Although season one of HBO’s “The Last of Us” premiered on Jan. 15, I did not start watching the series until episode three. I was unsure at first how I would feel about the show, considering that I was definitely not the target audience.

For one, I have not played the game. You know, the original source material? In addition to this, I am generally not a fan of the zombie apocalypse genre, mostly because of its gory, violent nature. 

Nevertheless, I decided to watch the series anyway, keeping in mind that even though I had heard great things, I probably would get grossed out pretty quickly and never finish the first episode. 

Fortunately, I was proven to be wrong and despite all odds, I became heavily invested in the show. The stubborn yet lovable zombie-fighting duo of Joel (played by Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (played by Bella Ramsey) quickly stole my heart.

I have to be honest, at first I didn’t like either Ellie or Joel. They were both a bit too stubborn and self centered. I get it, it’s the apocalypse and all that, but would it kill them to be a little nicer to each other and those around them? 

Thankfully, as I continued to watch on, I couldn’t help but root for the two of them. As they formed a soft spot for each other, I also grew a soft spot for them. 

I laughed at the worst puns and teared up – okay, let’s be honest, sobbed – during multiple episodes. Waiting every week for Sunday to roll around and the next episode to be released was absolute torture. The series is just as unique as it is heartbreaking.

Although the show is, in fact, gory and violent, the show is actually not incredibly zombie-heavy. Most of the season focuses on the relationship between Joel, Ellie and the people they meet – and lose – along the way. Do not get me wrong, there are plenty of zombies, but it is not the center of the show. 

I can not attest to if this aspect is video game accurate, but it is something that I personally did really enjoy. A big reason why I don’t gravitate towards zombie shows is because on top of being gory, I feel they can get repetitive. Kill zombie, kill zombie, zombie kills someone, kill zombie – and so on. 

Personally, I think that “The Last of Us” gives a good mix of drama and the suspense of the zombie-fighting, apocalyptic life. On top of this, I think that the characters are very human. They each have a mix of good and bad qualities, and it is hard to determine whether some people are truly a villain or a hero. 

There was one thing, however, that stuck with me that I did not quite like about the show. In the early episodes, there are long pieces of dialogue that I think would work well in a video game but just do not work well in a show.

To me, those moments go on for a little too long. They do not have the natural flow that you expect from two people in a dire situation. It is like, why are we wasting time talking when there is danger on the way? Plus, the cursing is just a little excessive. I am not opposed to or offended by cursing, but does it really need to be as often as it is?

I just feel like in some places, the dialogue was not the right move when it came to the overall video game feel of the show. It does work well in other ways, however. 

One way is how certain scenes were set up. The camera work and angles of the characters made me feel like I was looking directly at the game. It was cool trying to pinpoint moments where I think they took it directly from the game. 

Another thing that I liked about the series is that they included cameos from the voice actors of the game. Merle Dandrige, for instance, plays Marlene in both the show and the game. Jeffery Pierce, who plays Tommy in the game, plays Perry in the series. 

Even though I do have some minor critiques, “The Last of Us” has quickly become one of my favorites. I felt like I thoroughly got to know every character, and I found myself both rooting for them and yelling at some of their more questionable decisions.

Even if you’re like me and have to pause for a second to recover from bloody imagery, I think that it is worthwhile to watch this series. As for me, I will be waiting somewhat patiently for season two.