If you are a fan of Philip Pullman's books, if you enjoy losing yourself in fantasy worlds, or if you simply want a series you know will survive more than one season, you might just find what you are looking for in His Dark Materials. Here's everything we know so far, including its release date on HBO and BBC, along with the plot (without spoilers), and news about Season 2.
What is His Dark Materials?
His Dark Materials is an epic trilogy by Pullman. The trilogy includes Northern Lights (published as The Golden Compass in North America, 1995), The Subtle Knife (1997), and The Amber Spyglass (2000). These highly awarded books having received the Carnegie Medal in 1995, the 2001 Whitbread Book of the Year, and ranked third on the BBC's The Big Read poll in 2003. Suffice it to say, they have been a favorite of many for over two decades.
The books — and the TV show — starts off with Northern Lights/The Golden Compass following the story of Lyra Belacqua (played by Dafne Keen, Logan) As Philip Pullman's own words in the blurb on the back cover can't be beat, "Lyra and her animal dæmon live half-wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. But the destiny that has awaited her since birth takes her on a dangerous journey to the frozen North in search of a kidnapped friend. It is a journey that will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world."
That world in which Lyra lives has an, English, Victorian era aesthetic filled with steampunk and magic references. But, as director Otto Bathurst has explained, some elements have been changed from what they were in the books to give the series a more modern feel.
Don't worry too much, from what we have seen in the HBO preview, the creative license taken does not appear to have detracted from the feel or the overarching theme of the books — resistance to authority.
Where will I be able to watch His Dark Materials?
His Dark Materials will air both on the BBC in the UK and on HBO in the United States, which will be the international distributor.
When will His Dark Materials first air on HBO and BBC?
The series will debut on the BBC on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. HBO will then have its turn on Monday, Nov. 4.
It's not TV — at least that's what they say
Even with the end of Game of Thrones, there's still more than enough quality shows on HBO to easily justify a subscription. Plus it's available pretty much everywhere.
This is not an attack on the church.
In 2007 The Golden Compass, a film based on Northern Lights, hit theaters. This big-budget film ($180 million) was hoping to be the next major fantasy trilogy following the success of* Lord of the Rings*. The film was considered a flop in the United States, however, only grossing $70 million. Yet, overseas it was a major success with over $300 million in earnings. On Oct. 5, 2007, two days before the film's opening, the Catholic League kicked off its campaign against The Golden Compass. Claims were made that Philip Pullman's books were trying to sell atheism to children, and the League decided to head a two-month protest against the film as well as book sales.
Knowing that this was the reaction not all that long ago, it was safe to assume there would still be questions and assumptions made with this new adaptation. And Jane Tranter, an Executive Producer of the series, welcomes the conversation. She stated during the San Diego Comic-Con His Dark Materials panel, "It's better to have a conversation that's on the table, rather than a lot of assumptions. Philip Pullman isn't attacking belief or faith or the church per se, he's attacking a particular form of control where there's a deliberate attempt to withhold information and keep people in the dark and not allow ideas to be free. It's not personified by an autocratic government or church, it's personified by the Magistarium (in the books and series), it's not personified by any church in our world."
What was this about season 2?
Before the first season of His Dark Materials has even aired its first episode, the series was pre-emptively renewed in September 2018 by the BBC. It seems that this show will not follow the same fate of the previous film.
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