So far, “The Last of Us” has been a rather faithful recreation of the award-winning video games, at times feeling like you’re watching live-action recreations of walkthrough videos. Entire scenes, lines of dialogue, and even specific shots are translated verbatim, but the show also isn’t afraid to go off-script, which is where it really shines. 

Entire episodes are devoted to side stories that weren’t part of the main game, like the episode that adapted the “Left Behind” DLC with Ellie and Riley’s story, or the Bill and Frank episode which gave us one of the single best episodes of TV in years. Likewise, the show often looks away from Ellie and Joel’s story to add context to the story and its world, particularly with the use of flashbacks that show how different people reacted and adapted to the Cordyceps outbreak.

As good as this is for making the world of “The Last of Us” come alive and feel lived-in, it does mean the show is biting off more than it can chew. A nine-episode season based on a game that is around twice as long means condensing and rushing past things, even before you add more to the story. So far, the first season has felt even more formulaic than the game, with each episode following the same pattern of Joel and Ellie reaching a new setting, meeting someone, then seeing that person die as soon as things go wrong. Really, the only people they’ve met who haven’t died are Tommy and Maria.