The new HBO show was the network's second-best debut of the past decade.
Middle-aged man holding a flashlight in his right hand. He looks off to the side with a worried expression. He is wearing a backpack over a light blue, possibly denim buttoned shirt. He stands near a wall covered in fungi.

With Sunday night's premiere, The Last of Us on HBO became the network's second-biggest debut for the past decade. The show pulled in over 4.7 million viewers for the premiere, placing it in second place behind only House of the Dragon.

Deadline has the report for this one. They say that The Last of Us TV adaptation was the network's largest debut after House of the Dragon since Boardwalk Empire launched in 2010. Taking down House of the Dragon would have been a very tall order for The Last of Us. The Game of Thones spinoff pulled in a staggering 9.986M viewers across TV and HBO Max. This made it the biggest audience for any new original series in the history of pay cable. For additional comparison, Boardwalk Empire pulled in 4.81 million viewers on its premiere in 2010.

"Our focus was simply to make the best possible adaptation of this beloved story for as big an audience as we could,” said Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann. “We are overjoyed to see how many fans, both old and new, have welcomed The Last of Us into their homes and their hearts."
Deadline also notes in their reporting that the premiere for The Last of Us was nearly double the season two debut for Euphoria. That show saw 2.4 million viewers in its debut last January but then went on to average 19.5 million viewers per episode in the US. HBO notes that Sunday night viewership "typically represents just 20%-40% of the show's total gross audience per episode." It may not be entirely surprising to hear that The Last of Us pulls in almost 20 million viewers per episode once all is said and done.

The critical reception for The Last of Us has been stellar. In fact, since that initial article detailing the review scores, the average score on Rotten Tomatoes has gone up. Rotten Tomatoes now sits at a 99% average (up from 97%). Plus, despite the best efforts of some, the user score on Metacritic sits at 8.1, right in line with the 84% average critic rating there.