Entertainment & Arts

Westworld: Series premiere draws 3.3m viewers to HBO

Thandie Newton Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thandie Newton stars in Westworld, which begins on Tuesday evening in the UK

Westworld has become HBO's most-watched series premiere for almost three years, attracting 3.3 million viewers.

The futuristic epic based on Michael Crichton's 1973 movie debuted in the US on Sunday evening.

The figures, reported by Variety, take into account those watching live TV as well as people viewing on HBO's streaming platforms.

It makes Westworld HBO's most successful drama series premiere since True Detective nearly three years ago.

The crime drama attracted 2.3 million viewers across all platforms when it was first broadcast in January 2014.

Westworld also beat the 2011 series premiere of the hugely popular Game of Thrones, which attracted 2.2 million TV viewers on the evening it debuted.

However, the most recent season of Game of Thrones attracted an average of 23.3 million viewers across all platforms, according to data HBO supplied to USA Today in June.

The number of viewers who watched Westworld makes the show a success for the pay TV channel, although the figure would be considered low for the same timeslot on a major rival channel.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright both appear in Westworld

Westworld's ensemble cast includes Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, Luke Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins and Borgen's Sidse Babett Knudsen.

The first episode of the series received mixed reviews from critics.

Empire's James White gave the programme four stars, adding: "It's a good start for the show, even if it feels at times as though you're being thrown in at the deep end. Still, the cast is several feet deep with impressive performers already and the world itself is a thing of designed beauty."

But, he added: "There are worrying elements - it's quick on the trigger finger when it comes to narrative tropes such as violence against women and casual nudity, but it remains to be seen how the show tackles those themes going forward."

Writing in The Guardian, Julia Raeside also questioned the role of women and amount of nudity in the show, but praised the episode overall.

"Yes, there are a lot of breasts and, so far, the women are either robots at the mercy of punters or professionals not listened to by their colleagues," she wrote.

"But otherwise, this is an impressive opening that ponders the qualities that make us human without bludgeoning us over the head with the differences between man and machine. And the cast is terrific."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden and Sidse Babett Knudsen are part of the show's ensemble cast

Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson said: "It's beautifully acted and intricately written, frightening and probing and provocative."

But he described the show's "literal objectifying of most of its female characters" as an "ingrained, pervasive problem".

Writing about the first episode in The Telegraph, Catherine Gee said: "We're thrust into a complex, visionary world that is pleasingly in no rush to rapidly churn out its storyline.

"Like the on-screen robots, its pieces are meticulously put together, its capacity to unleash hell brimming beneath the surface. And it's beautiful to watch."

The first episode of the Westworld will be broadcast on Sky Atlantic in the UK on Tuesday evening.


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