Cover art for podcast The latest episodes from On the Media

The latest episodes from On the Media

50 EpisodesProduced by WNYC StudiosWebsite

WNYC’s weekly investigation into how the media shapes our worldview. 


HBO's "The Last of Us" and The Curse of Video Game Adaptations

This week HBO is set to release its latest show, The Last Of Us, about two strangers, who end up on a perilous journey together through a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic America. The show, starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, is based on a hit video game series of the same name. It should be an easy hit for the network.

Yet, the show's creators have had to contend with what's known as the “video game curse.” Dating back to the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie, adaptations of video games into film and television have left us with a long list of critical failures. From 2022's Uncharted, to the 2021 Mortal Kombat, and the 2016 Assassin’s Creed movie, which earned a whopping 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. This week, OTM Correspondent Micah Loewinger speaks with New Yorker writer and editor, Alex Barasch, about his latest piece ‘Can a Video Game Be Prestige TV?,’ if HBO's latest venture could finally break the infamous curse, and why studios continue to make productions based on video games.  

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