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HBO’s Watchmen Scores Highest-Rated Premium Cable Premiere of 2019



HBO’s Watchmen premiere on Sunday night scored the biggest ratings for a digital services in three years. This represented a strong start for a new HBO show series since Westworld’s season premiere back in 2016. Watchmen was first introduced to the big screen by director Zack Snyder, who later went on to serve as an architect for the early installments of the DC Extended Universe.

Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen, based on the award-winning Alan Moore graphic novel, takes a spin on the world of Moore and Gibbons’ classic 1980s comic. Rather than adapting from the original book, Watchmen explores an alternate timeline where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws and the police are forced to hide their identify behind their masks. Watchmen stars Regina King as Angela Abar, aka Sister Night, who serves as a lead detective in the Tulsa Police Force. She also plays a wife to her husband Cal (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), and their three adopted young children. Regina King has been on a roll this year from winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk and her continued work behind the camera directing episodes on such shows as The Good Doctor and Shameless.

According to Deadline, the Watchmen premiere brought in huge ratings for its first time appearing on HBO in the 9 PM ET time slot. The season premiere debut averaged 800,000 viewers and delivered 1.5 million viewers in all HBO platforms. This newly adapted series ranked up 21% above the Succession season finale time slot last week. For those wondering, Watchmen did not manage to outdo the 2011 premiere of Game of Thrones.

Watchmen has received a substantial amount of radical praise from critics. Watchmen currently sits at a 93% fresh rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. As for online audiences, the series scored at 49%. Perhaps people are not open minded to the concept of a new sci-fi/fantasy series, but given their love for Game of Thrones and Westworld over the years, that shouldn’t be the case. When Westworld first premiered on HBO, critics and fans had a critical opinion about the series but eventually it began something great. In these next couple of weeks, time will tell if the online audience will warm up to Watchmen.

It will be awhile before we know if Watchmen can sustain these high ratings numbers for the rest of the season, but it will be interesting to see if HBO has found its next big hit show. Watchmen will be comprised of nine episodes. The first episode was titled “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice,” which was directed by Nicole Kassell (The Woodsman).

Watchmen airs Sundays @ 9pm on HBO.

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