Why Disloyal Adaptations Are Better — The Last of Us

Grab Nebula for 40% off with my link:

Check out my Nebula video on why games are better than movies:

The Last of Us is a better show than game. Here’s why.


My Discord Server:

Support me on Patreon:

Hate me on Twitter:


0:00 – Why Good Adaptations Need (some) Disloyalty
5:10 – The Power of Hindsight
6:58 – Will Season 2 Be Just As Good?
9:49 – Joel’s Motivation Works Better
11:29 – Solving The Game Adaptation Curse
14:18 – Fixing A Problem The Game Couldn’t
15:16 – Why The Show Has More Tension
18:55 – What Works For One Medium Won’t For Another
21:16 – When They Disrespect The Source Material
26:46 – Closing Thoughts


A massive thank you to my $10+ patrons:
Kent-Andrè Herland
Alejandro Nicoli
Alex Moretti
Kyong Kim
Cameron Benson
Frank D. Lemke
Maria Peiris
Mike Schmidt
Felicity Franklin
Thomas Feuer


  1. in short – its not, the whole point of adapting is to recreate that again in that medium, TLOU doesn't do it well either given episodes that waste a week of time waiting for the plot to continue and all the bad writing in newer characters for the show or weakening joel for majority of it, its not a great show, more media shilling for brand they like

  2. it's not even a diss to say the show had better writing than the game bc the show still had neil anyway. he really ate this up twice.

  3. I could not disagree more. How could u say the best video game story of all time needed to be improved on? The show was definitely worse than the game, Joel and Ellie’s relationship was worse for the changes they made, not better. I mean how many articles are we seeing about how amazing the finale was? None.

  4. Now you got me worried. I was hoping theyd forget all about the Last of Us 2, since… uh Joel/Pedro. And wed get more of what happened between 1 and 2 and a varied version of 2. One less…edgy or whatever they were going for with that mess.

  5. No. Just no. Being faithful to the source material is not a bad thing. I will not be gaslighted into not expecting faithfulness in adaptations, especially since the video game is a literal visual source material that they can copy exactly 1-to-1 if they put the effort into it. If TLOU was a book, then that would be different, but The Last Of Us is a VIDEO GAME. Anything short of 90% perfect is untrue to it's source material. I say 90% because obviously you can't get everything right, but if you actually put in the effort, you can get most things right.
    This is a bad adaptation and a bad TV show, and whether or not you agree with that statement will just show if you actually played The Last Of Us or if you watched someone do a playthrough of it on YouTube.

  6. This one's gonna be outdated the moment Mario gets in the boot

  7. Calling it now, there's a strong possibility that Tommy might get murdered in season two as a way of Abby getting back at Joel. Either that or they'll have a lot more flashbacks with Joel since everyone has a huge hard on for Pedro Pascal (not a diss, he's one of my new favorite actors ever since I saw him in triple frontier and off screen he's such a wholesome dude)

  8. I think its a greatly told story and the best videogame adaption we have had so far but it is not better than the game. I think the pacing is far better in the game. The infected are actually a threat in the game which adds to the weight of joel's choice in the end. The structure is better too for example ep 7 while I enjoyed it killed the flow of the story. I felt far more attached to the characters in the game because 1 we spent more time with them and 2 I think the acting is just better. Pedro did a great job and Bill and Frank were great but I'm sorry Ashley is just a far superior Ellie to Bella. So many of the scenes feel stiff due to both acting and directing choices when compared to the game. Ellie becoming closed off in the last episode just didn't feel right when compared to the game where she has to go through so much more and kill so many more people to protect joel. The emotional moments in the game just didn't hit the same in the show because of the reasons I listed. I still really enjoyed the show but the game still stands as the best way to experience the story.

  9. Would have to agree! I believe there are things that the game or show did better than the other, but I can't help but think the show has brought this already beautiful story to another level, while still maintaining the same general themes. Seriously enjoyed the show and how they went about it, and genuinely think the show was better for the reasons you mentioned in this video! Great video, keep it up!🔥

  10. I want to adopt Pedro Pascal as my own protective Daddy figure. Can we have a fungi infested apocalypse just so we can exchange bad puns while killing Clickers?!

  11. Terrible take lmao. This is going to age like milk

  12. Wait does he only talk about the first 3 episodes? LMAOOOOO.

    Well NO WONDER he loves it! That was the best part of the show.

  13. I would not say that this is the better version of the story I think what they really did incredibly well with optimizing the story into its preferred medium I know it’s a completely different type of adaptation, but you can look at the invincible comics versus the invincible TV series they did a very good job at it as to trimming what was it necessary and enhancing what was changing the piece to fix the format of the TV series more. I do think that the series had some stupid choices, though to make the Heisman thing I disagree with that being a great change, I think the spores make more sense and I’m pretty sure that is how it spreads in real life two another thing I’m always going to be a little sad that they didn’t include the original bill section from the game what we got was good, but I just like the bill from the game a lot more. Another thing I like the more commanding Joel from the game in the more passive one that the show gives us the show the jewel we get is broken and tired, but he isn’t fed up like the ones from the game and overall I just left the performances of the game is better to. I’m not trying to just Siri. I think it’s one of the best adaptations and I think it’s a large step for video game adaptations. my biggest gripe with the show is all the fluff they keep taking scenes that were easy to comprehend and expanding them not to make them better, but just to make them fit a TV legs, it pissed me off so much especially in the first episode we don’t need 30 minutes from Sarah at the beginning of the game. We understand the relationship between Sarah and Joel and you have a connection to the mediately you are Sarah she is your player character and chemistry between her and her father is so strong that you don’t really need 30 extra minutes to understand the relationship and then the over complication of Tessa’s relationship with that guy in the car battery it’s just so pointless.

  14. how i see it its like a remake, Craig s last of us.. Personally i prefer Neil is last of us.. too many changes that i dont like. game much better and canon in my mind.

  15. I’ve been saying it for years now. Just give the nerds the freedom and budget to make whatever and it’ll be gold

  16. Loyal adaptations and "creative" adaptations both have their strengths. My go-to example for probably the perfect 1:1 adaptation is the anime adaptation of the manga "Monster". I compared several episodes to the manga counterpart, and it's literally scene by scene. As a result, the anime is commonly criticized for certain pacing issues. Personally though I did not mind the pacing at all, and I appreciate that nothing of the source material was lost in the transition to another medium. On the other hand, a more interpretative approach to adaptation opens up the possibility to improve on the source as well. But of course also to ruin it or miss the original meaning and context. So both have their unique strengths and weaknesses, in my opinion.

  17. i think the best way to enjoy the TLO is sees it as a standalone show and not associate it with the game

  18. I don't think what you're describing in this video is "being unfaithful" to the game. It's simply doing a good job at adapting the story to a different medium. Being disloyal would be making Joel immediately care about Elli. What makes something disloyal is when you change the characters and/or story so much to the point they're unrecognisable.

  19. Loyalty is bad
    talks about one of the most loyal video game adaptations

  20. I was really impressed by the first episode and the show in general, but as the show progressed and after the last episode aired, I couldn't help but feel really dissapointed 😔

    I loved that they expanded upon the story and the cordyceps origin. I also appreciated some changes in story, like, I was really touched by ep. 3 and I appreciated the narrative approach..

    But I hated the way the show just literally copy-pasted scenes and dialogues from the game. I felt some (changes in) dialogue were too on the nose, and not every story beat landed as good as it did in the game… And if you're just going to copy the game, why even bother making it in the first place? Then what message are you trying to convey as a writer, director or showrunner?

    In the end, the show did a good job, I did enjoy it for a while, but I think the game was a far better medium to tell this specific story.

    TLOU didn't have a particularly new or unique story and tbh, it is quite a mediocre one, but it worked so – so – good for gaming… In the end, the wow effect I had at the beginning of the show just slowly faded.. I just couldn't stop thinking that something was missing or that something felt off.. It made me realize that I like(d) Joel and Ellie from the game a lot better..

    And it only made me appreciate the game even more.. I think the game just does a far better job at telling Joel and Ellies story.

  21. hey it would be epic if you talked about one of my favorite foreign films: the Ugandan film Who Killed Captain Alex. the writing, pacing, action sequences, and cinematography is top notch and i really haven’t seen any film channels cover it

  22. Tommy was mentioned multiple times before you stumble upon him. Between Joel and Tess before her death, and between Ellie and Joel at least twice before arriving at the dam.

  23. It is baffling to see someone who misses the point of episode VIII so badly make such adequate comments on the last of us

  24. Dead by daylight movie live action they should do

  25. I like and agree with many points here. It is a brilliant adaptation that takes advantage of good source material to make it greater in a different medium.

    But it is unfair to compare a book or book series adaptation (where you have too much source material and have to decide what to keep, cut, or revise) and a video game adaptation (where the source material is so thin you have nowhere to go but up). I haven't even seen The Wheel of Time or Game of Thrones, but it seems dissonant to bring them to a discussion about video games like Mario or Tomb Raider or whatever else. Just a thought.
    But I do like the video overall.

  26. Thanks for making this video! Haven’t seen the show or game, yet it’s still educational 😀

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
    “ John 3:16-21 (NIV)

    If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
    “ Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

  27. I felt the show was just too much, too fast and too rushed, and all unearned payoffs. Unfortunately, Pedro is not the actor to deliver those devastating lines in such an emotionally powerful way the like Troy did in the game. He’s serviceable and solid, and if you never played the game before you’d have no problem with his or Bella’s performance. But knowing the source material inside out, he lacks the gravitas to sell those crushing moments. It doesn’t help that the writing pushes the show at breakneck speed, so the final decisions lack any of the power that they require. They should’ve split the first game into two seasons, or made the season longer with more episodes. Let the story breathe. TLOU isn’t an action zombie game; it’s a tense, horror/drama with action sequences to break it up. The show isn’t horrible, probably a 7.5/10 for me. The last episode was disappointing for most of the reasons I listed above, when you know the source material inside out and played the game so many times, this show (and the last episode in particular) is a painfully disappointing adaptation about one of the most heartbreaking games of all time.

  28. Another example (also starring Ashley Johnson) is The Legend of Vox Machina. The first season was a very faithful adaptation of the events in the campaign, and it was great. But season 2 breaks from the events in the campaign. It keeps major story beats, but deviates from many of the details.

    I think you used the wrong example for someone who doesn't like the source. The better example is Zack Snyder. Rian Johnson (as far as I know) never said he didn't like Star Wars. Snyder explicitly said he doesn't like "normal" comic books. You can look at everything he's said, and all the changes he made, and they line up 1:1. He didn't like comics until he read Watchmen. So he turned all the DC characters into their Watchmen counterparts. Batman is a violent, cynical retiree – like Rorschach. Superman is a disconnected god – like Dr. Manhattan. Luthor is a flamboyant genius who thinks he's saving the world by creating a monster – like Ozymandias.

    Johnson on the other hand tried to subvert a lot of Star Wars tropes, and inject some interesting concepts in places where there weren't any. Ultimately, I think his biggest problem was that he backed away at the last minute. Instead of following through on some of the interesting aspects, he went back to formula. Specifically, during the throne room fight, where instead of Ben and Rey being able to meet in the middle and reject the extremes of both the Jedi and the SIth, and form something new, they just went back to their respective corners and got back to fighting each other. Instead of exploring the role of money in the conflict, the Del Toro character just disappears. He chickens out halfway through, and we get this Frankenstein's Monster of a movie with pieces that don't make sense together.

  29. Lauren Hissrich needs to watch this video and then fuck out of the public eye.

  30. I loved the show. But I wish they would have put the “Left Behind” episode with Riley after they get out of KC/after Sam and Henry die. Where they put it breaks the immersion in a major climbing action, but I think it would have fit perfectly during the “3 Months Later” between then and when they go to Jackson. Not only did Ellie lose another friend to Cordyceps in a similar way, but it would make sense for her to be thinking about it after watching Henry have to kill someone he loves for the same reason she did. It also would make sense as she and Riley talk about FEDRA vs the Fireflies and they had just escaped a place where they could see a community after the fall of FEDRA.

  31. Bruh, I never thought I'd love how you put this video essay. Just stumbled upon your channel. 👍 subscribes.

    TLOU TV series is thes best we have so far. Hope it'll stay until the next seasons(s).

  32. Great video but sorry bro, best adaptation is still Arcane. It's much harder to adapt a videogame story from a game like League of Legends than from a narrative cinematic single player videogame.

  33. Wheel of time spoilers.

    Would have to argue on the ethnicity of the Two Rivers. Rand (and most Aiel) are more Irish looking, naturally pale, and with red or blonde hair being the norm.

    The only things that set Rand apart from the Two Rivers were hair and eye color being the most obvious difference.

    So now you have to balance those facts with everyone thinking Rand was mixed race between Kari and Tam (Tam being from the Two Rivers). Medium to Olive range. We can also use the actors Robert Jordan had on his dream casting. It would also fit with a tanned redhead.

    It's not WoT doesn't have a wide range of skin tones and culture, especially for fantasy novels from its time. I think it's just insane to hear darker and not exactly white or pale and go "yeah that's black." Especially when they refer or get referred to characters of dark skin like the Seanchan.

    So we have enough evidence that the Two Rivers are not black but more medium.

  34. I think Arcane is the best game adaptation. And cyberpunk anime is also up there.

  35. The show is brilliant but it feels to me that you really undermine the game, the game is amazing and some of those critics are simply untrue.

    Also, in the game, a LOT if the narration happens during the gameplay, and you only talk about the cutscenes, missing literally half of the story beats of the game.

    I love both, but the show really feels rushed and doesn't work as much as the game on some aspects. The infected are missing in most episodes, the hive mind they create in the show is completely useless past Tess death, the relationship between Joel and Ellie is changing to quickly without being properly developed, when Joel calls her baby girl in episode 8, it feels out of place, the last episode and Joel killing his way through Ellie is not working as well as in the game, first because it's rushed and because as a spectator it's easier to stay outside of the character, unlike the game where you have to do those action yourself. Most players agree with Joel's choice to kill everyone to save Ellie, especially parents, most spectators of the show seem to not agree with hia choice, even parents. Too bad.

    I think the show could have been perfect with 2 to 4 more episodes.

    Anyway, both are brillant, and I agree that some changes are welcome in the show, not before they are better but because they fit the medium better.

    And The Last of Us Part 2 is amazing, one of the best game ever made, and Abby one of the best character ever written. The fan base got divided because a lot of people don't understand the point of the story, have no capability of understanding the point of view of who they consider a vilain, or understanding that a character they loved was in fact a vilain.

  36. Fight and stealth sequences are not fun in The Last of Us, they are tense and slow, there is zero ludo-narrative dissonance, in fact this game was litterally built as a response to that same critic about Uncharted 2.

  37. You probably didn't understand Star Wars 8, because Luke doesn't try to kill Kylo, the thing you show is a distorted memory from Kylo, nit what actually happen…

    Star Wars 8 is easily the best movie in the saga, and Luke is totally consistent and interesting, unlike in any other movie. That's litterally the best Luke of the entire saga, not the crying baby of the original trilogy.

    By the way, the choice of Luke isolating on an island on a remote planet is not from SW8 but from SW7. Ryan Johnson just took that choice he didn't make, and did the best he could have with it. If Luke left decades ago, there is absolutely no reason that he would come back because Rey asks him too, he says in the movie "do you think i came here for no reason at all ?". Of course not. But he still choose to save the resistance and confront Kylo one last time by using all his remaining strength to project on the beautiful planet and buy the others some time.

    It's not perfect, but it is really really smartly written.

  38. This was a great video highlighting a lot of things I agreed with! Your points were well articulated and the last of us was a gripping show for exactly the reasons you point out. Very nice work. 🙂

  39. I understand your point about letting the same writer redo the story, but there are some writers who have done that in the past and have made such egregious changes. Just like any other writer would have. Imagine. JK Rowling directing a new Harry Potter series.
    I think my hat goes off to Neil Druckmann in having the humility to rewrite his story and acknowledge the criticism and what could have been done better in the story.

  40. Ah yes, the show that spent one entire fucking episode focusing on an inconsequential relationship between those two gay dudes (simply because the writer wanted to "trick people into watching a gay romance"), and focused on ANYTHING else but the actual main characters and the story, yeah, it's so fucking amazing, best show ever, 1000000000000000000000000/10. Give me a break with this bs lmao

  41. 15:00 That was one of my favorite changes. But EP3 despite being near perfect, retroactively made that correction fruitless and made me facepalm because out of Bill's massive arsenal, Joel decided to take only a bolt action rifle.

  42. If you'd like to join my Discord server where we chat about our writing, and the movies/shows we love, here's a link you can use to join.

    My Discord: https://discord.com/invite/aJpYPQX

    I'm very active there. If there are any questions you'd like to ask me, this is the place for it!

    Keep writing!

    – Henry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.