Last of Us: The Spence Miniseries Edit, The

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Brief Synopsis:
Recut The Last of Us into a 3-part miniseries solely focused on Joel and Elli's journey. A 4th "special episode" includes the majority of the cut content as short films.
I'm a huge fan of The Last of Us games, and also the HBO adaptation, which I thought was incredible.

My only criticism is that there were a lot of side stories and deviations from sticking with Joel and Ellie, which distracted from their building relationship and ultimately made the ending not work quite as well as it could have. These side stories were all fantastic and some of the best episodes of the show, but the trade off is we lose some of the focus that made the story really shine in the game. This is why I think Left Behind being a DLC you play after you finish the game is important to the overall pacing of the game's story.

Again, this is a super minor criticism, and the show is great the way it is. It does not "need" fixing, and fixing is not the intention here. However, I got to thinking that maybe a format change could be interesting.

This edit recuts and reorganizes the show as a 3-part miniseries that focuses almost solely on Joel and Ellie and their journey. The only time we get away from that is to establish things that will be directly important to that journey (for instance, spending a little time setting up Kathleen / Sam and Henry before Joel and Ellie reach Kansas City, so that plot will work.)

Episode 1: Combines episodes 1 and 2, and runs about 1:40. Remove the cold open and everything before Joel gets home from work to mirror the opening of the game. From there, everything more or less plays as it does in the series but cutting some stuff for pacing and time (The subplot with the security guard, Joel asking for new jobs, etc.) This gets us all the way through the scene at the court house.

Episode 2: Covers episodes 3-5, running about 1:35. Start the episode with the Kansas City flashback from Episode 5, showing FEDRA's collapse and introducing Kathleen, Sam, and Henry. Then we leave that and rejoin Joel and Ellie at the river. Remove the gas station scene, finding the mass grave, and everything with Bill and Frank so they just arrive and discover Bill's note. Then it's the car ride to Kansas City. This will not include the Sam and Henry stuff until they sneak up on Joel and Ellie. I also cut a bit of Kathleen stuff for time.

Episode 3: 6-9, but leaving out 7. This one runs about 2 hours, so a little longer. Cut the scene at the cabin and go straight to Joel and Ellie traveling and getting picked up by the Jackson survivors. Most of this section is unchanged. Cut episode 7 completely and created a new transition from Joel bleeding out to Ellie hunting, leaving his fate up in the air until Ellie asks David for medicine, similar to the game. Then it's Episode 8 but cutting all the David/town business that doesn't involve Ellie or Joel. Cut the cold open from Episode 9 and mirror the transition in the game to get into Episode 9.

Unfortunately, this means that tons of great stuff is being cut out of the story, which is a shame. So I decided to do a 4th episode titled "The Last of Us: Left Behind." This is set up as an anthology and is made of short stories that include a lot of that cut footage, divided into 4 parts:

Cold Open - The 60's interview followed immediately by the Jakarta sequence, which leads to the main titles.

Part 1 - Outbreak Day (Everything cut before the beginning of Episode 1)

Part 2 - Long Long Time (Bill and Frank)

Part 3 - Brothers (Sam and Henry)

Part 4 - Left Behind (The Anna flashback and Left Behind, leaving out the stuff at FEDRA school.)

So it's a 3 episode miniseries that focuses on Joel and Ellie's story, and a 4th "DLC" episode to fill in some more corners of the world. I think the format works really well, and it's an interesting, different way to enjoy the series. You get the core story of Joel and Ellie, and all the other ancillary world building stuff in a separate special episode if you're interested in learning more.

I'd like to mention that I didn't cut any of these side stories from the main narrative because of their content, quality, or the diversity and inclusiveness contained within them. I also do not presume for this to be a "better" version of the show, nor was that the goal.
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