The return of HBO’s True Detective with an all-new cast got off to strong start Sunday night.
The first episode of the new season of the anthology drama, which this time around stars Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams, delivered 3.2 million viewers—that’s higher than every previous episode of the show, except the first season’s finale.
Compared to the first breakout season, critics have largely dubbed the rather grim, California-set second season a disappointment, averaging 64 on Metacritic compared to 87 for the first season. (EW gave True Detective a B-grade.) Yet ratings-wise, True Detective was considered a safe bet to perform strong. The first season, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, launched in January 2014 as a critical darling, then gradually became a pop culture sensation. This time, True Detective is returning with relatively high awareness and taking over the Sunday anchor slot after weeks of promotion before HBO’s top-rated Game of Thrones.
HBO also debuted the series premiere of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s football comedy Ballers to a decent 2.2 million viewers, followed by the series premiere of political comedy The Brink, which stars Jack Black and Tim Robbins, to a less impressive 1.6 million.