• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

New Escapist Column! On the Use of Violence in “The Last of Us”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist earlier this week. With The Last of Us wrapping up its first season, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at the show, and in particular the way that the show tells its story.

The Last of Us is, in many ways, a study of violence. It’s a study of brutality and horror. What makes The Last of Us so interesting is the way that it chooses to portray such violence and brutality. Indeed, the show is remarkably restrained in its depiction of graphic on-screen violence. Instead, the show’s cinematic language focuses on the idea that violence ultimately wounds both perpetrator and victim. In many cases, it’s the people left behind who have to carry that with them.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On The Finale of “The Last of Us”…

I am doing weekly reviews of The Last of Us at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the video game adaptation as the show progresses. This week, the show’s finale.

The Last of Us wraps up a phenomenal season with a decidedly small-scale season finale. Look for the Light is one of the shortest episodes of the season, and is remarkable for its tight focus and narrative efficiency. The series remains tightly focused on Joel and Ellie, building to a climax that is at once tragic and inevitable. The result is a very satisfying wrap-up to a very impressive debut season.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Last of Us” Finds a Fresh Angle on Familiar Clich├ęs…

I am doing weekly reviews of The Last of Us at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the video game adaptation as the show progresses. This week, the show’s penultimate episode.

The Last of Us belongs to a genre that has been well-explored over the past few years, the post-apocalyptic horror. It’s a narrative template that has been thorough excavated and interrogated across a wealth of media. Audiences are familiar with the language and the logic of these kinds of stories, and there are perhaps only so many variations upon the archetypal theme. This what makes the season’s penultimate episode so compelling. The Last of Us wades into a familiar post-apocalyptic set-up, but finds a way to explore it that plays uniquely to the show’s strengths.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Last of Us” Shifts from Joel to Ellie…

I am doing weekly reviews of The Last of Us at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the video game adaptation as the show progresses. This week, the show’s seventh episode.

It’s an interesting proposition, adapting a serialised narrative after it has already been completed. In some ways, any serialised narrative is a first draft, a creative team making it up – to one degree or another – as they go along. As such, there is something very interesting in any subsequent adaptation of the work, as the adaptation has the luxury of a vantage point that can take in the completed work as a holistic entity. Left Behind was an add-on to the original video game version of The Last of Us, but the television series has the luxury of folding it into its ongoing narrative in real-time, as it were.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! On Why Faithfulness is Not a Measure of Quality in Adaptation…

We’re thrilled to be launching a fortnightly video companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch every second Monday, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel. And the video will typically be separate from the written content. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, with ongoing debates about the fidelity of shows like The Rings of Power, The Witcher: Blood Origin and The Last of Us, it seemed like a good opportunity to discuss the art of adaption. In particular, the question of whether faithfulness and quality are in any way related to one another.

New Escapist Column! On “The Last of Us” As A Study of Evolving Masculinity…

I am doing weekly reviews of The Last of Us at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the video game adaptation as the show progresses. This week, the show’s sixth episode.

The sixth episode of The Last of Us, Kin, is steeped in the iconography of the western: there’s a frontier town, two indigenous characters, and even a horse on the railroad tracks. However, there’s also a sense that Joel and Ellie have reached the end of their push westward, their journey from Boston to Jackson. In that sense then, the show explores the legacy of the western in American consciousness, particularly the genre’s archetypal portrayal of masculinity. What does it mean or Joel to be a man or a father? How does that reconcile with the image he has cast for himself as a cynical and weary outlaw? Can he move past that?

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Last of Us” Uses an Underground Metaphor…

I am doing weekly reviews of The Last of Us at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the video game adaptation as the show progresses. This week, the show’s fifth episode.

The fifth episode of The Last of Us, Endure and Survive, is a wonderful illustration of what the show does so well. Structurally, this is the kind of episode that every post-apocalyptic show inevitably does; it’s the story of a colony of survivors overwhelmed by a hostile horde. What is so effective about Endure and Survive is that it tells this conventional story in a way that plays into the larger themes of the show around it. The Last of Us has a very literary quality to it, and the episode is built around a clever central metaphor: it’s a story about rising up from underneath.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! “The Last of Us” is Solid, Sturdy Worldbuilding…

I am doing weekly reviews of The Last of Us at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the video game adaptation as the show progresses. This week, the show’s fourth episode.

The third episode of The Last of Us was a highlight of contemporary television, one of the best episodes of television produced in recent memory. The fourth episode is nowhere near as transcendent, but suggests that the show has found something resembling a groove. The fourth episode is a lot of what might be described as “shoe leather.” It’s largely dedicated to set-up and world-building. However, it also feels much more assured and comfortable in its own skin.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Video! On Why Television is Perhaps the Perfect Mode of Adaptation for Video Games…

We’re thrilled to be launching a fortnightly video companion piece to In the Frame at The Escapist. The video will typically launch every second Monday, and be released on the magazine’s YouTube channel. And the video will typically be separate from the written content. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, with The Last of Us continuing on television, we took a look at the show as one of the most successful video game adaptations to date. In particular, after decades of trying and failing to translate video games to the big screen, does The Last of Us suggest that the smaller screen is the perfect place for them?

New Escapist Column! On How This Week’s “The Last of Us” is a Masterpiece of Television…

I am doing weekly reviews of The Last of Us at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the video game adaptation as the show progresses. This week, the show’s third episode.

The first two episodes of The Last of Us were pretty good, doing a lot of worldbuilding and rule-setting for the series, while also working hard to court fans of the games with very knowing and loving recreations of key sequences and dynamics. However, the show really came into its own in its third episode, Long Long Time. Taking a break away from its central characters, The Last of Us played out a beautiful love story that effectively sets up the show’s emotional stakes.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.