HBO series’ record-breaking viewership increase

The Last of Us viewership increased so much between the premiere and the second episode, it broke an HBO record

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When the HBO TV series adaptation of the video game The Last of Us premiere a week ago (you can read our review HERE), it became HBO’s second-biggest debut since 2010, only coming in behind the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon. The first episode of The Last of Us was watched by 4.7 million viewers. Now Variety reports that even more viewers tuned in for the show’s second episode – so many that The Last of Us broke HBO’s record for a viewership increase.

Variety says: Episode 2 brought in 5.7 million viewers across linear airings on HBO and streams on HBO Max. That marks a 22% increase from last week’s record-breaking 4.7 million. … Per HBO, the jump from the initial premiere viewership to Episode 2’s debut audience is the “largest week 2 audience growth for an HBO Original drama series in the history of the network.” The network also offered an update regarding the series premiere’s viewership, stating that “after one full week of availability, Episode 1 is now tracking at 18 million viewers, up nearly 4x from its premiere night audience.”

The story of the The Last of Us video game is set years after a fungal plague wiped out much of humanity, transforming most into vicious zombie-like monsters, the story follows Joel, who’s living in a militarized quarantine zone. He has a close relationship with Tess, who operates in the black market of this community. Together, they’ve become known by the local criminal underworld for their ruthlessness. On a mission to reclaim their stolen guns, they run into the leader of the Fireflies, a resistance group, who tasks them with smuggling a young girl named Ellie out of the zone. This mission soon becomes much more than they were prepared for. Season 1 of the TV series is an adaptation of the entirety of the first game.

Pedro Pascal plays Joel, who is “tormented by past trauma and failure. He must trek across a pandemic-ravaged America, all the while protecting a girl who represents the last hope of humanity”. He is joined in the cast by Bella Ramsey as Ellie, “a 14-year-old orphan who has never known anything but a ravaged planet and who struggles to balance her instinct for anger and defiance with her need for connection and belonging… as well as the newfound reality that she may be the key to saving the world”; Anna Torv as Tess, “a smuggler and hardened survivor in a post-pandemic world”; Gabriel Luna as Joel’s brother Tommy, “a former soldier who hasn’t lost his sense of idealism and hope for a better world”; Merle Dandridge as Marlene, “the head of the Fireflies, a resistance movement struggling for freedom against an oppressive military regime”; Nico Parker as Joel’s daughter Sarah; Jeffrey Pierce as Perry, “a rebel in a quarantine zone”; Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett as Bill and Frank, “two post-pandemic survivalists living alone in their own isolated town”; and Storm Reid as Ellie’s best friend Riley.

Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson, who did the motion-capture performances for Joel and Ellie in the video game, are also in the cast of the show. Baker is playing James, “a senior member of a group of settlers who must fight to keep their community alive in the face of increasingly brutal odds.” Johnson’s character is Anna, “a pregnant woman, alone and on the run, who must give birth under the most terrifying of circumstances.” Baker is also hosting a podcast that will serve as a companion to the TV series.

Mazin and Druckmann are directors on the series, as are Kantemir Balagov (Beanpole), Jasmila Zbanic (Quo vadis, Aida), Peter Hoar (Doctor Who), Jeremy Webb (The Punisher), and Liza Johnson (What We Do in the Shadows).

The Last of Us is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, Word Games, The Mighty Mint, and game developer Naughty Dog. Druckmann serves as executive producer alongside Carolyn Strauss, Naughty Dog’s Evan Wells, Asad Qizilbash and Carter Swan of PlayStation Productions, and Mazin.

Have you been watching The Last of Us? If so, let us know what you think of the show by leaving a comment below. I’m planning on waiting until all of the season 1 episodes are available so I can binge watch.

The Last of Us

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