'Westworld' Season 3 Ratings Are Down Down 57% From Season 2

People across the globe are stuck inside right now, which means that TV watching is reaching an all-time high. But apparently, not even quarantines and self-isolation were enough to boost the season premiere of Westworld. The numbers are in, and they reveal that the Westworld season 3 premiere ratings were down 57% from the season 2 premiere. The twisty, somewhat confusing season 2 seemed to frustrate many viewers – and it looks like that frustration has translated into alienation.

Variety is reporting that the ratings for the Westworld season 3 premiere were considerably lower than season 2. The premiere, which aired Sunday, drew 901,000 total viewers to the live broadcast, which is 57% lower than season 2, which drew a total of 2.1 million. When you factor digital viewership into the mix, the new episode had 1.7 million viewers across HBO's platforms.

However, there are other factors to take into consideration. Specifically, the premiere was competing with the latest Democratic debate. It's also worth noting that while the numbers were down from season 2, the premiere was still one of the best for HBO so far this year, beating the premieres of The Outsider by 24% and Watchmen by 13%.

Still, one can't help but wonder if the frustrating season 2 has scared away viewers. When Westworld premiered, it felt like one of the most buzz-worthy shows on HBO. Season 2 changed that, as the show went down some roads that left many feeling cold. Season 3 hopes to correct that by changing things up. For one thing, the premiere episode took place entirely outside of the park. It also introduced a brand new main character – Caleb, played by Aaron Paul.

I've seen the first four episodes of the new season, and I mostly liked them. But I also felt like the show still suffers from embracing the mystery box set-up too much. As I said in my review:

Can Westworld reboot itself? The series started off so strong with its first season, but nearly everyone seemed to be befuddled by season 2. The second season wanted to be bolder, but this boldness ultimately resulted in a confusing, messy narrative that had most viewers throwing up their hands, or throwing in the towel. But season 2 also climaxed with a sign of big changes to come: Many of the main characters were no longer in Westworld, or its sister parks. They were out in the real world.

The stage was set for something entirely different. Which brings us back to the main question: Can Westworld reboot itself? The answer is: Maybe – but it doesn't really want to. Because while season 3 first starts off seeming like a brave new world, it's only a matter of time before the show is retreading familiar – and befuddling – ground.

There's always a chance that good word-of-mouth will start drawing viewers back in. The season just started, and we'll have to wait and see how viewers react to it in the weeks to come.