While The Last of Us was always bound to draw in a relatively sizable crowd from the gaming community, the series has quickly turned into a tough act to follow for most, if not all other television series to come later in the year – as HBO’s adaptation of the 2013 Naughty Dog title has been drawing in a huge crowd.
While the series premiere wasn’t quite able to best the gargantuan House of the Dragon’s numbers, it’s sitting pretty in second place in terms of premiere episodes, and has managed to break through a staggering eight-digit viewership milestone, achieving 10 million viewers in the United States alone:
Such numbers are unsurprising given HBO appears to have managed to adapt an already-stellar video game story to live action, as well as draw in a whole new audience who are new to the source material. From the heartbreaking prologue all the way through to the episode ending on that ominous Depeche Mode banger, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who is yet to be captivated by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as Joel and Ellie in the bleak post-apocalyptic world they reside in.
We say that, knowing that viewership numbers are one thing, but the ratings also don’t lie. At the time of writing, The Last of Us has an absolutely stellar rating by both critics and audiences over on Rotten Tomatoes, sitting at 99 percent and 96 percent respectively.
We’ll have to wait and see how many of those 10 million viewers The Last of Us manages to retain when the second episode comes to HBO Max on Sunday. We have a feeling that returning viewers may have been a lot lower, had showrunners Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann stuck with their original plan for how to end the premiere episode.