The Last of Us teaser trailer looks so good it might be the best video game adaptation in years

Pedro Pascal as Joel, with Bella Ramsey as Ellie, in the foreground in The Last of Us.
(Image credit: HBO via YouTube)

While we got a glimpse of The Last of Us HBO series in a previous big HBO Max sizzle reel, the first teaser trailer is finally here — and it's good. Set to Hank Williams' Alone and Forsaken, this clip sets a strong mood for the series with a rapid-fire montage of moments you may recognize from the game.

Joel (Pedro Pascal) is first shown in heavy mourning, and we soon see people painting over storefronts. Soon, though, we see Joel and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) and someone else in a pipe as they're trying to evade detection. And in a brief blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, we get a sight of hollowed-out skyscrapers in this adaptation of the dystopic video game. Watch it right now for yourself:

While we get teases of someone watching all of the people in some sort of panopticon, and a field of dead bodies with tattered clothing on top of them, this trailer fully comes alive once the Clickers show up. At around 34 seconds, you hear that familiar rattle, and we see Joel tell Ellie to stay quiet. That's when you realize that The Last of Us may be a perfect game to adapt, as its horror moments will translate perfectly.

As we freeze-frame the trailer to see a gorgeous wide shot of a snowy bridge, and a moment or two of Storm Reid (Euphoria) as Riley, alongside Bella at a carnival ride, and we're all too ready to watch now. 

Analysis: Why The Last of Us looks like an all-time video game adaptation

You don't have to toss a coin too far to find someone who loves The Witcher. And while that's a good show in its own right, we get the feeling that The Last of Us will be the best video game adaptation of its generation. That's partially because its cast is phenomenal out of the gate. 

Alongside Pascal, Ramsey and Reid, the above trailer shows us a glimpse of Melanie Lynskey (Yellowjackets). The beloved and critically acclaimed actress is playing Kathleen, who runs a revolutionary group in Kansas City.

But when an off-camera voice speaks the phrase "save who you can save," at the end of this teaser trailer, I got the chills. HBO knows how to do action shows (Watchmen, Game of Thrones) and dystopia shows (Station Eleven) quite well, and that has always portended greatly for The Last of Us.

Watching this teaser, though, I got the strong vibes that The Last of Us is going to be a great show that is also a video game adaptation. Much like how my Andor review said that show is not just a good Star Wars show, but a great show nonetheless.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.