‘Westworld’ Season Three Premiere Sees Dip in Ratings

Published on March 19, 2020

After two very long years, HBO’s Westworld returned with a new style. No longer set in the R-rated amusement park, the sci-fi series is now in Los Angeles. It was a much needed change of pace following the events of the second season, which left some fans cold. Based on the ratings, a few of those former fans aren’t returning for season three.

Dip in Ratings

The series saw a 57% decline in viewership. A total 901,000 viewers checked out the promising season three premiere. A lot of people, of course, but last season’s premiere attracted 2.1 million viewers. Then again, more than 901,000 people have watched the new episode so far. Across HBO Go and HBO Now and On Demand, 1.7 million people returned for more Westworld. It’s still a very popular show, make no mistake. It’s worth adding more people watched the new premiere than Watchmen and The Outsider’s opening episodes, both of which were deemed popular. 

Why the Decrease?

Perhaps bad timing. Possibly the coronavirus played a part in Westworld’s decline of viewership. Maybe people weren’t in the mood for the very self-serious and heavy sci-fi series. Anyone else in need of a reminder how bleak the world is right now? Plus, as entertaining as the HBO series is, it’s not a show with much levity. Another obvious reason is the fan reaction to season two; polarizing to say the least. 

Admittedly, season two didn’t pack the excitement, novelty, and wonder and terror of season one. Still, the series didn’t lose its enticing sense of mystery, grand production value, and rich characters and world building. Reviews all around were strong throughout season two, too, and the same goes for season three. People still love this show. Based on Rotten Tomatoes, critics are enjoying what they’re seeing in this new spin on Westworld, too. It’s going to new places. We’ve had enough of the park already. 

Why You Should Give Season Three a Chance

If any viewers got off the Westworld train following season two, they should consider getting back on. The show’s creators, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, revamped the series. It feels completely new. Instead of a western or samurai story, the sci-fi series looks like a full-on crime story now. Set in a futuristic Los Angeles, there’s a real Michael Mann vibe. The criminals, the locations, and the score, it’s got classic crime elements mixed with the more futuristic touches. 

The season premiere sometimes looked like Michael Mann crossed with the world of Tron. It all looks gorgeous, too, and just as visually inviting as the Westworld park. Again, there’s a sense of wonder and discovery in the series. Some of the new characters aren’t exactly as compelling as fan favorites, but they’ll have time to grow. 

What About The Future of HBO?

If Westworld continues to deliver the goods this season, more eyeballs will return to the series. Westworld will always have its fans talking, but hopefully, it returns to its original place in pop culture and gets everyone truly excited. Season one of Westworld was next-level entertainment. With the mysteries, the characters played by all-star actors, and the world, there were so many details to get lost in and enjoy. Fans went diving deep into every clue and subtlety. It got people thinking and talking. Based on the premiere, Westworld may deliver that excitement again.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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