AMC has been pushing the premiere of its latest original series, The Killing, for months. Now they’ve put their money where their mouth is, streaming the two-hour premiere episode on AMC’s website commercial-free.

The Killing is the American adaptation of a Danish police procedural. Although, that term doesn’t really apply in this case – The Killing is more like a murder-mystery novel expanded into a 13-episode series. It follows the investigation of young Rosie Larsen’s murder in Seattle.

The move is an admirable one for the cable network. Far too many intellectual property holders keep a deathgrip on their material, but AMC is going a more modern route and allowing viewers to sample the new series before tuning in. It might even sell a few cable or satellite subscriptions at the same time, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for DirecTV to send flowers.

As networks have spent the last few years learning, certain segments will always avoid paying for entertainment. By providing the premiere free of charge and without even the distraction of commercials (*cough* Hulu) AMC has immediately pulled the rug out from under illegal streaming and torrents and given people a compelling reason to tune in for the live broadcast.

The premiere received almost universal applause from television critics, not the least of whom was Screen Rant‘s own Kofi Outlaw. You can read his review here. According to Outlaw, “The Killing was a very intriguing show and definitely has potential for some great storytelling to come.” Reviews from other publications have also been positive.

Audiences responded favorably, too. The premiere episode captured 4.7 million viewers, and 2.7 million in the key 18-49 demographic. It’s an excellent start for a cable show. In fact, the only AMC premiere to beat it was The Walking Dead‘s Halloween debut last year.

But as Kofi said, it’s a slow burn. The story of The Killing is intensely character-driven, and there’s no easy forensics or eureka moments a la Law & Order or CSI. The show is intense, intentional and emotional – here’s hoping the audience returns for a second helping next week.

The Killing airs Sunday nights at 10PM on AMC. You can watch the two-hour premiere episode here.

Source: Entertainment Weekly