The initial Last of Us overnight numbers, released soon after episode 1’s airing, failed to meet the expectations of a show of this caliber, considering the size of the IP and the budget. However, the nearly unanimous praise for this episode has done the impossible. Some early reports regarding the consolidated viewership have been released by HBO, and they are unbelievably good. A healthy show with positive reception often doubles its overnight viewership by the time the full consolidated numbers are released. The Last of Us not only did this but did it in less than a day. The first episode reportedly crossed 10 million views in just two days. More people watched the first episode the day after its release than the day of its release. That is almost never the case.
All this is due to the incredibly positive reception this show has received from people across the nerd and normie spectrums. Regardless of anyone’s opinions of this episode, it’s hard to deny that it’s a smashing success after achieving such a rare milestone. It’s for shows like this that the overnight and consolidated viewership are often split when considering a show’s success and viability. The overnight viewership was OK, but nothing extraordinary. If The Last of Us had been judged solely on that initial reception, there would be a legitimate argument that it wasn’t a success. That is why the consolidated viewership is necessary to gauge how word of mouth affects a show. The fact that more people watched the show on day 2 than on day 1 is an undeniable indicator of the general public’s reception to that first episode.
The Last of Us episode 2 airs Sunday night at 9:00 PM EST. Only time will tell if the show can maintain the impressive interest that the public has shown it and satisfy its newfound fans through its nine-episode run.