As HBO has become a major player as a premium cable channel/streaming service, it has debuted some big titles within the last few years. True Detective (a much-anticipated drama starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson), Vinyl (the now-defunct, though well-hyped, rock drama from Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter, and Mick Jagger), Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Leftovers, Silicon Valley, and Vice Principals have all debuted since 2013.
Yet, not even McConaughey or Scorsese could beat a TV show about a robot cowboy theme park. This week, Westworld debuted to 3.3 million viewers across cable and digital platforms,according to Variety. This marks HBO's biggest premiere since the first season of True Detective in January 2014, which also drew 3.3 million. The big-budget flop Vinyl drew only 1.4 million viewers for its $30 million (£23.5 million) two-hour opener last February.
Strong as this debut was, though, it still didn't quite reach the beast that is Game of Thrones, which premiered to 4.2 million viewers across multiple airings back in 2011.
This is a more than promising start to the sci-fi series, considering most shows take some time to build an audience in the first season. Game of Thrones's debut numbers seem modest compared to the 23.3 million people who tuned into the show's sixth season.
Though the show will inevitably be compared to Game of Thrones, as we said in our review of the first episode, the two shows are hardly similar. If anything, the only comparable qualities to the two shows are their production values. As co-creator Lisa Joy told US Esquire last week:
"We're both huge fans of Game of Thrones and the programming that HBO has done over the years. When we were thinking of Westworld and doing it with HBO, what they really showed us is that they have the ambition in their network, and they value production value as much as we did, and that that would be a perfect place to do a show of this scope and this ambition."
It looks like HBO's ambition has, at least so far, paid off with Westworld.
From US Esquire