AMC
James Hibberd
July 16, 2012 AT 07:02 PM EDT

We are so not surprised: AMC’s Breaking Bad returned to record premiere ratings Sunday night.

The fifth season debut magnetically drew 2.9 million viewers, up 14 percent from last year’s debut and matching last year’s finale. The show also had a 34 percent boost in the adult demo, and delivered 3.5 million viewers total including its encore. (Yes, last night’s keyword was “magnets,” next week’s is … “franch“).

Breaking Bad has had a remarkable run. Though the acclaimed drama has never been a huge performer, the show has managed to grow its audience every season. That doesn’t normally happen for heavily serialized shows, which typically peak in their first few years. Here’s Ken Tucker’s take on last night’s premiere and here’s Dan Snierson’s interview with creator Vince Gilligan and the cast.

Breaking Bad full-season averages over the years:

Season one series average: 1.2 million total viewers

Season two series average: 1.3 million total viewers – up 6%

Season three series average: 1.5 million total viewers – up 17%

Season four series average: 1.9 million total viewers – up 23%

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