Like several HBO shows before it, The Last of Us has become the most talked about show on television. Based on the beloved video game series by Naughty Dog, The Last of Us has proven to be a hit with both long-time followers and new fans as it pays respect to the source material while adding its own well-thought-out changes. A second season has already been announced, meaning cordyceps will haunt fans' screens for the foreseeable future.
Headlined by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, The Last of Us features a great cast full of recognizable faces and fresh new talent. While the focus remains on Joel (Pascal) and Ellie (Ramsey) as they travel in search of a safe haven for Ellie, they meet plenty of memorable characters along the way. While actors such as Nick Offerman and Anna Torv may only appear in one or two episodes, they all leave a lasting impression, and fans have plenty of other options to see these talented actors perform.
1 Pedro Pascal & Bella Ramsey: 'Game of Thrones' (2011 - 2019)
HBO's last television juggernaut, Game of Thrones at its peak was even bigger than The Last of Us is right now. Featuring an expansive story set in the sprawling world of Westeros, Game of Thrones excels thanks to its large cast, never being bogged down with one storyline as several families vie for the Iron Throne.
When Pascal and Ramsey were cast as Joel and Ellie, it was hard not to associate their casting with Game of Thrones. Both actors became known to audiences through their performances on the show, playing fan-favorite characters Oberyn Martell and Lyanna Mormont respectively. While neither was a main character, both roles hinted at a bright acting future that is finally being fulfilled.
Watch on HBO Max
2 Anna Torv: 'Fringe' (2008 - 2013)
Coming from the mind of J.J. Abrams, Fringe works as a 21st-century spin on The X-Files. When a series of unexplained mysteries occur and hint at the existence of parallel universes, FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is partnered with a father and son duo who specialize in investigating these strange matters.
Never reaching the heights of popularity as more mainstream shows, Fringe gained a cult following across its five seasons. Those who wish to see more of Tess are in for a treat as one of Torv's best performances is in this sci-fi mystery meets police procedural, which will appeal to those who like their weekly cases to have a paranormal twist.
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3 Gabriel Luna: 'Terminator: Dark Fate' (2019)
The latest entry in the long-running Terminator franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate sees factory worker Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) hunted by a Terminator (Gabriel Luna) sent from the future. Paired with her own protector, Grace (Mackenzie Davis), Dani works with some familiar faces to ensure her survival.
While it is nowhere near as good as the first two Terminator movies, Dark Fate is still more enjoyable than the last few entries. Luna, who plays Joel's brother Tommy in The Last of Us, makes for a decent antagonist as his stoic posture and facial expressions help to sell his role as a single-minded killing machine.
4 Melanie Lynskey: 'Yellowjackets' (2021 - )
A recent critical darling, Yellowjackets follows the survivors of a plane crash that was carrying an all-girls high-school soccer team as they battle the elements and each other to stay alive in the wilderness. Along with this storyline, the show also follows some of the girls 25 years later, as the women try to move on from the past.
Melanie Lynskey plays the adult version of Shauna, having survived the ordeal to become a stay-at-home mom. Lynskey has always been an underrated actor, capable of being wholesome in one scene and terrifying in another. This is what makes her perfect as Kathleen, the militia leader intent on hunting down Joel and Ellie.
Watch on Prime Video
5 Pedro Pascal: 'The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent' (2022)
Seeing Nicolas Cage play the role he was literally born to play, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent finds the popular actor playing a down-on-his-luck version of himself. When a diehard fan (Pedro Pascal) offers Cage $1 million to come to his island and attend his birthday party, Cage is intercepted mid-journey to become a spy for the CIA and investigate his new friend who is a suspected arms dealer.
Massive Talent is a lot of fun and is bolstered by the great chemistry shared between Cage and Pascal. Pascal's Javi comes across as super wholesome, betraying his reputation as a dangerous criminal, and it is hard not to root for him and Cage to drive off into the sunset together to escape from the law on their trail.
Watch on Starz
6 Murray Bartlett: 'The White Lotus' (2021 - )
Another recent hit for HBO, The White Lotus is a critically-acclaimed anthology series that follows the guests and staff at resorts located in some of the world's most popular holiday destinations. A black comedy, The White Lotus is not afraid to explore the most intimate details of its characters' lives, often using these awkward situations for laughs.
While Jennifer Coolidge has proven to be the show's biggest star, appearing in both seasons, Murray Bartlett also delivered an Emmy-winning performance in the first season. Some are predicting him to take the award again with his performance as Frank in The Last of Us being hailed by critics and fans as tremendous.
Watch on HBO Max
7 Nick Offerman: 'Parks and Recreation' (2009 - 2015)
Seen as a spiritual successor to The Office, Parks and Recreation uses a similar mockumentary format as it follows the staff of the Parks Department in Pawnee, Indiana. Headlined by Amy Poehler as perky bureaucrat Leslie Knope, Parks and Rec also launched the careers of Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza.
Despite a stacked cast, Nick Offerman's turn as Leslie's boss Ron Swanson proved to be the show's breakout character. Best known for his comedic performances, his casting as Bill raised eyebrows, but the actor exceeded expectations as Offerman delivered the best performance of his career.
Watch on Peacock
8 Bella Ramsey: 'Catherine Called Birdy' (2022)
Based on the beloved children's book, Catherine Called Birdy follows the titular character, played by Bella Ramsey, as she navigates the pressures of childhood in 13th-century England. When her father attempts to sell her off for marriage in order to secure needed funds, Catherine spends her days scaring off potential suitors.
Allowing Ramsey to showcase her acting chops in film format, she makes for a likable and engaging lead in this period comedy. While Catherine shares similar spunky qualities to Ellie, Catherine Called Birdy lets Ramsey lean more into her comedic side without the threat of a zombie around every corner.
Watch on Prime Video
9 Anna Torv: 'Mindhunter' (2017 - 2019)
Based on a true-crime book written by a real FBI agent, Mindhunter follows two agents in the late 70s as they interview imprisoned serial killers in the hopes of understanding them psychologically. With the knowledge they gain from exploring the minds of humanity's worst, the duo hopes to apply it to ongoing cases.
The FBI agents are joined by psychologist Wendy Carr (Anna Torv), who aids them in their investigations. With Mindhunter, Fringe, and now The Last of Us, Torv has proven she can more than hold her own in some of modern television's best shows, and it will be interesting to see which hit series she lends her talents to next.
Watch on Netflix
10 Pedro Pascal: 'The Mandalorian' (2019 - )
The best Star Wars show on Disney+, The Mandalorian follows the titular character (Pedro Pascal) as he travels the galaxy as a bounty hunter. When a job brings him into contact with an alien child he is meant to deliver to a client, Mando instead adopts the young one and attempts to raise him in this lawless universe.
When Pascal was cast as Joel fans immediately drew comparisons to his portrayal of the Mandalorian. Seemingly intent to secure every brooding dad role on television, both shows allow Pascal to explore different sides of the same archetype, with Mando less brutal than Joel, and more welcoming to his new co-pilot.
Watch on Disney+
NEXT: Small Details Only Video Game Fans Noticed in HBO's 'The Last of Us'