Animal manifestations of the human soul, repressive theology, the multiverse, a sprinkling of streampunk and the search for a missing friend kicked off the premium cabler’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novels last night with a bit of a roar. The eight-part series starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Clarke Peters, James McAvoy and Lin-Manuel Miranda snagged 700,000 viewers across HBO and the channel’s various platforms for its well promoted premiere on the AT&T-owned outlet.
While not nearing the massive numbers of the 7.2 million who tuned in to watch its UK debut Sunday, the stateside results are one of the best debuts HBO has seen on a Monday. In fact, the only Monday night HBO show to debut better than His Dark Materials was multiple Emmy winner Chernobyl. That Craig Mazin-created miniseries, which chronicled the horrible nuclear disaster of April 1986, premiered May 6 with 756,000 viewers.
Rare among TV shows nowadays, Chernobyl went on to rise almost every week over its five-episode run to become the most watched miniseries to date on miniseries-rich HBO.
Add to that the fact that His Dark Materials directly faced a well-watched Monday Night Football matchup on ESPN between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, and we might really have ourselves a contest here for HBO-start-of-the-week top dog. Stay tuned.