The fact that there were actually some poor, lost souls who didn't tune into watch Viola Davis play a maniacal attorney/law professor on Thursday's premiere of How to Get Away With Murder initially took me by surprise, until this next bit of news surfaced. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the debut episode of How to Get Away With Murder broke a DVR record. It now holds the position as the "top freshman performer in the adults 18-49 demographic," and in addition to making me break into a sweat and tweet a ferociously happy, expletive-laden run-on sentence, it also made history. The show's DVR viewership increase was the largest in the history of ever. It's still early, but I'll go ahead and say this is a great indication of this show's potential.
Shouts out to those 18-49ers who DVRd How to Get Away With Murder as I imagine avoiding spoilers required more than a few expert maneuvering tactics. The show was covered extensively so waiting to view it and not having someone ruin the ending probably meant logging off all social media, not surfing the web and basically living a temporary hermit lifestyle until they were able to finally sit down and watch. But I'd bet there were a few people who had the show spoiled but still watched anyway. And based off the first episode, there are a couple of elements that explain what it is about How to Get Away With Murder that appeals so much to that prime demographic.
These fresh-faced newbies appeal to members of the younger viewing audience who aren't quite prepared for the challenges of adulthood, but they're launched head-first into it whether they're ready or not. The first episode saw the students competing to get the professor's attention, working in group projects with classmates they'd rather avoid, and walking into a classroom to a professor intimidating enough to make them nearly pee their pants. Luckily, the show adds a little bit of spice to their lives as they witness perjury, adultery, and cover up a professor's dirty deeds.
Older, post-college crowd
This portion of the audience can relate to the marriage/career aspect of the show. Not saying that this portion of the population has a penchant for extramarital affairs, inappropriate relationships with students and well, murder, but they can certainly understand the complications of the Keatings' marriage and Annalise's fervent determination to claw her way to the top of the career ladder by any means necessary.
How to Get Away with Murder airs Thursdays on ABC at 10 p.m. ET.