didn't affect me in the show (it might've had I not expected it), but the same scene in the game still affects me--the difference is the soundtrack.


One other thing is that you've seen it before with almost the exact same imagery. They are straight up lifting literal shots from the game and putting them in the TV show. Not gonna hit the same when it's a literal 1:1 translation of something you've already seen.

I acknowledged that--I've probably seen that scene 100+ times counting all the reaction videos I've seen. Look at the 47th minute of the TLoU documentary. You can see the moment where they dial in the music and how it punctuates that particular scene perfectly. Comparatively, the soundtrack in the show doesn't have the same punch.

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I think they nailed it

by Beorn @, <End of Failed Timeline>, Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 22:26 (404 days ago) @ Kermit

My only complaint about the show so far is that the soundtrack seems muted and not as effective. It was integral to the experience of the game. The famous traumatic scene before the title card in the game didn't affect me in the show (it might've had I not expected it), but the same scene in the game still affects me--the difference is the soundtrack.

Finally got to watch the episode tonight. I don't know what to tell you two, but that scene hit me in the gut just as hard as it did in the game. That's one of the few scenes that they had to nail, and I think they pulled it off. To me, the music was balanced pretty well… didn't drown out the scene, but was there. I watch with headphones, so maybe that helped.

One other thing is that you've seen it before with almost the exact same imagery. They are straight up lifting literal shots from the game and putting them in the TV show. Not gonna hit the same when it's a literal 1:1 translation of something you've already seen.

I have absolutely no problem with them mimicking the shots. It was exceptionally well-crafted the first time, and I think that in that particular scene, fucking with things as little as possible is the best approach. Otherwise it's just making change for change's sake, and when the source material is as good as it is, that's a dangerous gambit. Also, in a character-building scene that is important to a character's future motivations, shot mimicking helps create a common experience for the two audiences: the people who have played the game and the people who are new to the story. I suspect it's important to give everyone a common foundation so that when the characters do things later on in the story, we don't have a schism in how the viewership experiences the scenes.

Anyway, I'm hooked. Between this and Andor, I feel like maybe some of the studios are figuring out that writing is important to this medium.

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I think they nailed it

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Thursday, January 19, 2023, 09:21 (404 days ago) @ Beorn
edited by Kermit, Thursday, January 19, 2023, 10:00

My only complaint about the show so far is that the soundtrack seems muted and not as effective. It was integral to the experience of the game. The famous traumatic scene before the title card in the game didn't affect me in the show (it might've had I not expected it), but the same scene in the game still affects me--the difference is the soundtrack.


Finally got to watch the episode tonight. I don't know what to tell you two, but that scene hit me in the gut just as hard as it did in the game. That's one of the few scenes that they had to nail, and I think they pulled it off. To me, the music was balanced pretty well… didn't drown out the scene, but was there. I watch with headphones, so maybe that helped.

Weirdly, watching it a second time, it affected me more. (Could be that I find reactions in reaction videos highly contagious.) The first time something felt off, and I do think it was the music. I think it's a reasonable opinion that the music was overly dramatic in the game, but in this scene it did two things. It established what would become a very important motif, and it told us, before we could see it, that Sarah was gone. I think the show is in very good hands. They don't need the precise tools used in the game because they're doing other smart things, which improve on the game. (I love the soldier's apology before he almost shoots Joel [more effective than the "little girl" line in the game, I think], and apparently the original ending of the first episode was Joel disposing of the child's body 20 years later.) The show runners have proven to me that they know what they're doing.

One other thing is that you've seen it before with almost the exact same imagery. They are straight up lifting literal shots from the game and putting them in the TV show. Not gonna hit the same when it's a literal 1:1 translation of something you've already seen.


I have absolutely no problem with them mimicking the shots. It was exceptionally well-crafted the first time, and I think that in that particular scene, fucking with things as little as possible is the best approach. Otherwise it's just making change for change's sake, and when the source material is as good as it is, that's a dangerous gambit. Also, in a character-building scene that is important to a character's future motivations, shot mimicking helps create a common experience for the two audiences: the people who have played the game and the people who are new to the story. I suspect it's important to give everyone a common foundation so that when the characters do things later on in the story, we don't have a schism in how the viewership experiences the scenes.

Fully agree. I wasn't talking about the visuals--Cody took that up--but I also think it was smart not to mess with what worked. So far, the changes made have been thoughtful and have addressed weaknesses in the game. It's actually underscored those weaknesses for me. (For example, spores were always a problem logically.)

Anyway, I'm hooked. Between this and Andor, I feel like maybe some of the studios are figuring out that writing is important to this medium.

Preach. Good writing always matters, but studios are lazy and risk adverse. I don't think HBO picked up The Last of Us because of the writing. I think it got picked up because of the demonstrated success of the talent that was assembled, and the greatest risk became that another streaming service might pick it up first.

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I think they nailed it

by cheapLEY @, Thursday, January 19, 2023, 09:31 (404 days ago) @ Kermit

(For example, spores were always a problem logically.)

Spores never made sense, and they never mattered for the gameplay (although I can imagine a world in which it had some sort of gas mask management elements or something). But goddamn did they ever set the mood and just look atmospheric and fantastic. I’m also not sure how you replicate Dina finding out about Ellie’s immunity because of her lack of gas mask, but I’m sure smart writers can figure that out fairly easily.

All that said, ditching them for the show was probably a good decision and it’s not like the transmission method is key to the story being told, so who cares really (except a bunch of weirdos on the internet, apparently—I saw a bunch of terrible reactions to that news and it really baffled me).

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I think they nailed it

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Thursday, January 19, 2023, 09:36 (404 days ago) @ cheapLEY
edited by Kermit, Thursday, January 19, 2023, 09:53

(For example, spores were always a problem logically.)


Spores never made sense, and they never mattered for the gameplay (although I can imagine a world in which it had some sort of gas mask management elements or something).

Au contraire. The gymnasium fight.

But goddamn did they ever set the mood and just look atmospheric and fantastic. I’m also not sure how you replicate Dina finding out about Ellie’s immunity because of her lack of gas mask, but I’m sure smart writers can figure that out fairly easily.


Still haven't played Part II, and the spoiler tags (which I didn't know were still a thing) almost worked. :)

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I think they nailed it

by cheapLEY @, Thursday, January 19, 2023, 10:02 (404 days ago) @ Kermit

(For example, spores were always a problem logically.)


Spores never made sense, and they never mattered for the gameplay (although I can imagine a world in which it had some sort of gas mask management elements or something).


Au contraire. The gymnasium fight.

I remember fighting bloaters in a gym, but I guess it’s been long enough that I don’t remember spores coming into play. Granted, the last time I actually made it that far into the game was on the PS3 version, I think.

But goddamn did they ever set the mood and just look atmospheric and fantastic. I’m also not sure how you replicate Dina finding out about Ellie’s immunity because of her lack of gas mask, but I’m sure smart writers can figure that out fairly easily.

Still haven't played Part II, and the spoiler tags (which I didn't know were still a thing) almost worked. :)

Ah, shit, sorry. I guess I should have called out it being a Part II thing. Didn’t think about it.

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I think they nailed it

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Thursday, January 19, 2023, 10:06 (404 days ago) @ cheapLEY

(For example, spores were always a problem logically.)


Spores never made sense, and they never mattered for the gameplay (although I can imagine a world in which it had some sort of gas mask management elements or something).


Au contraire. The gymnasium fight.


I remember fighting bloaters in a gym, but I guess it’s been long enough that I don’t remember spores coming into play. Granted, the last time I actually made it that far into the game was on the PS3 version, I think.

If you stood too long in a cloud, you were dead.

But goddamn did they ever set the mood and just look atmospheric and fantastic. I’m also not sure how you replicate Dina finding out about Ellie’s immunity because of her lack of gas mask, but I’m sure smart writers can figure that out fairly easily.

Still haven't played Part II, and the spoiler tags (which I didn't know were still a thing) almost worked. :)


Ah, shit, sorry. I guess I should have called out it being a Part II thing. Didn’t think about it.

No biggie, it was a tiny, completely predictable thing. I think I'm ready to pick it back up now that the covid gloom has lifted.

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I think they nailed it

by cheapLEY @, Saturday, January 21, 2023, 12:32 (402 days ago) @ Kermit

No biggie, it was a tiny, completely predictable thing. I think I'm ready to pick it back up now that the covid gloom has lifted.

You should. It’s good. The show has me considering another run through both games. They’ve both been reinstalled to my PS5, at least.

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I think they nailed it

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Thursday, January 19, 2023, 13:05 (404 days ago) @ cheapLEY

(For example, spores were always a problem logically.)


Spores never made sense, and they never mattered for the gameplay (although I can imagine a world in which it had some sort of gas mask management elements or something). But goddamn did they ever set the mood and just look atmospheric and fantastic. I’m also not sure how you replicate Dina finding out about Ellie’s immunity because of her lack of gas mask, but I’m sure smart writers can figure that out fairly easily.

Since the show is already I big hit, I wonder if they will even adapt part 2. It was just so gross in the way it had such contempt for anything feminine, I can't imagine HBO being comfortable with a faithful adaptation.

https://destiny.bungie.org/forum/index.php?id=170811

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Joel was never given a redemption

by Anna Komnene, Saturday, January 21, 2023, 15:43 (402 days ago) @ Cody Miller

The story hinges upon Joel failing with his biological daughter, and thus taking care of Ellie as an adopted daughter for redemption. But it just doesn't work if his daughter was adopted too… it's not really a second chance, it's not Joel desperately trying to make peace. It'd be just a redo. Further, children can just happen, so not being a great father but trying to after you realize that to your biological child, is shitty but at least admirable and I think people would root for you. But if you failed your adopted child? Well you chose it, so you're just a piece of shit.

Dude's a selfish asshole when we see him after the time jump, and he's a selfish asshole at the end when he can't let Ellie die because. He saves her because *he* needs her -- not because it's wrong for her to die.

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Joel was never given a redemption (*Part II spoilz*)

by Korny @, Dalton, Ga. US. Earth, Sol System, Saturday, January 21, 2023, 16:29 (402 days ago) @ Anna Komnene

The story hinges upon Joel failing with his biological daughter, and thus taking care of Ellie as an adopted daughter for redemption. But it just doesn't work if his daughter was adopted too… it's not really a second chance, it's not Joel desperately trying to make peace. It'd be just a redo. Further, children can just happen, so not being a great father but trying to after you realize that to your biological child, is shitty but at least admirable and I think people would root for you. But if you failed your adopted child? Well you chose it, so you're just a piece of shit.


Dude's a selfish asshole when we see him after the time jump, and he's a selfish asshole at the end when he can't let Ellie die because. He saves her because *he* needs her -- not because it's wrong for her to die.

Yup. It’s this very personal failing that sets the table for Part II. While Abby wasn’t right in killing him, Joel ultimately deserved it, and it’s funny that despite the bigger stakes, ultimately, they don’t matter at all to Ellie and Abby either. It’s just a personal issue of selfish actions that make the world a worse place. And one bad turn begets another.

The key message of Part II was never “revenge bad”. It was about how self-destructive selfishness is.
Ultimately, Joel got what he wanted, but at the cost of their relationship, the lives of those he hurt, and the future of the entire human race.
Abby got what she wanted, but it didn’t heal any of her wounds, and her friends paid the price.
And for every decision Ellie made to go after what she wanted (the truth, justice, revenge, etc.), it cost her the people she loved, one by one.

I pray that if/when the show does tackle Part II, the HBO audiences that were taught nuance in character writing by Game of Thrones will be the ones leading the discussion, as opposed to the incel game crowd who hated Part II because “We loVeD JoEL!”

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Joel was never given a redemption (*Part II spoilz*)

by cheapLEY @, Saturday, January 21, 2023, 20:19 (401 days ago) @ Korny

I pray that if/when the show does tackle Part II, the HBO audiences that were taught nuance in character writing by Game of Thrones will be the ones leading the discussion, as opposed to the incel game crowd who hated Part II because “We loVeD JoEL!”

I’ll be curious to see the whole debate about the ending of Part I again when the show gets there, then the follow up when they adapt Part II. I think that’s going to be a whole lot more challenging that Part I. Part II is one of the most masterfully executed experiences I’ve ever played, in terms of pacing and structure. I think it would work as television show, but I really wonder if the TV audience will just echo the game audience in terms of being upset to follow Abby for so long while just wanting to know what happens with Ellie.

Joel was never given a redemption (*Part II spoilz*)

by EffortlessFury @, Saturday, January 21, 2023, 21:38 (401 days ago) @ cheapLEY

Part II is one of the most masterfully executed experiences I’ve ever played, in terms of pacing and structure.

I get what you're saying here, but it's both right and wrong at the same time, IMO. In terms of how they wanted you to experience the arcs, and the emotions that would likely elicit initially, it was done properly. However, in terms of how palatable the concept would be received via said pacing and structure, and whether or not the emotions would continue to follow the arc they'd hoped for, I think the structure and pacing works against it.

It's sort of a catch-22 that comes with the story they were trying to tell. They wanted it to be difficult on an emotional level in that back half. They wanted to set you up to be the least prepared and willing to accept the back half. That was the challenge the game was putting forward at that point in time. The hope was that you would accept that challenge and ultimately begin to understand and see the full scope.

The issue is that some folks were not willing to accept that challenge and some folks didn't have a change of perspective even if they followed through. I'm sure the writers knew this was inevitable, and perhaps even common given the structure and pacing they chose, but the question is: was there a better way to pace and structure the game that still provides a similar emotional challenge, that may be less difficult to overcome but makes it easier for people to come around by the end? Which is more important? That more people see the truths behind the story even if it is less intense and less difficult for people to do so? Or that the difficulty in overcoming it is higher so that those who do overcome it need to have great perseverance and a more open mind?

I won't pretend to know what they wanted, nor what is the better of the options on the whole, but I will say that the way the story was structured and paced, I believe that it left a higher percentage of the audience who "got it" to already having been predisposed to, making it much more "preaching to the choir" than giving people a transformative experience. If the goal was to open more people's minds who might've been more closed to begin with, I believe this structure and pacing is the least effective way to do so.

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Joel was never given a redemption (*Part II spoilz*)

by cheapLEY @, Saturday, January 21, 2023, 22:04 (401 days ago) @ EffortlessFury

Over the past couple of days, I've been listening to the official Last of Us Podcast. They start at the beginning of the first game and work their way through both games, talking to Neil Druckmann, the cast of the game, and some other Naughty Dog developers about it along the way.

Neil talks about exactly what you're discussing here. It's not as in depth as I'd have liked, but it was interesting.

The original version of the game has you spending much more time as Abby early on. Neil said they changed it because it felt "too easy." By spending so much time with her before the inciting incident, players were already predisposed towards liking her. They specifically wanted you to feel like Ellie, wanted players to hate Abby as much as possible, and then they wanted to see if they could bring you back from that with the back half of the game.

There is almost certainly a more palatable version of the game, and very likely a version of the game that might actually be better from a strictly story-telling perspective. I think any of those version of the game would have been weaker from an emotional and just experiential standpoint, though. Part II takes players on a very specific journey that would not have been as powerful if it was presented in a more straightforward manner. That's why I think it's masterfully executed. It's not that there's no other version that could have been as good, or even better, in some regards, but that the version we got worked perfectly (at least for me) in accomplishing what they wanted from an emotional standpoint.

Joel was never given a redemption (*Part II spoilz*)

by EffortlessFury @, Monday, January 23, 2023, 11:05 (400 days ago) @ cheapLEY

Over the past couple of days, I've been listening to the official Last of Us Podcast. They start at the beginning of the first game and work their way through both games, talking to Neil Druckmann, the cast of the game, and some other Naughty Dog developers about it along the way.

Neil talks about exactly what you're discussing here. It's not as in depth as I'd have liked, but it was interesting.

The original version of the game has you spending much more time as Abby early on. Neil said they changed it because it felt "too easy." By spending so much time with her before the inciting incident, players were already predisposed towards liking her. They specifically wanted you to feel like Ellie, wanted players to hate Abby as much as possible, and then they wanted to see if they could bring you back from that with the back half of the game.

There is almost certainly a more palatable version of the game, and very likely a version of the game that might actually be better from a strictly story-telling perspective. I think any of those version of the game would have been weaker from an emotional and just experiential standpoint, though. Part II takes players on a very specific journey that would not have been as powerful if it was presented in a more straightforward manner. That's why I think it's masterfully executed. It's not that there's no other version that could have been as good, or even better, in some regards, but that the version we got worked perfectly (at least for me) in accomplishing what they wanted from an emotional standpoint.

Like I said, I think it was done correctly to convey the experience they wanted to convey, but that experience is only possible if a person is capable of making that turnaround. That approach has inherent flaws. I think it's an interesting journey to have, but I do wonder if there was a version that could've approached it differently and given a similar experience with less inherent flaws and thus a wider possible audience.

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Joel was never given a redemption (*Part II spoilz*)

by cheapLEY @, Monday, January 23, 2023, 12:13 (400 days ago) @ EffortlessFury

Like I said, I think it was done correctly to convey the experience they wanted to convey, but that experience is only possible if a person is capable of making that turnaround. That approach has inherent flaws. I think it's an interesting journey to have, but I do wonder if there was a version that could've approached it differently and given a similar experience with less inherent flaws and thus a wider possible audience.

Oh, sure, I think that is something that absolutely could have happened (and will necessarily have to if the show goes on to do Part II).

I’m certainly glad they didn’t make that version, though.

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Wasn't a fan of Part II's story because...

by Anna Komnene, Sunday, January 22, 2023, 10:46 (401 days ago) @ Korny

I don't like stories about assholes, and Part II turned Ellie into one huge asshole. Justifications aside, it's just not my thing. Despite Joel being an asshole in Part 1, I was able to get on board because: one, I enjoyed the gameplay, and that's the most important thing in a game to me; two, I really enjoyed Ellie; and three, they were ultimately trying to do something good.

Part II? I hate Part II for making me hate a character I really enjoyed. It's not the sort of character development I like, it's just not what I look for in my stories personally.

That being said, if Part III comes out and I enjoy it, then I'm willing to forget Part II ever existed, and Ellie lost her fingers from an infected person (ugh -- that reminds me of Halsey losing her arms in the Halo series).

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Wasn't a fan of Part II's story because...

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Sunday, January 22, 2023, 11:07 (401 days ago) @ Anna Komnene

I don't like stories about assholes, and Part II turned Ellie into one huge asshole. Justifications aside, it's just not my thing. Despite Joel being an asshole in Part 1, I was able to get on board because: one, I enjoyed the gameplay, and that's the most important thing in a game to me; two, I really enjoyed Ellie; and three, they were ultimately trying to do something good.

Part II? I hate Part II for making me hate a character I really enjoyed. It's not the sort of character development I like, it's just not what I look for in my stories personally.

That being said, if Part III comes out and I enjoy it, then I'm willing to forget Part II ever existed, and Ellie lost her fingers from an infected person (ugh -- that reminds me of Halsey losing her arms in the Halo series).

One critic was talking to their gay friend about Ellie and representation in games, and she said "Actually, I don't want representation in this shitty world full or shitty people".

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Wasn't a fan of Part II's story because...

by cheapLEY @, Sunday, January 22, 2023, 17:52 (400 days ago) @ Anna Komnene

I think that’s a super understandable perspective.

Maybe I’m just enough of an asshole that I really found myself getting lost in her journey. The game just worked on me. I’ve never hated a group of fictional people as much as I did Abby’s gang for the first half of that game.

Wasn't a fan of Part II's story because...

by EffortlessFury @, Monday, January 23, 2023, 11:11 (400 days ago) @ Anna Komnene

I don't like stories about assholes.

Neither do I, but in my case, I see potential value in experiences that I don't "enjoy" in a traditional sense. TLOU2 was painful, watching and participating in actions I did not approve of. It's like watching a tragedy where you see the trainwreck coming but have to watch it happen anyway, but a unique form of that where you're the one driving the actions you don't actually want to happen. I can understand that not being for everyone, but I wanted to say that it is possible to not like the kind of story it is and still find it worth experiencing.

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Joel was never given a redemption

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Sunday, January 22, 2023, 08:46 (401 days ago) @ Anna Komnene

The story hinges upon Joel failing with his biological daughter, and thus taking care of Ellie as an adopted daughter for redemption. But it just doesn't work if his daughter was adopted too… it's not really a second chance, it's not Joel desperately trying to make peace. It'd be just a redo. Further, children can just happen, so not being a great father but trying to after you realize that to your biological child, is shitty but at least admirable and I think people would root for you. But if you failed your adopted child? Well you chose it, so you're just a piece of shit.


Dude's a selfish asshole when we see him after the time jump, and he's a selfish asshole at the end when he can't let Ellie die because. He saves her because *he* needs her -- not because it's wrong for her to die.

Absolutely. It's redemption in HIS eyes. Something HE needs. To the point where he'll burn anything and anyone to get it.

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Episode 2

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Sunday, January 22, 2023, 22:23 (400 days ago) @ Cody Miller

First of all, one thing I find fascinating is in the final scene. In the game, Tess orders Joel to go, and he and Ellie both go willingly (After they leave, Ellie briefly chastises Joel for leaving her to die, but quickly moves on). In the show? Joel drags Ellie away with her literally kicking and screaming. She doesn't want to leave Tess. It's kind of a change I can get behind, as right now you want Joel and Ellie on different pages yeah? So they can come together later.

I'm watching a show that for all intents and purposes is nailing it. Nearly all of the choices are solid (dunno about the 'kiss' though…), and they are crafting moments of tension, levity, understanding, and somehow managing to exposit in a way that doesn't bog anything down. The walk and talk, while fine in a game can get too much on the screen, but it was kept to a minimum. As cheapLEY mentioned to me, in the game the explanation for the clickers is just a popup, where here we learn more naturally.

So I can't say if it's just that I know what's happening because I've seen these images and this story before, but it's not affecting me as strongly as when I played. In particular I remember being more attached to Tess. In the show it feels like I didn't really get to know her as well as I'd have wanted, and then she's gone. In the game, I think we spent more time with her and I noticed the difference, especially in understanding her relationship to Joel.

One thing you inevitably lose is the sense of travel. The show give you a glimpse, but the video game lets you feel the distance they are traveling because you traverse it all more or less. The show does it fine, but the game does it better.

And yet it managed to surprise me with little moments that would not have fit in the game. The VFX hold up incredibly well; 1000x better than Halo's. I guess it helps that most of the CG is inanimate buildings rather than animated aliens, but you'll believe 97% of it.

P.S. Detroit represent

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Dustin Echoes

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, January 23, 2023, 12:47 (400 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I think I've identified the feeling of misgiving I've had regarding the show despite its objective quality.

The original game was, at the time of release, striving for a 'cinematic' story, and borrowed so much from film, and in particular prestige TV. Incorporating techniques and lessons from those mediums into that of a video game; saying 'Hey, we can do this too'. And it was a big success, and a big step forward for games as vehicles for more complex narratives.

But when adapted back into the very medium that inspired its choices, in such a 'faithful' manner, it just feels like a reminder of the game and those lessons, rather than something exciting as a show in and of itself. I get that this is what people think they want, and it's kind of just the extension of making 'cinematic' games to begin with. A faithful adaptation simply proves the original had worth. But wasn't it obvious the original game had worth?

And yet, the result just kind of boring no? That sucks to say because again, everybody is nailing it, but you can't just take the watching experience in a vacuum. While the game did what no game did before, the show is doing what every show has done before. The selling point of the show IS the faithfulness of the adaptation, rather than the artistic reachings of the show itself (which, make no mistake, are high and largely realized).

Always ask what new experience to do enable with an adaptation? The shifting of mediums is by definition to enable something different. And here the differences lack, because the show is just an echo of the game and the things it learned from TV. So FOR ME, someone who has played the game… the experience is simply not different enough to be compelling.

In a way, even though the Halo show was 'worse', I found myself far more compelled while watching it than I have been with Last of Us. And what a weird feeling for that show to be trashed for not being 'faithful', yet being far more interesting of an experience for me than a show being highly praised for its faithfulness to the source. But its willingness not to be faithful was what made it so much more intriguing.

Dustin Echoes

by Claude Errera @, Monday, January 23, 2023, 13:04 (400 days ago) @ Cody Miller

But when adapted back into the very medium that inspired its choices, in such a 'faithful' manner, it just feels like a reminder of the game and those lessons, rather than something exciting as a show in and of itself. I get that this is what people think they want, and it's kind of just the extension of making 'cinematic' games to begin with. A faithful adaptation simply proves the original had worth. But wasn't it obvious the original game had worth?

Remember: a couple of million people (maybe a few million - hell, maybe 10 million, I don't know) have played the game, at most.

[edit: google says 17 million copies of the first game had been sold as of 2018. I know that 2 of those were to me, and I haven't played it (fully) yet. I doubt I'm the only multi-copy purchaser.)]

Hundreds of millions of people watch TV. (Billions, if you don't limit it to the US.)

There are lots and lots and lots of people who might watch this show that have never, and will never, play the game.

Becky asked about it last night. She'd never heard of Last of Us (the video game) - she just saw the preview on HBO, and was intrigued.

Those people will not be bored because it's rehashed territory.

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Dustin Echoes

by ZackDark @, Not behind you. NO! Don't look., Monday, January 23, 2023, 13:27 (400 days ago) @ Claude Errera

I, for one, am watching it so I don't have to play the game! :p

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Dustin Echoes

by cheapLEY @, Monday, January 23, 2023, 14:14 (400 days ago) @ Claude Errera

Those people will not be bored because it's rehashed territory.

I will also say that while I get where Cody is coming from, I couldn’t disagree more. I’m playing the game again currently, and it has been cemented as a certified masterpiece for me. It is really that good in all aspects.

I still find the show incredibly good and compelling, and I have not been bored for a single second. Yeah, it absolutely is different because I have played the game, but that does not make it lesser in any way. They are making legitimately smart choices in adaptation, and I think the elements they’re bringing in from the game have been incredible.

There is a scene with some infected in a museum in the newest episode. It is legitimately as tense as I felt during that exact same portion of the game, and they did a better job than I would have thought possible translating both that emotion and the actual mechanics of the gameplay. My first play through of that section played out so closely to how that scene played out in the show I was honestly kind of amazed. That it was not a wholly new experience did not take away from that scene at all—in fact, it might have enhanced it. It’s impossible to know, because we’re not in a world where I haven’t played the game, but I suspect that scene hits harder because I can tap into the memories of terror and tension I felt while actually controlling Joel in that scene.

We can debate the artistic merits of that all day long, but I think the exercise of adapting the game in the truest way possible so that it works alone while also potentially being enhanced for the folks that played is one worthy of existing.

I wonder how much so called spoiler culture plays into this. I don’t care about story spoilers at all. Knowing what will happen next has never one ruined my enjoyment of a story, and I think most stories would rely on not being spoiled to be effective are just not good stories. So knowing The Last of Us has not hindered my enjoyment of the show.

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Dustin Echoes

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, January 23, 2023, 18:00 (399 days ago) @ Claude Errera

But when adapted back into the very medium that inspired its choices, in such a 'faithful' manner, it just feels like a reminder of the game and those lessons, rather than something exciting as a show in and of itself. I get that this is what people think they want, and it's kind of just the extension of making 'cinematic' games to begin with. A faithful adaptation simply proves the original had worth. But wasn't it obvious the original game had worth?


Remember: a couple of million people (maybe a few million - hell, maybe 10 million, I don't know) have played the game, at most.

[edit: google says 17 million copies of the first game had been sold as of 2018. I know that 2 of those were to me, and I haven't played it (fully) yet. I doubt I'm the only multi-copy purchaser.)]

Hundreds of millions of people watch TV. (Billions, if you don't limit it to the US.)

There are lots and lots and lots of people who might watch this show that have never, and will never, play the game.

Becky asked about it last night. She'd never heard of Last of Us (the video game) - she just saw the preview on HBO, and was intrigued.

Those people will not be bored because it's rehashed territory.

I made an effort to put FOR ME in all caps man :-p

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Episode 2

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, January 23, 2023, 19:04 (399 days ago) @ Cody Miller

First of all, one thing I find fascinating is in the final scene. In the game, Tess orders Joel to go, and he and Ellie both go willingly (After they leave, Ellie briefly chastises Joel for leaving her to die, but quickly moves on). In the show? Joel drags Ellie away with her literally kicking and screaming. She doesn't want to leave Tess. It's kind of a change I can get behind, as right now you want Joel and Ellie on different pages yeah? So they can come together later.

I'm watching a show that for all intents and purposes is nailing it. Nearly all of the choices are solid (dunno about the 'kiss' though…), and they are crafting moments of tension, levity, understanding, and somehow managing to exposit in a way that doesn't bog anything down. The walk and talk, while fine in a game can get too much on the screen, but it was kept to a minimum. As cheapLEY mentioned to me, in the game the explanation for the clickers is just a popup, where here we learn more naturally.

So I can't say if it's just that I know what's happening because I've seen these images and this story before, but it's not affecting me as strongly as when I played. In particular I remember being more attached to Tess. In the show it feels like I didn't really get to know her as well as I'd have wanted, and then she's gone. In the game, I think we spent more time with her and I noticed the difference, especially in understanding her relationship to Joel.

She could've used more screen time, but overall I thought Anna Torv did a great job with a character that was more complex than in the game. I thought I understood her relationship with Joel just as well if not better. (There's less ambiguity about their physical intimacy, for one thing.) The way she talked him down about Robert! Chef's kiss. And speaking of kiss. I was ambivalent, too. I've never seen a runner do anything other than wildly attack and bite you, even in the show. Helluva visual, though. The clickers were great, except, did they bite you in the game? I thought they just ripped your head off. I want to know if viewers new to this guessed that Tess was bit. In the game you knew exactly when it happened, in retrospect. One more thing: Love every nuance Bella Ramsey is bringing to Ellie, but I haven't liked the fake twitch since I saw it in the teaser. I don't think, given her experiences, she would make that joke. Really looking forward to the next episode, given what I've heard.


One thing you inevitably lose is the sense of travel. The show give you a glimpse, but the video game lets you feel the distance they are traveling because you traverse it all more or less. The show does it fine, but the game does it better.

And yet it managed to surprise me with little moments that would not have fit in the game. The VFX hold up incredibly well; 1000x better than Halo's. I guess it helps that most of the CG is inanimate buildings rather than animated aliens, but you'll believe 97% of it.

P.S. Detroit represent

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Episode 2

by cheapLEY @, Monday, January 23, 2023, 19:19 (399 days ago) @ Kermit

Clickers definitely bite you in the game. Bloaters rip your face off.

They talk about the kiss on the podcast. Basically the runner stopped and noticed Tess because it could sense that she was infected. It knew she was one of them now. Of course that doesn’t explain why she would just stand there and let it happen. Or why she was trying to use a lighter instead of one of the grenades she dumped on the floor.

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Episode 3

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, January 30, 2023, 17:42 (392 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Brought to you by Tampax Pearl.

Ok, so I loved this episode. Loved, Loved, Loved it. My read was that it is essentially a counter example to the notion that so much of apocalyptic fiction has, that given the breakdown of society human beings will naturally gravitate towards conservatism as if it were the default.

It's a pretty common notion in almost all the stories that center around societal collapse, and such criticism has been levied against many shows like The Walking Dead. I feel like the Last of Us the game is not immune to this criticism as well. You see folks either integrate into fascist governments, or embody the old style conservatism of the old west, where you take your guns, protect what's yours, and let the strong survive.

From the game, Bill in particular embodies this. While he is gay, he presents as hyper masculine, aggressive, unfeeling. At the start of the episode, so too does this Bill. But this time he's a Trumper, with lots of guns, a 'castle' with his own (border) wall, cuts wood and eats steak, and sports a 'Don't tread on Me' flag. He berates Frank because he doesn't want Hobos or Vagabonds to try to get a free meal out of him. Perhaps though, more importantly is that he is a repressed homosexual. When he and Frank get in bed for the first time, Bill confesses that he's only had sex once before, and with a woman. The implication as the scene plays out is that he's never let anyone see this side of him.

Frank convinces him to let people through, and they begin trading with Joel and Tess. However when he trades a gun for seeds, that's when the show seals the deal. As they eat the strawberries that were grown, nurtured into being, the joy is too much he weeps. This moment is where the show tells us that no, Fascism or old west masculinity is NOT the only way in this world. And so Bill cares for Frank. A wheelchair, which anywhere else would mean your abandonment in this world, means nothing as Bill and frank live out their lives. Frank's euthanasia is contrasted with Ellie's killing of the stuck zombie. Ellie did it out of a combination of fear, disgust, and curiosity (playing with it before sealing the deal), while Bill's act is born from love.

And so the show DOESN'T commit to the notion that the games and most media do. There IS room in this world for someone like Bill to be himself. Is it a coincidence that I loved this episode so much, when it's the one that deviates from the game the most?

Stupendous.

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Episode 3

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, January 30, 2023, 21:18 (392 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Brought to you by Tampax Pearl.

Ok, so I loved this episode. Loved, Loved, Loved it. My read was that it is essentially a counter example to the notion that so much of apocalyptic fiction has, that given the breakdown of society human beings will naturally gravitate towards conservatism as if it were the default.

It's a pretty common notion in almost all the stories that center around societal collapse, and such criticism has been levied against many shows like The Walking Dead. I feel like the Last of Us the game is not immune to this criticism as well. You see folks either integrate into fascist governments, or embody the old style conservatism of the old west, where you take your guns, protect what's yours, and let the strong survive.

From the game, Bill in particular embodies this. While he is gay, he presents as hyper masculine, aggressive, unfeeling. At the start of the episode, so too does this Bill. But this time he's a Trumper, with lots of guns, a 'castle' with his own (border) wall, cuts wood and eats steak, and sports a 'Don't tread on Me' flag. He berates Frank because he doesn't want Hobos or Vagabonds to try to get a free meal out of him. Perhaps though, more importantly is that he is a repressed homosexual. When he and Frank get in bed for the first time, Bill confesses that he's only had sex once before, and with a woman. The implication as the scene plays out is that he's never let anyone see this side of him.

Frank convinces him to let people through, and they begin trading with Joel and Tess. However when he trades a gun for seeds, that's when the show seals the deal. As they eat the strawberries that were grown, nurtured into being, the joy is too much he weeps. This moment is where the show tells us that no, Fascism or old west masculinity is NOT the only way in this world. And so Bill cares for Frank. A wheelchair, which anywhere else would mean your abandonment in this world, means nothing as Bill and frank live out their lives. Frank's euthanasia is contrasted with Ellie's killing of the stuck zombie. Ellie did it out of a combination of fear, disgust, and curiosity (playing with it before sealing the deal), while Bill's act is born from love.

And so the show DOESN'T commit to the notion that the games and most media do. There IS room in this world for someone like Bill to be himself. Is it a coincidence that I loved this episode so much, when it's the one that deviates from the game the most?

Stupendous.

I loved it, too, but I don't think I attach your labels to Bill (or agree with the interpretations that spring from them. Bill doesn't even accept "prepper"--although I think it fits, and on that score I'd say he bet wisely). When society breaks down, it's predictable that humans act like humans, and this predates "the old west" by quite a bit. I would not say that Bill is unfeeling before Frank. He just didn't have anyone to direct those feelings toward. (Even in the game, it's clear that his gruffness is a defensive act.) I would never say he berates Frank. He explains why he can't feed him, but is easily convinced to do so regardless. I see their relationship as complementary. Yes, Frank brings beauty, intimacy, love, and relationships into Bill's life, but these are luxuries that can exist only because of the protective bubble that Bill provides. George Orwell said, "...men can only be highly civilized while other men, inevitably less civilized, are there to guard and feed them." It's pretty obvious which is which in this story.

I do have mixed feelings about the double suicide. I'm for relief from suffering, but in a non-apocalyptic world that is nonetheless plagued by loneliness and depression, I'm anxious about encouraging the option. See also Melancholia.

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Episode 3

by cheapLEY @, Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 12:47 (392 days ago) @ Cody Miller

But this time he's a Trumper

Goddamn, you don’t have to assault the man’s character like that.

In all seriousness, it’s a weird time capsule, right? The association of the Gadsden flag has changed so much recently. You have to remember the outbreak was in 2003, so it doesn’t necessarily carry the same baggage as it does now.

On a related time weirdness not—gay marriage wasn’t legal by the time the outbreak happened, so Bill lived in a time when it was even less acceptable to be an out gay man.

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Episode 3

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 14:26 (392 days ago) @ cheapLEY

In all seriousness, it’s a weird time capsule, right? The association of the Gadsden flag has changed so much recently. You have to remember the outbreak was in 2003, so it doesn’t necessarily carry the same baggage as it does now.

Wikipedia says the modern usage of the flag came about in the 1970s. So in 2003, I think its indication is similar. He wasn’t a LITERAL Trumper, but he embodied the same spirit.

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Episode 3

by cheapLEY @, Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 14:55 (392 days ago) @ Cody Miller

In all seriousness, it’s a weird time capsule, right? The association of the Gadsden flag has changed so much recently. You have to remember the outbreak was in 2003, so it doesn’t necessarily carry the same baggage as it does now.


Wikipedia says the modern usage of the flag came about in the 1970s. So in 2003, I think its indication is similar. He wasn’t a LITERAL Trumper, but he embodied the same spirit.

I had a reply typed out to this, but I can already hear Claude sighing in exasperation somewhere about this thread, so I won’t post it here. I’ll text you later.

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Episode 3

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 20:15 (391 days ago) @ Cody Miller

In all seriousness, it’s a weird time capsule, right? The association of the Gadsden flag has changed so much recently. You have to remember the outbreak was in 2003, so it doesn’t necessarily carry the same baggage as it does now.


Wikipedia says the modern usage of the flag came about in the 1970s. So in 2003, I think its indication is similar. He wasn’t a LITERAL Trumper, but he embodied the same spirit.

The flag always been popular among libertarians, and it's been co-opted by diverse movements at different times based on opposition to what the current government is doing. I said I disagree with your interpretations, and based on the evidence in the show, I could make a strong case that Bill is a hard-core libertarian, probably not a fan of the Bushes' New World Order ideology, and Frank is a gay Republican, who finds Bill's Bush-Hitler rhetoric tiresome. I'm not saying this is the correct interpretation, but good writing allows many, and at least I'm considering the timeframe.

As a general matter, do we have to assume we know so much about someone based on such incomplete information? Must even fictional characters be pigeonholed? Must we claim we have their number? I think people are pretty freaking complicated (I am, and why would I assume others aren't?), and I love when fictional characters are complicated. I certainly think that in the Last of Us world, many of the things we obsess over in this 2023 would fall by the wayside.

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Episode 3

by cheapLEY @, Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 20:37 (391 days ago) @ Kermit

Twitter never existed in The Last of Us, so that’s a plus.

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Episode 3

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 20:51 (391 days ago) @ cheapLEY

Twitter never existed in The Last of Us, so that’s a plus.

Each timeline has its plague.

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Episode 3

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 20:54 (391 days ago) @ cheapLEY

Twitter never existed in The Last of Us, so that’s a plus.

I wonder if Joel was on eHarmony before the outbreak.

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Episode 4

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, February 06, 2023, 16:30 (386 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I don't have much to say… it's kind of just back to the plot of the game. It was… fine? Much less interesting than the previous episode.

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Episode 4

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, February 06, 2023, 17:13 (386 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I don't have much to say… it's kind of just back to the plot of the game. It was… fine? Much less interesting than the previous episode.

I thought it was interesting how they tried to add depth to the hunters, but I don't know that it worked, and it might be confusing to those who don't know this world (and if there are Part II resonances, I wouldn't know). We have Kathleen's desire to avenge her brother, what is motivating these people as a group, and what distinguishes them from the Fireflies? And why does that Perry guy sound just like Tommy? (I'm actually very happy that Jeffrey Pierce is getting some screen time, and for the record, Gabriel Luna sounds just like Tommy, too.)

This isn't fair, but every scene where Joel and Ellie follow the script of game exactly, I'm disappointed with the new delivery--especially in Bella Ramsey's case. Her performance is more consistently an obstinate teen, whereas Ashley Johnson walked the line between that and wide-eyed kid. For example, in the magazine sequence, I know the old line "it was just lying there" doesn't really work with the changed story, but it's exactly the kind of justification a kid would come up with.

A plus I just thought of: I like that she's shot someone before. I suspect that's a reference to Riley. There's part of me that doesn't want that particular part of the story revealed, but it would make it more heartbreaking. So far this show's done a lot of "let's take heartbreaking, and turn up the volume to 11."

Kermit

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Episode 4--Wheel Spinning

by cheapLEY @, Monday, February 06, 2023, 17:35 (385 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I still quite enjoyed the episode. I absolutely love all of the interactions between Joel and Ellie, but the problem is they then turn around and spend a bunch of the episode with people I do not care about. Maybe that's all going somewhere and we'll find out next week, but I kindof doubt it, honestly.

We now have five episodes left to get through meeting Tommy, all of the David stuff, the end of the game, and Left Behind. They're going to have to wrap up this thread with these people and Henry and Sam next episode.

I understand wanting to give some depth to a group of people who have none in the game, but it seems that treatment could have been better spent maybe on David's crew or something. I also think it's necessary for Joel and Ellie to overcome obstacles together, and that's sort of the only thing happening in this segment in the game. I'm not sure going into the Hunter's backstory is really a worthwhile use of time in this instance.

I'll reserve total judgment until it's all finished--maybe they're doing something great with this sub-plot, but, again, I don't see it.

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Episode 4--Wheel Spinning

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, February 06, 2023, 17:40 (385 days ago) @ cheapLEY

I also think it's necessary for Joel and Ellie to overcome obstacles together, and that's sort of the only thing happening in this segment in the game.

Oh but they did! Joel boosted her through a hole, and not once but TWICE did she open a door for him. Just like in the game!! :-p

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Episode 5

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, February 13, 2023, 19:10 (378 days ago) @ Cody Miller

“Kids die, they die all the time. Do you think the whole world revolves around him? That he’s worth everything?”

LAYING IT ON SOOOOO THICK

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Episode 5

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, February 13, 2023, 23:26 (378 days ago) @ Cody Miller

Ok for real.

I'm imagining this scene is going to come next episode… but I can't help but feel like in the game at this point Joel and Ellie have been through more together, and developed a more complex relationship. If we see this scene next week… would you buy it? From what we've seen in the show, would you believe Ellie would tell Joel she'd be more scared with someone else?

I'm worried that the show isn't really giving us the one thing the whole story is actually about. There's only 4 episodes to go… I'm wondering how we are going to get there when time is running out.

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Episode 5

by cheapLEY @, Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 05:01 (378 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by cheapLEY, Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 05:53

That’s my biggest issue with the show so far.

Expanding on stories of the people around Joel and Ellie is smart. It’s something TV can do better than games. The problem is it’s not giving enough room for Joel and Ellie. We really haven’t seen much of them together at this point.

I feel like the Hunters’ subplot was a waste of time. It didn’t really do anything. Okay, she’s mad that Henry ratted on her brother. Who cares? She’s leading people and their default state is one in which they attack two travelers they don’t know, and not in defense. They straight up tried to lure Joel into stopping so they could capture and probably kill them. They weren’t protecting their own, they were taking advantage of others in the worst ways. If her brother was anything like her and that group of people, it’s probably a good thing he’s dead.

My point is they tried to create a bunch of empathy and they mostly failed. That entire group ended up being a huge group of assholes that got exactly what they deserved. I guess calling their story a waste of time is overkill, but that time could have been much better spent cementing Joel and Ellie’s relationship.

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Episode 5

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 08:18 (378 days ago) @ cheapLEY

I feel like the Hunters’ subplot was a waste of time. It didn’t really do anything. Okay, she’s mad that Henry ratted on her brother. Who cares? She’s leading people and their default state is one in which they attack two travelers they don’t know, and not in defense.

Because they wanted to set up and foreshadow what Joel is about to do with Ellie. Like… Henry killing the leader to get the medicine for Sam is basically a lite version of Joel killing everyone to save Ellie. Which I dunno, kinda would make it less impactful when that does actually happen. Because you know, instead of it being this shocking unique choice, it's just what Henry did before but bigger in scope.

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Episode 5

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, February 20, 2023, 10:30 (372 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by Kermit, Monday, February 20, 2023, 10:45

I feel like the Hunters’ subplot was a waste of time. It didn’t really do anything. Okay, she’s mad that Henry ratted on her brother. Who cares? She’s leading people and their default state is one in which they attack two travelers they don’t know, and not in defense.

I agree with CheapLEY. It's fine to humanize your villains, but they did enough of that just before Joel finishes off the first hunter. I hated the Kathleen character, not just because her character was despicable, but her character added nothing except hamfisted foreshadowing, which wasn't necessary. You shouldn't humanize your villains just for the sake of it, nor should you cast against type for the sake of it. It wasn't revelatory in any way to have a sociopathic kindergarden teacher.

Because they wanted to set up and foreshadow what Joel is about to do with Ellie. Like… Henry killing the leader to get the medicine for Sam is basically a lite version of Joel killing everyone to save Ellie. Which I dunno, kinda would make it less impactful when that does actually happen. Because you know, instead of it being this shocking unique choice, it's just what Henry did before but bigger in scope.

Yeah, I fear that by the time it happens, it will be completely predictable. Despite its flaws, episode 5 was my favorite so far. Still mulling over ep. 6, which made Joel weaker than I thought he had to be. I do think they did a pretty good job of moving the plot along, and deepening the Joel and Ellie relationship.

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The Ebert Trap

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, February 20, 2023, 08:17 (372 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by Cody Miller, Monday, February 20, 2023, 08:22

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2023/01/the-last-of-us-video-game-hbo-show-episode-3/672889/

What's frustrating here is that much of what Ian Bogost writes here is technically correct, but not for the reasons he thinks.

The problem with video-game storytelling is a structural one. Games demand action, and action, for better or worse, entails movement through space and collision with other objects in that space…But the expectation of movement and collision also limits the capacity of games, especially games that want to tell stories.

In games, exterior action is easier than inner life. Movement and collision detection, doors and drawers, ropes and firearms. What a character thinks or feels still must be communicated by language, and that requires either dialogue or artifacts—like the found note on the fridge—or both…This framework does not lend itself naturally to the development of deep, emotional human characters.

What's frustrating is that he's taking the failures of AAA gaming and generalizing that to the medium as a whole. He's absolutely correct, but only when you look at modern AAA games which base their stories around such 'exterior action'. It's why Bioshock Infinite was an FPS and not an Adventure Game. But these are creative failures on individual levels, not a failure of the medium.

Games like One Night Stand, or Kentucky Route Zero and others like them do not base their stories or mechanics around such external action, all the while making interaction a central and essential part of the experience (as long as you ignore achievements / trophies). They offer character empathy beyond dialogue and and artifacts. They are unadaptable because the fundamental themes and experience is inexorably linked to the medium, all the while never asking you to partake in the typical 'action' of what's obligatory in AAA games.

I've mentioned before that theoretically game adaptations into film stand no chance if the game is sophisticated enough, but there I only outlined this in terms of visual fidelity and film language. While briefly touched on, I failed to adequately explain that the nature of the interaction itself is as of much importance. Games whose experiences are limited and whose stories are shaped by the need to run and shoot and jump in a game system that can sustain hours of such actions can give way to adaptations that are free from those limitations and can thus rise above those shortcomings.

But that is again a creative failure on the AAA developer, not a reason to proclaim video games a storytelling ghetto. His criticisms of Last of Us are correct, but only insofar as Naughty Dog crafted a game around the same old shit we've been doing in games forever. To extend the logic and assume games are narrative wastelands is simply ignorant, and ignores the games that exist right now that are unadaptable without losing a huge part of the experience, and whose verbs are far more sophisticated, internal, and emotional.

But even beyond that, it seems as if he's not recognizing that the story of The Last of Us was specifically crafted around the idea you would be traversing and shooting and playing, as if that were a failure rather than a successful creative choice for the game. The reason he finds the show thin and boring is precisely because the action fills in the gaps, the time, the struggles, it's all intrinsic to the feeling of connection. When you help Ellie onto a raft for the 10th time, or boost her up, you're developing a narrative connection that isn't really possible without a set of goal based interactions. Is the Giraffe section going to be as good, when in the game it was a nice surprise after expecting just another boost up to hide some loading? The repetition actually has a narrative affect.

The notion that removing all of that leaves the experience bare and uninteresting is precisely why games are NOT worthless as a means to tell stories. And yet his criticism is the medium, not the adaptation that like nearly all game adaptations just doesn't seem to fully appreciate or understand what you give up by not letting the player interact.

I'm hoping this changes, both as experimentation in games continues and as critics who better understand video games begin to write and make their voices heard. Perhaps it's a defense, as the prestige of film and television wane, rightfully challenged by games with their irrefutably wider possibility space. These critics are smart - however their knowledge of games are too narrow and tainted to apply that knowledge meaningfully. Art criticism is behind with regards to the video game. It needs to catch up.

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The failure of The Last of Us show.

by cheapLEY @, Sunday, March 05, 2023, 19:39 (358 days ago) @ Cody Miller

It’s hyperbolic, but only sort of of. The show is fine. But it has failed in perhaps the most important way.

I don’t buy Joel and Ellie’s relationship. When he calls her baby girl at the end of tonight’s episode, I just don’t believe it. In the game (which I played through the week the show started), that line lands and solidifies the relationship we knew existed. The show has not given us enough for me to buy into the relationship all the way yet. They’ve hit all the big events and moments, and I even think most of those individual moments are done better in the show. But it hasn’t quite been enough. It’s not a fair comparison, but I think it highlights the strength of video games that the relationship is stronger there. Because it’s not only the big character shaping moments, it’s all the little ones. The ice cream trucks and the movie posters and every little conversation and one liner that makes me believe the building of that relationship.

I was struck a bit by the ending of the episode in Jackson with Tommy. Joel changing his mind and his line, “you deserve a choice,” was probably the change I like the least. I think that moment was much stronger in the game. It feels much more like Joel coming to an independent and very deliberate choice in the game. And also the show has been very heavy handed in the lead up to what Joel will eventually do. I honestly wonder if they know that some people aren’t going to quite buy in and needed to really reinforce that with Bill’s letter and what’s her name’s monologue to Sam and Henry.

I’m really eager to see the final episode and how it ultimately lands. This is pretty clearly the best video game adaptation that’s been done, and I still think it’s excellent overall. But I do think it’s weaker than I expected, too. The individual elements of the show are great. The actors are excellent, and I like these versions of Joel and Ellie maybe even more than the game versions, but the show (and especially Joel and Ellie’s relationship) doesn’t quite capture the game. I do think some of that could be fixed with more focus on Joel and Ellie, but I’m not sure anything could have made it match the game in that regard. The small moments that fill the game wouldn’t make sense in a tv show, no matter how much time you had to include it.

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The failure of The Last of Us show.

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Sunday, March 05, 2023, 22:54 (358 days ago) @ cheapLEY

The small moments that fill the game wouldn’t make sense in a tv show, no matter how much time you had to include it.

“I’ve written before that part of what I like about videogame design as a dramatic instrument is their ability to put us a hundred percent into the moments editors would leave out of a film”

-Tim Rogers

And so we come back to the unavoidable deficiencies in AAA game to film adaptation.

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The failure of The Last of Us show.

by Korny @, Dalton, Ga. US. Earth, Sol System, Monday, March 06, 2023, 10:35 (358 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by Korny, Monday, March 06, 2023, 10:40

The small moments that fill the game wouldn’t make sense in a tv show, no matter how much time you had to include it.


“I’ve written before that part of what I like about videogame design as a dramatic instrument is their ability to put us a hundred percent into the moments editors would leave out of a film”

-Tim Rogers

And so we come back to the unavoidable deficiencies in AAA game to film adaptation.

I’m playing through NieR: Replicant, which starts with a prologue where a boy is protecting his sick younger sister in a cold, post-apocalyptic convenience store. Obviously with this premise we are supposed to feel for her, but I didn’t at this point. Sure the setup was straightforward, and after he fought off a number of enemies, she tried to share a lone cookie with him before collapsing and leaving him screaming for help.

This is what an editor would totally leave in a film, and how they expect to hook the audience.

The game then jumps roughly 1,500(!?) years into the future, and the same boy(!?) is taking care of his same sick younger sister(!?), named Yonah. He scolds her when she leaves the house to visit the local library, and ties her ribbon, which has come loose on her trip uphill to the library. Her illness (a strange type of curse) gets worse, and he has to find a specific at-home remedy to alleviate the effects of the curse. The rest of the game has so far been in service of trying to find a cure for the curse itself.

This is also what an editor would totally leave in a film. And how they expect to develop the care that the audience has for the sister. This is what we’ve seen in The Last of Us. Every important beat is there, regardless of how they’ve shifted events and locations.

In most loading screens, we are shown glimpses of what Yonah writes in her diary. It’s often unimportant stuff, but sometimes it’s an update on events that have been transpiring as I play, from the limited perspective of a girl who sits in her room all day trying to get better. Her thoughts are often comically misinformed, such as when she ponders how similar to her mother my “kind” traveling partner (a cold, reckless, foul-mouthed, unacceptably-dressed warrior) must be, or she accounts the small ways that people in the small town they live in go out of their way to make her feel better.
There’s a whole side quest that I’ve been working on to try to get two kind twins to sing together for me, but in Yonah’s diary, they simply did that for her, probably several times by this point. Things that I have to earn in the game from others have been things that they do out of love for her.
In between main story missions, Yonah has also been sending me on sidequests to get some out-of-the-way ingredients for her. The first quest was for ingredients for a soup that she wanted to make for me, despite me knowing that she’s a terrible cook. The game also let me pick between two cooking tips to give her, but she botched the option I did not choose, and the food is terrible.
She then sent me on a quest to obtain a very expensive fruit that’s only available in a distant town.

All of this is what an editor would cut out of the film, and yet, I’m out here making a beeline for that distant town several loading screens away, just to buy an expensive fruit for a quest that will not drive the story forward in any way. These are all the “unimportant” things that have made me care about Yonah, and that are driving me to follow the main quest in a personal way that the “stakes” of the story can’t simply motivate or manipulate me through their sheer “importance”.
Sure, keeping Ellie safe is “important”. Sure, hitting all of the main story beats is “important”, but it’s the character moments that sell us on a journey. It’s a loved one going out of their way to surprise another with homegrown strawberries that cements an emotional connection. It’s finding a floating pallet to ferry a girl who can’t swim across a body of water. It’s explaining movie posters, ads with underwear models, it’s collecting comic books, it’s going through Ellie’s bookbag to see what she considers the most important things in the world…
The show has had absolutely none of this for Ellie. It’s why Episode 3 feels like such a high point, and why the main journey feels so emotionally unearned, despite these characters’ relationship being the focus for six episodes.
I’m enjoying the watch, but man… It’s hard to feel like they can turn it all around in the 46 minutes they have to cover the entirety of Spring, which had a very slow and deliberate progression in the game. Throw a whole flashback story in the mix, and yeesh.

Also, despite being an accidental purchase, and in the year of the Dead Space and Resident Evil 4 remakes, I’ve started to suspect that NieR Replicant is likely going to become my GoTY in the same way that NieR Automata absolutely shattered my worldview of what a game can do with storytelling and the concept of a New Game+.

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The failure of The Last of Us show.

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, March 06, 2023, 10:23 (358 days ago) @ cheapLEY
edited by Kermit, Monday, March 06, 2023, 10:31

It’s hyperbolic, but only sort of of. The show is fine. But it has failed in perhaps the most important way.

I don’t buy Joel and Ellie’s relationship. When he calls her baby girl at the end of tonight’s episode, I just don’t believe it. In the game (which I played through the week the show started), that line lands and solidifies the relationship we knew existed. The show has not given us enough for me to buy into the relationship all the way yet. They’ve hit all the big events and moments, and I even think most of those individual moments are done better in the show. But it hasn’t quite been enough. It’s not a fair comparison, but I think it highlights the strength of video games that the relationship is stronger there. Because it’s not only the big character shaping moments, it’s all the little ones. The ice cream trucks and the movie posters and every little conversation and one liner that makes me believe the building of that relationship.

I think much depends on how fair we think it is assess the show as failing compared to the game. So far, the people I'm exposed to who haven't played the game seem to buy it completely. There are inevitably going to be moments between Joel and Ellie that I miss from the game. On the other hand, there are really great moments between them in the show that are not in the game. I was definitely very worried about exactly what you're saying up until episode six. I thought the Kathleen subplot was a nearly complete waste of time. Her dialogue was the worst of anyone in the show, and seemed mainly created to FORESHADOW and UNDERSCORE THE THEME in contrast to the subtlety and realism that typifies everything else.


I was struck a bit by the ending of the episode in Jackson with Tommy. Joel changing his mind and his line, “you deserve a choice,” was probably the change I like the least. I think that moment was much stronger in the game. It feels much more like Joel coming to an independent and very deliberate choice in the game. And also the show has been very heavy handed in the lead up to what Joel will eventually do. I honestly wonder if they know that some people aren’t going to quite buy in and needed to really reinforce that with Bill’s letter and what’s her name’s monologue to Sam and Henry.

I agree. I liked Joel making that decision. However, making it her choice was somewhat rhetorical--I think he knew what Ellie's choice would be.


I’m really eager to see the final episode and how it ultimately lands. This is pretty clearly the best video game adaptation that’s been done, and I still think it’s excellent overall. But I do think it’s weaker than I expected, too. The individual elements of the show are great. The actors are excellent, and I like these versions of Joel and Ellie maybe even more than the game versions, but the show (and especially Joel and Ellie’s relationship) doesn’t quite capture the game. I do think some of that could be fixed with more focus on Joel and Ellie, but I’m not sure anything could have made it match the game in that regard. The small moments that fill the game wouldn’t make sense in a tv show, no matter how much time you had to include it.

Two things about this last show (and the one before that) that I greatly missed, because I viewed them as high points in the game. I love it when intimacy is shown, but not fully shared with the audience. (Think the unheard whisper at the end of "Lost in Translation".) It underscores how no one can really know the contours of love between two people except for those two people. The game had that, with the unheard words from Joel when he comforts Ellie in the steak house. (I also liked that he stopped her rampage.) That's missing from the show. The other element is the deer hunt. In the game, it comes as a shock. Joel just got impaled, he looks dead, the screen goes black, and it's now a different season, implying an indeterminate period of time has passed. We're playing as Ellie for the first time, and that surprising turn is the biggest sign pointing to Joel's death. We're forced to hunt, something we haven't done in the game before, and the fate of Joel weighs like on anvil on us as we try to track the deer. The pressure isn't relieved until Ellie asks David for medicine. Much would have to be done differently in the show to preserve this, if it could have been preserved. I think it could have, but I don't know how they would have stuck in the DLC episode like they did. (From what I can tell--that episode was either beloved or a drag on the story's momentum for non-gamers.)

Looking forward to the finale. SPOILER ALERT: I predict that Ashley Johnson plays Ellie's mom.

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I think the story is rushed

by Anna Komnene, Monday, March 06, 2023, 14:49 (358 days ago) @ Kermit

Not necessary because it explores less than the videogame, but more because I think the new trend of every "prestige" TV show having only 9 episodes, 12 at most, is really harming storytelling in this format. Because we're serialized, moving from one essential plot beat to the next, there's no downtime from the main story. No opportunity to put characters in one-off situations. No chance to to tell different kinds of stories, giving us a greater picture of these characters. And these shows do take these opportunities, it risks coming at the expense of the main plot.

That's exactly what's happening here. Henry and Sam could've used more episodes. Maybe another or even two more in Jackson. But we gotta get a move on -- we only have nine episodes.

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This

by ZackDark @, Not behind you. NO! Don't look., Monday, March 06, 2023, 15:32 (358 days ago) @ Anna Komnene

I haven't played the game, but I feel like the show is missing time for me to buy in "baby girl". I can infer the crap out of it, but there's a lot "show" missing here.

I can buy Ellie's side of it, though. I don't think the series missed much of it and Bella delivers the crap out of Ellie.

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I think the story is rushed

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, March 06, 2023, 15:51 (358 days ago) @ Anna Komnene
edited by Cody Miller, Monday, March 06, 2023, 16:01

I don’t really agree.

Did you see Up? In the beginning 4 minutes, you absolutely fall in love with the couple as they meet and date, and are devastated when they go through their struggles. Like, people cried. After 4 minutes of screen time.

9 episodes is more than enough time to solidify Joel and Ellie’s relationship. But only if you know the medium you are going into and write for that. The problem with a “faithful adaptation” is that the story was not written for a limited series. It was written for an interactive game.

You need to change things accordingly. Time is not the issue. It is how time is spent. If Aliens can make you root for Newt, Hicks, and Ripley in 2 hours then you can make us buy Joel and Ellie in a limited series. If RRR can take you on an incredible journey of ups, downs, meetings, joy, betrayal, and redemption for the two leads and their friendship in 3 hours, then you can get Joel to say Baby Girl and mean it in 6.

If they can do it with Frank and Bill in 50 minutes… well you get the picture.

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I think the story is rushed

by Anna Komnene, Tuesday, March 07, 2023, 08:11 (357 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I know how to write. The issue with your comparisons is that they all fill different roles for their respective stories -- none are equivalent to the focus that Ellie and Joel's relationship receives, nor the development it's supposed to go through. You say nine episodes is enough, but two of those are entirely devoted to not Joel and Ellie.

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I think the story is rushed

by cheapLEY @, Tuesday, March 07, 2023, 08:30 (357 days ago) @ Anna Komnene

You say nine episodes is enough, but two of those are entirely devoted to not Joel and Ellie.

That’s his point. Nine episodes might very well be enough. They just didn’t use those nine episodes in the most effective manner for building Joel and Ellie’s relationship.

I would much rather see a 12 episode season instead of losing the Bill and Frank episode or the Left Behind episode, but that’s not the same thing as 9 episodes not being enough to build up Joel and Ellie’s relationship. They made a choice, to follow those subplots, and it wasn’t always the correct choice for the show, at least for me.

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I think the story is rushed

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, March 07, 2023, 09:49 (357 days ago) @ Anna Komnene
edited by Cody Miller, Tuesday, March 07, 2023, 09:56

I know how to write. The issue with your comparisons is that they all fill different roles for their respective stories -- none are equivalent to the focus that Ellie and Joel's relationship receives, nor the development it's supposed to go through.

You may know how to write, but I’m not as sure about a lot of television writers today, as I see stumble after stumble. We are past the golden age. We are at a point where there are too few episodes to have the breadth that TV could previously offer, but have too many such that you have to stretch to fill time. You don’t HAVE to, but all so often I see it done.

Time and time again I see stories stretched to fill 6-8 hours that would otherwise be 2. It was especially bad with the binge model since episodes did not have to stand alone for a week, but it has been a problem with episodic too. And so stories are stretched and unfocused, rather than being redrafted and adjusted in density to fit.

I guarantee you if you made a movie about just Joel and Ellie, in 2 hours you could nail everything about them and how they have to grow and change. I know because I’ve seen feature films do it to an even greater degree with other characters.

James Cameron is a pretty good filmmaker yeah? On the subject of editing and pacing, he once said that if your movie is too long, rather than hack it up, it’s best to just cut out in their entirety the sub plots that work the least well. Don’t mess with the main narrative and what works; find what is the weakest and lift it. But don’t sacrifice the core story.

I think that’s great advice. The DLC episode had no place in this season and should have never been filmed. The very fact that it’s DLC and wasn’t in the game originally should clue you in as to its narrative relevance. Having it is the equivalent of cutting part of your main story, finding you’re short, and just passing time with a weak subplot you add to fill.

There was enough time. The time was just squandered with poor choices.

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I think the story is rushed

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Tuesday, March 07, 2023, 13:32 (357 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I know how to write. The issue with your comparisons is that they all fill different roles for their respective stories -- none are equivalent to the focus that Ellie and Joel's relationship receives, nor the development it's supposed to go through.


You may know how to write, but I’m not as sure about a lot of television writers today, as I see stumble after stumble. We are past the golden age. We are at a point where there are too few episodes to have the breadth that TV could previously offer, but have too many such that you have to stretch to fill time. You don’t HAVE to, but all so often I see it done.

Time and time again I see stories stretched to fill 6-8 hours that would otherwise be 2. It was especially bad with the binge model since episodes did not have to stand alone for a week, but it has been a problem with episodic too. And so stories are stretched and unfocused, rather than being redrafted and adjusted in density to fit.

I guarantee you if you made a movie about just Joel and Ellie, in 2 hours you could nail everything about them and how they have to grow and change. I know because I’ve seen feature films do it to an even greater degree with other characters.

James Cameron is a pretty good filmmaker yeah? On the subject of editing and pacing, he once said that if your movie is too long, rather than hack it up, it’s best to just cut out in their entirety the sub plots that work the least well. Don’t mess with the main narrative and what works; find what is the weakest and lift it. But don’t sacrifice the core story.

I think that’s great advice. The DLC episode had no place in this season and should have never been filmed. The very fact that it’s DLC and wasn’t in the game originally should clue you in as to its narrative relevance. Having it is the equivalent of cutting part of your main story, finding you’re short, and just passing time with a weak subplot you add to fill.

I agree, and I also think the Bill and Frank subplot was unnecessary. I especially think that the Kathleen subplot was unnecessary (Neil, you don't have flesh out every freaking body in a story, but I probably wouldn't have minded it if it had been done better). I just don't think it's possible to put ourselves in the headspace of someone who hasn't played the game. We have our memories of all those optional conversations adding up. But in the game we missed the Aurora Borealis. We missed the laughter in sleeping bags. We missed "the CONTRACTOR!" We missed Joel telling Ellie to leave, and crying when she did. We missed Elllie coming back, and then instructing HIM to kill people. I'll be seeing two friends tonight who haven't played the game, and I'm going to ask them if the final scene "worked" for them. I bet it did.

There was enough time. The time was just squandered with poor choices.

It's not over yet. There's ground to cover for the relationship. I'm reserving judgment.

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I think the story is rushed

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, March 07, 2023, 13:42 (357 days ago) @ Kermit

It's not over yet. There's ground to cover for the relationship. I'm reserving judgment.

Episode 9 is 43 minutes long. The final episode is the shortest one.

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I think the story is rushed

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Tuesday, March 07, 2023, 14:15 (357 days ago) @ Cody Miller

It's not over yet. There's ground to cover for the relationship. I'm reserving judgment.


Episode 9 is 43 minutes long. The final episode is the shortest one.

Ugh. Well, there's the Up example, right? I admit I was hoping for a return to episode 1's length, but a substantive amount of the content that remains is lotsa killin', and the show tends to leave that part out. We'll see. There better be a GD giraffe.

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I think the story is rushed

by cheapLEY @, Tuesday, March 07, 2023, 15:34 (357 days ago) @ Kermit

It's not over yet. There's ground to cover for the relationship. I'm reserving judgment.


Episode 9 is 43 minutes long. The final episode is the shortest one.


Ugh. Well, there's the Up example, right? I admit I was hoping for a return to episode 1's length, but a substantive amount of the content that remains is lotsa killin', and the show tends to leave that part out. We'll see. There better be a GD giraffe.

I think that’s part of the problem. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t need extended combat every episode, but I genuinely don’t think we got enough of the trials and tribulations of Joel and Ellie, which is sort of the foundation of them growing together. As far as the show is concerned they had a leisurely stroll to Bill and Frank’s, then a nice drive all the way to Kansas City. They had an ordeal there, obviously, but then they made it all the way to Wyoming then from there to Colorado with zero resistance whatsoever. Logically we can fill in those gaps and assume they had some shit to deal with along the way, but having to assume it isn’t good enough when I’m supposed to believe they’ve been through hell and back together.

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I think the story is rushed

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, March 07, 2023, 15:58 (357 days ago) @ cheapLEY

Logically we can fill in those gaps and assume they had some shit to deal with along the way, but having to assume it isn’t good enough when I’m supposed to believe they’ve been through hell and back together.

You essentially have to imagine a world where the game doesn't exist. The show is now the only instance of this story being told.

Now go and make the show. Assume nothing, and give the audience everything they need right there in the work itself.

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I think the story is rushed

by Anna Komnene, Wednesday, March 08, 2023, 09:11 (356 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I know how to write. The issue with your comparisons is that they all fill different roles for their respective stories -- none are equivalent to the focus that Ellie and Joel's relationship receives, nor the development it's supposed to go through.


You may know how to write, but I’m not as sure about a lot of television writers today, as I see stumble after stumble. We are past the golden age. We are at a point where there are too few episodes to have the breadth that TV could previously offer, but have too many such that you have to stretch to fill time. You don’t HAVE to, but all so often I see it done.

Time and time again I see stories stretched to fill 6-8 hours that would otherwise be 2. It was especially bad with the binge model since episodes did not have to stand alone for a week, but it has been a problem with episodic too. And so stories are stretched and unfocused, rather than being redrafted and adjusted in density to fit.

I guarantee you if you made a movie about just Joel and Ellie, in 2 hours you could nail everything about them and how they have to grow and change. I know because I’ve seen feature films do it to an even greater degree with other characters.

James Cameron is a pretty good filmmaker yeah? On the subject of editing and pacing, he once said that if your movie is too long, rather than hack it up, it’s best to just cut out in their entirety the sub plots that work the least well. Don’t mess with the main narrative and what works; find what is the weakest and lift it. But don’t sacrifice the core story.

I think that’s great advice. The DLC episode had no place in this season and should have never been filmed. The very fact that it’s DLC and wasn’t in the game originally should clue you in as to its narrative relevance. Having it is the equivalent of cutting part of your main story, finding you’re short, and just passing time with a weak subplot you add to fill.

There was enough time. The time was just squandered with poor choices.

You wrote and said you didn't agree, then made a reply to this telling me... you agree? I said the story felt rushed, and you just said it was because of "poor choices."

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I think the story is rushed

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Wednesday, March 08, 2023, 12:01 (356 days ago) @ Anna Komnene

You wrote and said you didn't agree, then made a reply to this telling me... you agree? I said the story felt rushed, and you just said it was because of "poor choices."

Correct. It's not rushed because there's not enough time as you said earlier. It's because the time that WAS there was not utilized correctly.

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The Finale

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Sunday, March 12, 2023, 23:32 (351 days ago) @ Cody Miller

It flew by. Everything just went so quickly when he went terminator on everyone

These are the words of someone I know who had not played the game. I for one agree. The finale dropped the ball. It did not work and unraveled it all.

Now, I haven't played the game in a while so my recollection might not be exact, but I think the criticism still holds here. Joel does indeed go 'Terminator', and the lack of emotion here is just ridiculous. I recall getting to Ellie being difficult; in the show it should have been possible only through sheer will and desire to save her. Also, the coldness of it all really came off very differently than the game. Before it felt like an act of despair. Now? Kind of… psychopathic. As a viewer I don't know if I'm 100% behind Joel the way you were when it was you playing. I mean shit, he just executes Abby's dad immediately.

What was a gut punch in the game goes by just like another action scene, as does their conversation in the end.

Let down pretty hard IMO. But needlessly so. They wasted 2 episodes. The DLC episode just never should have happened. And while Bill and Frank's story was amazing on its own, it took too much time away from the main relationship. I really think it could have worked if things didn't have to happen at warp speed.

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The Finale

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, March 13, 2023, 09:40 (351 days ago) @ Cody Miller

It flew by. Everything just went so quickly when he went terminator on everyone


These are the words of someone I know who had not played the game. I for one agree. The finale dropped the ball. It did not work and unraveled it all.

Now, I haven't played the game in a while so my recollection might not be exact, but I think the criticism still holds here. Joel does indeed go 'Terminator', and the lack of emotion here is just ridiculous. I recall getting to Ellie being difficult; in the show it should have been possible only through sheer will and desire to save her. Also, the coldness of it all really came off very differently than the game. Before it felt like an act of despair. Now? Kind of… psychopathic. As a viewer I don't know if I'm 100% behind Joel the way you were when it was you playing. I mean shit, he just executes Abby's dad immediately.

What was a gut punch in the game goes by just like another action scene, as does their conversation in the end.

Let down pretty hard IMO. But needlessly so. They wasted 2 episodes. The DLC episode just never should have happened. And while Bill and Frank's story was amazing on its own, it took too much time away from the main relationship. I really think it could have worked if things didn't have to happen at warp speed.

I disagree with your experience of the game. :) I mean, I had a different experience. I didn't want to kill fireflies. I was torn about "rescuing" Ellie. I wasn't sure if I was doing what she would have wanted, but I had no choice in the matter, exemplified by the decision to kill or not kill the doctor, which wasn't a decision I was given (it sucks that I have to know who he is because apparently that's entered into the domain of "common knowledge." I'm sad for all the non-gamers who can't really live in the world without having season 2 spoiled. FU to YouTubers in particular, with their spoiler thumbnails.). Unlike the show, I didn't know what Ellie had been told and what she hadn't been told (what amounted to a plothole in the game). Although I think they could have had more Joel & Ellie time, and I tend to agree that the DLC content in particular didn't work as well as it did as add-on content, I'm not sure that would have made gamers such as yourself happy (and it definitely would have made a ton of people very unhappy). The bottom line is that the show can't replicate the experience of the game no matter what. What's interesting is that your experience of the show does align with my experience of the game in terms of what I felt. The difference of course is the in-game experience of controlling Joel killing "innocent" people--ostensibly the good guys.

As regards the show, what ultimately matters is how effective it was as a show, and I think the consensus is that it was very effective. And they took great advantage of it NOT being a game. They reduced Joel & Ellie's body count, which would have been numbing had it been the same in the show. They added amazing content--the flashbacks (especially in this episode), the plugging of potholes (there were too many instances to count where the show explanations worked better than those in the game), the way they upped the ante, either by making Sam deaf, or adding Joel's suicide attempt (the reveal of which was one my favorite scenes in the show). Not perfect, and I bet they've thought of ways it could've been better since making it, but pretty damn good and I'm happy with it. I've stopped making comparisons to the game for my non-gamer friends because they finally got it through my thick stull to stop. They don't care. They like the show, and the show is what they know. And they'll never experience the game. There's a gap between gamers and non-gamers, and I felt it intensely after playing The Last of Us. Here was this great story, and I had so many story-loving friends who could never experience it. Now they have experienced a form of it, and they seem grateful. I am, too.

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The Finale

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, March 13, 2023, 10:40 (351 days ago) @ Kermit

As regards the show, what ultimately matters is how effective it was as a show, and I think the consensus is that it was very effective.

There are many major outlets criticizing the ending today. I don't think your statement is necessarily correct.

They don't care. They like the show, and the show is what they know. And they'll never experience the game. There's a gap between gamers and non-gamers, and I felt it intensely after playing The Last of Us. Here was this great story, and I had so many story-loving friends who could never experience it. Now they have experienced a form of it, and they seem grateful. I am, too.

The person I quoted had a very bad experience with the finale. I told her what playing the game was like, and she said "Yeah, I did not get that feeling at all watching this. It was just weird." And she was on board and invested into the show up to this point.

But you NEED to compare it to the game. Due to the nature of AAA game to film adaptation itself. Remember, the move doesn't give you any new tools in your creative arsenal to tell the story with; it only removes them. It's not like a book to movie where the experience is so different it's not comparable. When you do this, you are saying "This story would have been better as an 8 hour cutscene", and so you have to actually see if that choice was valid.

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The Finale

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, March 13, 2023, 11:15 (351 days ago) @ Cody Miller

As regards the show, what ultimately matters is how effective it was as a show, and I think the consensus is that it was very effective.


There are many major outlets criticizing the ending today. I don't think your statement is necessarily correct.

They don't care. They like the show, and the show is what they know. And they'll never experience the game. There's a gap between gamers and non-gamers, and I felt it intensely after playing The Last of Us. Here was this great story, and I had so many story-loving friends who could never experience it. Now they have experienced a form of it, and they seem grateful. I am, too.


The person I quoted had a very bad experience with the finale. I told her what playing the game was like, and she said "Yeah, I did not get that feeling at all watching this. It was just weird." And she was on board and invested into the show up to this point.

Not to doubt you, but was her opinion wholly hers uninfluenced by you? I don't think of you as shy about letting it be known what you think and your certainty regarding what you think. I've got my test subjects so I'll report back, but thus far they've bought into the characters and their relationship, even when I expressed concerns similar to yours.


But you NEED to compare it to the game. Due to the nature of AAA game to film adaptation itself. Remember, the move doesn't give you any new tools in your creative arsenal to tell the story with; it only removes them.

I don't think the latter is exactly true. The game requires interactivity to be a game. Remove that requirement, and you've got newfound freedom to show and tell different kinds of things in the universe that wouldn't be interesting presented in a puzzle (as gameplay demands). Examples would be Sarah's "normal" day, Jakarta, tasting strawberries--the list goes on.

It's not like a book to movie where the experience is so different it's not comparable. When you do this, you are saying "This story would have been better as an 8 hour cutscene", and so you have to actually see if that choice was valid.

I'm not saying that, so I don't have to proclaim one is better. Maybe they're more comparable than a movie and book, but it's still not really comparable because you can't have the immersion amplifier of interactivity in the show on the one hand, and on the other hand eight hours of cutscenes wouldn't be a game. I would say there are aspects of the game that better serve the narrative, and aspects of the show that better serve the narrative. Ultimately, I think it's best to say whether they work independently. Mileage may vary, of course. I'm looking forward to reading more reviews of the show that don't compare it to the game. Personally, for me, the game was better, but it has going for it the unalterable fact of being the first way I experienced this narrative. Many millions of people judged the narrative in show form as worthy on its own, else they would not have continued to tune in.

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The Finale

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, March 13, 2023, 11:40 (351 days ago) @ Kermit

I don't think the latter is exactly true. The game requires interactivity to be a game. Remove that requirement, and you've got newfound freedom to show and tell different kinds of things in the universe that wouldn't be interesting presented in a puzzle (as gameplay demands). Examples would be Sarah's "normal" day, Jakarta, tasting strawberries--the list goes on.

All can be done just as in the show: as a cutscene. Play a Kojima game sometime. Cutscenes literally last as long as episodes of TV occasionally. Rarely, you'll get them as long as entire films.

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The Finale

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, March 13, 2023, 11:50 (351 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I don't think the latter is exactly true. The game requires interactivity to be a game. Remove that requirement, and you've got newfound freedom to show and tell different kinds of things in the universe that wouldn't be interesting presented in a puzzle (as gameplay demands). Examples would be Sarah's "normal" day, Jakarta, tasting strawberries--the list goes on.


All can be done just as in the show: as a cutscene. Play a Kojima game sometime. Cutscenes literally last as long as episodes of TV occasionally. Rarely, you'll get them as long as entire films.

Fair enough, but doesn't mean the narrative doesn't warrant an adaptation as purely cinematic. Everybody isn't a gamer, just as everyone isn't a reader, and that's okay.

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The Finale

by Korny @, Dalton, Ga. US. Earth, Sol System, Monday, March 13, 2023, 11:29 (351 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by Korny, Monday, March 13, 2023, 11:32

It flew by. Everything just went so quickly when he went terminator on everyone


These are the words of someone I know who had not played the game. I for one agree. The finale dropped the ball. It did not work and unraveled it all.

Funny. My brother has not played the game, and hates the post-episode "recaps" that explain the creator's intent with the episodes (he literally walked out of the room after every episode so these summaries would not manipulate his own thoughts on the episode).
And yet, he understood how the show emphasized Joel's biggest character flaw throughout: his selfishness and willingness to manipulate his loved ones for his own gains. For as rushed as the episode was (and boy was it rushed), it did almost every character justice, except, sadly enough, Ellie.


Now, I haven't played the game in a while so my recollection might not be exact, but I think the criticism still holds here. Joel does indeed go 'Terminator', and the lack of emotion here is just ridiculous. I recall getting to Ellie being difficult; in the show it should have been possible only through sheer will and desire to save her. Also, the coldness of it all really came off very differently than the game. Before it felt like an act of despair. Now? Kind of… psychopathic. As a viewer I don't know if I'm 100% behind Joel the way you were when it was you playing. I mean shit, he just executes Abby's dad immediately.

Now, I HAVE played the game several times, and recent enough that I still have emotional context (and with the bonus hindsight offered in Part II), and I think the show did a good job establishing that Joel is a monster for what he is doing, especially since the show creates a more compelling explanation for how the "vacccine" works. It's feasable, and Joel, in his selfish refusal to lose another daughter, slaughters the world's last hope in order to hold on to her. It is truly psychotic, and the coldness with which he straight up murders people (even the ones who stand down) is captured perfectly.
That said, the game gave you way more time to bond with Ellie, and gave you way more "unimportant" scenes to get you to love her (I had a talk very recently about how the very last comic book in the game's collectathon for Ellie is found during Spring's emotional high point, coming after a tough fight with multiple bloaters, and after you get just comfortable enough that the bright and cheerful Ellie is back! And literally moments before it all comes crashing down and she drowns for Joel.
Knowing that the Fireflies who find you and knock you out before you can see or hear her awake and safe again made it much easier to kill them just for a chance to get that moment with her again does add a sense of "desperation" to the slaughter, but remember that this is where the game gives you your first fully-automatic rifle, and with plenty of ammo to boot. You are given the tools to make the rampage easier, and the body count higher. It is psychotic. Despair would have been if you had to claw tooth and nail to get to her, but the game itself made it explicit that that wasn't the case. It was always meant to be a bloodbath (and as Part II established, Joel wasn't the only one with something personal to lose here).


What was a gut punch in the game goes by just like another action scene, as does their conversation in the end.

The true gut punch, act of desperation, and emotional weight, funny enough, was what happened after Joel's rampage. It was picking Ellie's unconscious body, and running blindly through the halls as Fireflies swarmed and blocked any possible exit while they shouted about trying to get a clear shot at you. In this segment, you are unarmed, you are lost, and you have Ellie at her most vulnerable. This is the moment that broke me during the game. It was the "what have I done? What am I doing? What do I do?" thoughts running through my head as I clung to Ellie, knowing that I was actively robbing her of her life's purpose, but knowing I needed to escape with her alive.

And yet, that was cut entirely from the show, skipping right to the last chance moment of making things right.

Let down pretty hard IMO. But needlessly so. They wasted 2 episodes. The DLC episode just never should have happened. And while Bill and Frank's story was amazing on its own, it took too much time away from the main relationship. I really think it could have worked if things didn't have to happen at warp speed.

While I agree that Left Behind didn't need to be an episode, I don't think it deserved to be cut. I think they messed up by making Riley noticeably older than Ellie, but it did a number of things right, down to setting up how the Fireflies had Ellie in their possession in the first place. I think the biggest problem was that HBO gave them 10 episodes to work with, they trimmed it down to 9, and should have had 11. Winter and Spring being a single episode each was a huge mistake, while giving the Hunters an extended focus was well-meaning, but mishandled in the two episodes with them. That should have been time spent with the cannibals instead (and they should have included the section where Ellie had no choice but to build trust with David in the sawmill. It would have also reminded us that the infected are an ongoing concern, as they otherwise completely disappeared after episode 5. And would have endeared viewers to David, as the show has us completely on guard against him the entire time


As with all things, running a script through a third person to tighten up characters, dialogue, and interactions would have done wonders for the show, but as far as adaptations go, I've seen most people very happy with the show. It always comes down to "We know better", having played the game, but it's otherwise a very successful adaptation, and I loved Ashley Johnson's entire scene.


Also, did you catch Laura Bailey's cameo in the show? A very fitting place for her, all things considered. :)

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The Finale

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Monday, March 13, 2023, 11:36 (351 days ago) @ Korny

The true gut punch, act of desperation, and emotional weight, funny enough, was what happened after Joel's rampage. It was picking Ellie's unconscious body, and running blindly through the halls as Fireflies swarmed and blocked any possible exit while they shouted about trying to get a clear shot at you. In this segment, you are unarmed, you are lost, and you have Ellie at her most vulnerable. This is the moment that broke me during the game. It was the "what have I done? What am I doing? What do I do?" thoughts running through my head as I clung to Ellie, knowing that I was actively robbing her of her life's purpose, but knowing I needed to escape with her alive.

And yet, that was cut entirely from the show, skipping right to the last chance moment of making things right.

I remember this now! Yes, you are so right about that. Great observation.

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The Finale

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Monday, March 13, 2023, 11:54 (351 days ago) @ Cody Miller

The true gut punch, act of desperation, and emotional weight, funny enough, was what happened after Joel's rampage. It was picking Ellie's unconscious body, and running blindly through the halls as Fireflies swarmed and blocked any possible exit while they shouted about trying to get a clear shot at you. In this segment, you are unarmed, you are lost, and you have Ellie at her most vulnerable. This is the moment that broke me during the game. It was the "what have I done? What am I doing? What do I do?" thoughts running through my head as I clung to Ellie, knowing that I was actively robbing her of her life's purpose, but knowing I needed to escape with her alive.

And yet, that was cut entirely from the show, skipping right to the last chance moment of making things right.


I remember this now! Yes, you are so right about that. Great observation.

I agree, and that's something I missed now that it's been mentioned. My original criticism about the music being less prominent during Sarah's death scene in the show was tied directly to this, and how the theme's prominence at this moment later was so affecting in the game. I'm positive on the show generally, but it seems the episode could've been a few minutes longer to give us that.

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The Finale

by cheapLEY @, Monday, March 13, 2023, 16:38 (351 days ago) @ Cody Miller

I think the finale is done really well, in isolation. I'll echo what's been said before--overall I don't necessarily buy Joel's bond with Ellie. Not that it doesn't exist, but that it is well-established enough for him to do what he does. I can extrapolate and fill in those gaps, especially as a game player, but I shouldn't have to. The show spent too much time focused on things other than Joel and Ellie. I understand them wanting to ground the show, and that it can't just be Joel and Ellie killing their way across America, but we needed more of that than we got. Also, I hate to be that guy, but where's the all the zombies in the fucking zombie show? I wanted to see Bloater in the basement so fucking bad and they just ignored it. The Bloater we got was terrifying for what it was--now imagine that showing up in a dark, flooded basement corridor. Maybe that's why they didn't do it. Joel surviving the bloater in the basement segment of the game may have just been too unbelievable in the show.

Now, as for the finale itself, I think you all made great points. Joel actually having to get Ellie out of the hospital is sorely missed. I liked how extreme him getting to her was. He just completely disassociates and getting to Ellie is the only thing that matters, and anything in his way won't be there for long, no matter what it takes. I actually thing that segment was more effective in the show. For as much as we laud the heightened immersion of playing Joel, this is the one case where that was more harmful. As Korny mentioned, it's the first time we get an automatic rifle and tons of ammo. The game wants us to mow through the Firefly goons (and I did so with impunity, much as Joel did). But it felt too much like a video game moment too fully land emotionally. It turned into Uncharted in that moment, which actually served to downplay the real consequences of what was happening. That changed the minute I made it to the hallway leading to Ellie, but the gunfights weren't as impactful as they were probably supposed to be.

I loved the opening with Ellie's mother. I actually love the echo between her and Joel. Both made incredibly selfish decisions and lie to protect her. While we can debate the severity of those actions against each other, it's just a nice little touch that both of her protectors made a version of the same decision--she's more important than anyone else. The love a parent has for their child is hardly a revelation, but it just stuck out to me as something worth highlighting.

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The Finale

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, 10:48 (350 days ago) @ cheapLEY


I loved the opening with Ellie's mother. I actually love the echo between her and Joel. Both made incredibly selfish decisions and lie to protect her. While we can debate the severity of those actions against each other, it's just a nice little touch that both of her protectors made a version of the same decision--she's more important than anyone else. The love a parent has for their child is hardly a revelation, but it just stuck out to me as something worth highlighting.

Totally agree. It's probably my favorite addition to the show. It was bittersweet, though. I know that it wasn't possible for Ashley Johnson to ever play Ellie in a live action version. I thought Bella Ramsey did a good job, especially in the later episodes. That said, Ashley IS Ellie, and she will always be Ellie to me.

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The Finale

by Cody Miller @, Music of the Spheres - Never Forgot, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, 11:29 (350 days ago) @ Kermit


I loved the opening with Ellie's mother. I actually love the echo between her and Joel. Both made incredibly selfish decisions and lie to protect her. While we can debate the severity of those actions against each other, it's just a nice little touch that both of her protectors made a version of the same decision--she's more important than anyone else. The love a parent has for their child is hardly a revelation, but it just stuck out to me as something worth highlighting.


Totally agree. It's probably my favorite addition to the show. It was bittersweet, though. I know that it wasn't possible for Ashley Johnson to ever play Ellie in a live action version. I thought Bella Ramsey did a good job, especially in the later episodes. That said, Ashley IS Ellie, and she will always be Ellie to me.

I was slightly confused as to why Marlene was so… angry when she finished her off. Why so fast? Cold? She didn't want to do it. Felt like a weird choice.

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The Finale

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, 11:47 (350 days ago) @ Cody Miller


I loved the opening with Ellie's mother. I actually love the echo between her and Joel. Both made incredibly selfish decisions and lie to protect her. While we can debate the severity of those actions against each other, it's just a nice little touch that both of her protectors made a version of the same decision--she's more important than anyone else. The love a parent has for their child is hardly a revelation, but it just stuck out to me as something worth highlighting.


Totally agree. It's probably my favorite addition to the show. It was bittersweet, though. I know that it wasn't possible for Ashley Johnson to ever play Ellie in a live action version. I thought Bella Ramsey did a good job, especially in the later episodes. That said, Ashley IS Ellie, and she will always be Ellie to me.


I was slightly confused as to why Marlene was so… angry when she finished her off. Why so fast? Cold? She didn't want to do it. Felt like a weird choice.

I didn’t see her as angry. That completely worked for me. It was ripping off a scab. 1, 2, 3, BAM—done as quickly as possible.

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A general complaint

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 09:24 (349 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by Kermit, Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 09:44

Because I'm talking to Bungie fans, I won't go on about the impact a great soundtrack can have--you all know this. I think the soundtrack to TLoU game is a big part of its success.

With specific exceptions (the role of music in ep. 3 and 7 and at the end of 1 and 6), I thought the show underutilized a great resource. I noticed that when the show strictly followed the game, they still felt the need to make it different, often by flipping the blocking of the characters. When it came to the soundtrack, when they copied the game, they seemed to have made it different putting music lower in the mix, muting its effectiveness. An exception is the final episode, where they had the right music playing above all else, but left out the crucial part (as Korny noted), where Joel is dodging an army of soldiers with flashlights while carrying Ellie. The resonance of that scene in the game can't be overstated, in no small part because of the version of "All Gone," which serves its purpose to recall the initial trauma of the game.

I know I've said some of this before, but it became clear when I listened to the show's soundtrack. The added tracks are unmemorable, whereas when listening to the soundtrack of the game nearly every track evokes a memory of a scene, which is what a good soundtrack is supposed to do. Bottom line: in my opinion, the show wasn't scored nearly as well as the game, and it's a shame, because this was an unforced error.

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