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HBO Viewing Figures Reveal Close Contest Between Two of Its Biggest Shows

The Last of Us season 1 finale screenshot, featuring Pedro Pascal as Joel

HBO has had a stellar year, with two of its most recent genre shows vying for the top spot in terms of viewership. The Last of Us season 1 recently wrapped up with its emotionally violent finale on the 12th of March, with the episode so far drawing in a reported 8.2 million viewers across all of HBO’s platforms. The Last of Us, which stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, has been steadily growing its viewership since it premiered in the middle of January, with each episode drawing in a bigger audience.

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But before The Last of Us premiered, another recent HBO mega-hit had been garnering the most attention. Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon drew in 29 million viewers for its entire first season across all of HBO’s platforms between August and October 2022.

The Last of Us, however, has now overtaken House of the Dragon’s full season viewing record. Though finalized figures are only available for the first six episodes of the show’s nine-episode season, these first few episodes have raked in a total of 30.4 million views, surpassing House of the Dragon season 1’s total viewership.

For comparison, the utterly divisive final season of Game of Thrones finished with a total of 44 million viewers. Given that the total number of The Last of Us’ viewing figures is still incomplete, with three episodes left to be calculated, it’s highly likely that The Last of Us season 1 will surpass Game of Thrones season 8‘s already awe-inspiring record.

The Last of Us’ success is well deserved

The Last of Us season 1 poster, with Bella Ramsey and Pedro Pascal

Are we really surprised The Last of Us has done so well? It is considered by many to be the best video game adaptation of all time. Video game adaptations have historically been hard to crack, but The Last of Us’ existing cinematic narrative was the perfect fit for a gritty HBO drama series. The show stayed true to the core narrative, despite some new (and riveting) additions, and Pascal and Ramsey were both excellent in their respective roles.

With The Last of Us’ record-breaking success comes the promise of a second—and probably even third—season. In an interview with GQ magazine, executive producers Neil Druckman and Craig Mazin shared that the adaptation for The Last of Us Part II will need more than one season to be properly explored.

The Last of Us’ season 1 success certainly bodes well for how season 2 might be received, despite some pushback from the gaming community for The Last of Us Part II’s story. Druckman and Mazin are determined to adapt the existing narrative, however, and figure out how to “make the best TV show version of that story.”

In the meantime, the anticipation for The Last of Us season 2 can keep us all on our toes.

(via Radio Times, featured image: HBO)

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El Kuiper
El (she/her) has been working as a freelance writer for various entertainment websites for over a year, ever since she completed her Ph.D. in Creative Writing. El's primary focus is television and movie coverage for The Mary Sue, including British TV and franchises like Marvel, but she is happy to pitch in with gaming content once in a while if it concerns one of the few video games she actually knows anything about. As much as she enjoys analyzing other people's stories, her biggest dream is to one day publish an original fantasy novel of her own.

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