Every year, it seems like television is just becoming more and more crowded with incredible, record-breaking new content. But no other new show has made quite as large and noticeable of an impact in pop culture this year than HBO's Westworld has. Based on the 1973 Michael Chrichton film of the same name, and created by Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, the series is yet another ambitious, star-studded addition to HBO's original programming lineup - one that continues to challenge the notion of what is and isn't possible on the television format.
The show's critically-acclaimed first season has come to an end as well, with an extra long 90-minute finale that provided a satisfying amount of answers to the season's biggest questions, while also teasing and setting up things to come in the second. Based on some of the latest numbers coming from the season finale too, it looks like HBO's latest gamble has paid off once again.
Deadline is reporting that the Westworld season 1 finale drew over 2.2 million live viewers, with replays and later HBO Go/Now viewings raising the total number to 3.6 million. Not only was this total up 5% from last week's numbers, but it also marks a series high for Westworld - and with an average of 12 million viewers across all platforms, ranks as the most-watched first season of any original series in HBO history.
None of this is necessarily surprising considering the commercial and critical success the series has been on the receiving end of already, after maintaining a consistent, loyal viewership from week-to-week after its premiere back at the beginning of October. HBO has been in search of a series to fill the gap between Game of Thrones seasons, however, and following the quick death of Vinyl earlier this year and True Detective's disintegration after its second season, this comes as welcome news for the programming giant.
Predictably, Westworld was renewed for a second season just a few weeks ago too, so there will eventually be answers given to some of the finale's unanswered questions. Due to production requirements though, the series isn't likely to return until 2018, unfortunately, which means fans will likely have to wait longer than they may want for those answers.
Then again, after the rushed nature of True Detective's season 2, the prolonged wait for Westworld season 1 may end up being the best decision for HBO and the show's creative team could have made. Luckily, a number of the biggest revelations from the season 1 finale also shone a light on some of the season's strangest earlier moments - so viewers should still have quite a bit to unpack upon repeat viewings, in the meantime.