The Last of Us HBO’s Second-Largest Premiere in a Decade, Behind only House of Dragons

Nathan Birch
The Last of Us HBO series

Prior to launch, there was plenty of debate over The Last of Us HBO series – would the show fall victim to the dreaded video game adaptation curse? Were stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsay up to the task of playing Joel and Ellie? Was TLOU's story really all it was cracked up to be in the first place or just good by video game standards?

Well, the first episode of The Last of Us debuted this past Sunday on HBO and the HBO Max streaming service, and it seems those questions have been pretty definitively answered. The Alberta, Canada-filmed show is a hit both critics, including mainstream ones with no history with the game, and fans, with audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic sitting at 96 percent and 80 percent respectively. That's not an easy thing to achieve for an anticipated adaptation of a property with a passionate fanbase, which are often the subject of backlash and review bombing.

The Last of Us isn’t just a critical success, it’s a hit in terms of viewership. According to Deadline, the show’s first episode attracted 4.7 million viewers across HBO and HBO Max, making it the cable channel’s second biggest debut in over a decade. The biggest was House of Dragons, which attracted a whopping 9.9 million for its premiere, and before that, you have to go back to Boardwalk Empire’s 2010 debut, which brought in 4.8 million viewers. The Sunday premiere numbers are just the beginning for TLOU as according to HBO, those Day 1 numbers only represent around 30 percent of the people who will eventually watch the show due to it being available on HBO Max. Ultimately, The Last of Us TV series is on track to become almost as popular as the original games, which have sold 37 million copies to date.

Caught the first episode of The Last of Us and eager for more? Here’s a quick teaser trailer for future episodes…

The Last of Us can be viewed on HBO/HBO Max in the US, Crave TV in Canada, and Sky Atlantic in the UK. There will be 9 episodes in total covering the full story of the original game.

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