The Last of Us was HBO’s second-biggest premiere in a decade, behind only House of Dragons

Prior to launch, there was a lot of debate surrounding The Last of Us HBO series — will the show fall victim to the video game adaptation curse? Were co-stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey up to the task of playing Joel and Ellie? Was TLOU’s story really all that it was cracked up to be in the first place, or is it just as good by video game standards?

Well, the first episode of The Last of Us debuted this past Sunday on HBO and streaming service HBO Max, and it looks like those questions have been answered definitively. Filmed in Alberta, Canada, the show was a success for both critics, including mainstream critics with no history with the game, and fans, with audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic of 96 percent and 80 percent, respectively. This isn’t an easy feat to achieve for an anticipated adaptation of a property with a passionate fanbase, which is often the subject of backlash and review bombing.

The Last of Us isn’t just a critical success, it’s a viewership success. According to Deadline, the show’s premiere episode drew 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 drew 9.9 million at its premiere, and before that, you have to go back to Boardwalk Empire’s 2010 premiere, which brought in 4.8 million viewers. Sunday’s premiere numbers are just the beginning for TLOU and according to HBO, the first-day numbers represent only about 30 percent of the people who will eventually watch the show due to it being available on HBO Max. After all, The Last of Us series is on its way to becoming almost as popular as the original games, which have sold 37 million copies to date.

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Did you watch the first episode of The Last of Us and want more? Here’s a quick trailer for future episodes…

The Last of Us can be seen 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 entire story of the original game.

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