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The Last of Us (The Complete First Season) (4K UHD Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Series
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The Last of Us is an HBO series based on the 2013 videogame developed by Naughty Dog. A post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama set twenty-years into a pandemic caused by a fungal infection that turns people into zombie-like creatures, the series stars Pedro Pascal (TV’s The Mandalorian) as Joel Miller, a black market smuggler dealing with a devastating loss from his past who takes on the task of escorting the supposedly immune teenager Ellie (Bella Ramsey, TV’s The Worst Witch), to a medical facility where a cure is being worked on.

Joel and Ellie must traverse the wild territories outside of the encampments where humans have clustered under a fascist federal authoritarian regime called FEDRA. The areas are filled with rebel groups, thieves, and infected, or ‘clickers’ due to the sound they make. Over the course of the hazardous journey, Joel and Ellie, who begin with a combative relationship, begin to draw closer to each other, Joel seeing Ellie as sort of an adopted daughter and Ellie looking to him as a protective, father figure, something she has never had.

The drama, acting, and story arc in this first season – even for those like me who have never played the game – is of the highest caliber. There have been many videogame adaptations for the big and small screen, but most of them are disappointing from quality, mood, and overall atmosphere. The closest one of these videogames has come to being good in an adaptation recently is The Witcher, and even that has a weird feel about it. Don’t get me started on the poor storytelling, visual effects over underlying quality that is the Halo series. The Last of Us is a riveting drama that joins the bet of HBO dramas like Game of Thrones, House of Dragons, The Wire, and others. One would never know, even with some scenes being lifted directly from the game, that this had its start in the gaming world.

  • Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us (2023)
  • Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us (2023)
  • Melanie Lynskey in The Last of Us (2023)
  • Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us (2023)
  • Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us (2023)
  • Storm Reid and Bella Ramsey in Left Behind (2023)
  • Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us (2023)
  • Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us (2023)
  • The Last of Us (The Complete First Season) (Warner Bros.)
  • The Last of Us (The Complete First Season) (Warner Bros.)

The Video

The Last of Us: Season 1 was shot on the Arri Alexa Mini with Cooke S4/i lenses in ARRIRAW 3.4K. A 4K digital intermediate was utilized and the series is presented on 4K Ultra HD in a HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement. The image is pretty much flawless, with a very filmic quality, extended shadow details, and excellent specular highlight ‘pop’ in flames and light sources.

The Audio

The magnificent, atmospheric (no pun intended) lossless Dolby Atmos mix for The Last of Us on 4K Ultra HD is a big step up over the lossy streaming version from HBO. The dynamics are better, and the separation of sounds and clarity are all stronger. This mix balances sounds through the sound mix, with good overhead use for sound effects and the score, and dialogue that comes through clearly in the center.

The Supplements

Staying true to many of their TV releases Warner & HBO provide no digital copy code for The Last of Us. The on-disc features are solid, however, with Inside the Episode ‘making of’ featurettes for every episode, interviews with the cast and crew and more.

  • Inside the Episodes 1-9 (1080p)
  • Controllers Down: Adapting The Last of Us (1080p; 00:11:44)
  • From Levels to Live Action (1080p; 00:11:50)
  • The Last of Us: Stranger than Fiction (1080p; 00:23:44)
  • Ashley Johnson Spotlight (1080p; 00:02:23)
  • Get to Know Me (1080p):
    • Gabriel Luna (00:03:45)
    • Merle Dandridge (00:02:25)
    • Nick Offerman & Murray Bartlett (00:04:41)
    • Pedro Pascal & Bella Ramsey (00:04:45)
  • Is This a The Last of Us Line?
    • Pedro Pascal & Bella Ramsey (00:05:12)
    • Merle Dandridge & Gabriel Luna (00:02:40)
  • The Last Debrief with Troy Baker (1080p):
    • #1 (00:05:09)
    • #2 (00:06:11)
    • #3 (00:06:00)
    • #4 (00:07:04)
    • #5 (00:07:30)

The Final Assessment

A-level drama and action with interesting characters and a gorgeous 4K production on this disc from Warner Bros. bring this up to the same level as the best of the best of HBO series on home video. Highly recommended.


The Last of Us (The Complete First Season) is out on 4K Ultra HD July 18, 2023, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.


  • Rating Certificate: TV-MA
  • Studios & Distributors: Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit (CPTC) | Government of Alberta | Naughty Dog | PlayStation Productions | Province of British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit | Sony Pictures Television | The Mighty Mint | Word Games | HBO Max | Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
  • Creators: Neil Druckmann | Craig Mazin
  • Run Time: 521 Mins.
  • Street Date: 18 July 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Compatible)
  • Secondary Audio: French DD 5.1 | German DD 5.1 | Italian DD 5.1 | Spanish (Castilian) DD 5.1 | Spanish (Latin American) DD 2.0 Stereo | Czech DD 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH | German SDH | Italian SDH | French | Spanish (Castilian) | Spanish (Latin American) | Dutch | Chinese | Korean | Czech | Danish | Finnish | Norwegian | Swedish
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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes The Last of Us is an HBO series based on the 2013 videogame developed by Naughty Dog. A post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama set twenty-years into a pandemic caused by a fungal infection that turns people into zombie-like creatures, the series...The Last of Us (The Complete First Season) (4K UHD Review)