His Dark Materials (TV series)

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His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials TV Title Card.png
Genre
Based onHis Dark Materials
by Philip Pullman
Written byJack Thorne
Starring
ComposerLorne Balfe
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes12 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
ProducerLaurie Borg
CinematographyJustin Brown
Editors
  • Niven Howie
  • Nick Arthurs
  • Dan Roberts
  • Chris Gill
  • David Fisher
Production companies
Distributor
Release
Original network
  • BBC One (United Kingdom)
  • HBO (United States)
Picture format16:9 UHD
Original release3 November 2019 (2019-11-03) –
present (present)
External links
Website
Production website

His Dark Materials is a fantasy drama television series based on the novel series of the same name by Philip Pullman. It is produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Productions, for BBC One and HBO, with the latter handling international distribution.[1]

The eight-episode first series premiered on 3 November 2019 on BBC One in the United Kingdom and on 4 November on HBO in the United States and other markets. Before the series premiered, His Dark Materials was renewed for a second series of seven episodes, which premiered on 8 November 2020 in the United Kingdom, and 16 November 2020 in the United States.

Premise[edit]

His Dark Materials is set in a multi-world reality, with the action moving from one world to another. The story begins in an alternative world where all humans have animal companions called daemons, which are manifestations of the human soul. The series follows the life of a young girl named Lyra who is an orphan living with the scholars at Jordan College, Oxford. As in Pullman's novel, Lyra discovers a dangerous secret that involves Lord Asriel and Marisa Coulter. In her search for a missing friend, Lyra also uncovers a series of kidnappings and its link to a mysterious substance called Dust, which leads her on a journey of epic proportions and ultimately to other worlds. A witches' prophecy links Lyra's destiny to Will, a teenager from our world, who is himself being pursued by mysterious figures connected to his father.

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Featured[edit]

The following actors are credited in the opening titles, but only appear in up to two episodes.

Voice cast[edit]

Additionally, lead puppeteer Brian Fisher provides the uncredited vocalisations for Mrs Coulter's monkey daemon.[10]

Recurring[edit]

  • Simon Manyonda as Benjamin de Ruyter (series 1)
  • Geoff Bell as Jack Verhoeven (series 1)
  • Tyler Howitt as Billy Costa, a Gyptian boy captured by the Gobblers and Ma Costa's younger son. (series 1)
  • Mat Fraser as Raymond van Gerrit (series 1)
  • Ian Peck as Cardinal Sturrock (series 1–2), the head of the Magisterium.
  • David Langham as Father Garret[2]
  • Robert Emms as Thomas,[12] an agent working for Boreal who spies on Will's family. (series 1)
  • Morfydd Clark as Sister Clara[5][13] (series 1)
  • Frank Bourke as Fra Pavel,[14] a representative and alethiometrist of the Consistorial Court of Discipline.
  • Jamie Wilkes as Inspector Walters, "the pale-faced man" and an associate of Boreal and Thomas.
  • Omid Djalili as Dr Martin Lanselius,[11][15] a companion of Lord Asriel who is the son of a witch.
  • Ray Fearon as Mr Hanway,[5][2] Will's school boxing coach.
  • Bella Ramsey as Angelica, a girl living in Cittàgazze. (series 2–present)
  • Ella Schrey-Yeats as Paola, a girl living in Cittàgazze. (series 2–present)[16]
  • Sasha Frost as Reina Miti (series 2–present)[17]
  • Lewis MacDougall as Tullio (series 2)[16]

Guest[edit]

Episodes[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired (UK)Ave. UK viewers
(millions)
Ave. US viewers
(millions)
First airedLast aired
183 November 2019 (2019-11-03)22 December 2019 (2019-12-22)7.0630.423
27[18]8 November 2020 (2020-11-08)20 December 2020 (2020-12-20)[19]TBATBA

Series 1 (2019)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date Viewers
(millions)
11"Lyra's Jordan"Tom HooperJack Thorne3 November 2019 (2019-11-03) (UK)9.723 (UK)[20]
4 November 2019 (2019-11-04) (US)0.424 (US)[21]
Young Lyra Belacqua is raised as a ward of Jordan College in Oxford. Her closest friends are her daemon Pantalaimon (nicknamed Pan) and a servant boy named Roger Parslow. Lyra admires her uncle, Lord Asriel, a polar explorer whose research into Dust and parallel worlds are regarded as heretical by the ruling Magisterium. Lyra saves Asriel from being poisoned by the Master of Jordan College, who foresees Lyra's future importance through an alethiometer, an instrument that is only one of six ever made. After Asriel leaves on another polar expedition, the Master arranges for Lyra to stay with Marisa Coulter, also an explorer who offers to groom Lyra as her protégée in London and promises to search for Roger. Meanwhile, the mysterious "Gobblers" have kidnapped a Gyptian boy named Billy Costa and later kidnap Roger. The Master gives Lyra the alethiometer that belongs to her uncle, revealing that it tells the truth and is for Lyra's protection. He says she must figure out how to use it and warns her to tell no one that she has it, including Mrs Coulter. Lyra accompanies Mrs Coulter to London in the hope of finding Roger. Meanwhile, the Gyptians pursue the Gobblers to London.
22"The Idea of North"Tom Hooper[a]Jack Thorne10 November 2019 (2019-11-10) (UK)7.708 (UK)[20]
11 November 2019 (2019-11-11) (US)0.369 (US)[22]
Lyra settles into Mrs Coulter's luxurious London apartment, assured that her benefactress is actively searching for Roger. The Gyptians' attempt to rescue the missing children fails. Back at Oxford, the Master of Jordan College denies Lord Boreal, a Consistorial Court priest, access to what is believed to be Stanislaus Grumman's decapitated head, recently found in the north by Asriel. Boreal travels through a portal to an alternate Oxford where he hires the mercenary Thomas to find Grumman. Lyra and Pan grow wary of Mrs Coulter's monkey daemon and her close ties to the Magisterium. Lyra is caught eavesdropping on Mrs Coulter and Father MacPhail. Mrs Coulter orders her daemon to attack Pan before inadvertently revealing that Lord Asriel is Lyra's father. Unknown to Lyra, Mrs Coulter visits Roger, Billy, and the other kidnapped children, saying they are going on an adventure to "the North". While she is away, Lyra discovers that Mrs Coulter is involved with the General Oblation Board of London (GOB). During a party at the apartment, journalist Adele Starminster confirms to Lyra that the Oblation Board is known as the Gobblers, prompting Lyra and Pan to flee with the alethiometer. Boreal later crushes Adele's daemon, killing her as well. Shortly after, Lyra and Pan are captured by a Gobbler.
33"The Spies"Dawn Shadforth[a]Jack Thorne17 November 2019 (2019-11-17) (UK)7.216 (UK)[20]
18 November 2019 (2019-11-18) (US)0.348 (US)[23]
Billy's older brother, Tony Costa, and his friend, Benjamin, rescue Lyra and Pan from the Gobblers and bring her to the Gyptians' camp. Lyra accepts their protection, and also agrees to help them find Roger and the other missing children. Following a Magisterium raid on Jordan College, Mrs Coulter learns that Lyra has an alethiometer and sends two robotic "spy-flies" to track her. Boreal crosses back to the alternate world, where Thomas informs him that Grumman is an explorer from his world named John Parry. Thomas also reveals that Parry has a wife and child in that world. Boreal hires another man to find them. Ma Costa reveals that Mrs Coulter is Lyra's mother through an affair with Asriel. Asriel then killed Mrs Coulter's husband in a fight after he tried to take revenge on Asriel, and hid Lyra at Jordan College. Lyra helps the Gyptian king, John Faa, to persuade the others to travel North and find the captive children. Tony and Benjamin raid Mrs Coulter's apartment, finding a list of missing children including Billy Costa. The boys are discovered; Tony narrowly escapes but Benjamin deliberately falls down the lift shaft, killing himself, to avoid being captured. Lyra discovers she intuitively can read the alethiometer, which tells her Benjamin is dead, before she and Pan are attacked by the spy-flies. Farder Coram captures one spy-fly, but the other escapes and returns to Mrs Coulter, divulging Lyra's location.
44"Armour"Otto BathurstJack Thorne24 November 2019 (2019-11-24) (UK)6.876 (UK)[20]
25 November 2019 (2019-11-25) (US)0.396 (US)[24]
Texan aeronaut Lee Scoresby and his daemon Hester travel to Trollesund in the Far North seeking Iorek Byrnison, a disgraced armoured bear. Trollesund's Magisterium citizens stole his armour several years earlier, forcing him to work as an indentured labourer. Lyra and the Gyptians also sail to Trollesund to search for the kidnapped children. Farder Coram contacts his former lover, a witch named Serafina Pekkala; her daemon, Kaisa, promises that Serafina will help the Gyptians. Though the Gyptian elders believe Iorek untrustworthy, Lyra and Pan join forces with Scoresby and Hester to enlist Iorek's help in finding the kidnapped children. With Lyra's assistance, Iorek recovers his armour locked inside a Magisterium church. Iorek, Scoresby and Hester join forces with Lyra and the Gyptians as they continue travelling north. Meanwhile, a Magisterium priest attempts to replace Mrs Coulter as head of the Gobblers with Father MacPhail; however, she blackmails him by revealing that Lord Asriel is being held prisoner by Iofur Raknison, the king of the armoured bears. She offers to give Asriel to the Magisterium in exchange for continuing her experiments and asking a question of the alethiometer ("Who is Lyra Belacqua?"). Travelling north, she meets with Iofur, offering him a baptism and induction into the Magisterium in exchange for working with her.
55"The Lost Boy"Otto Bathurst[a]Jack Thorne1 December 2019 (2019-12-01) (UK)6.688 (UK)[20]
2 December 2019 (2019-12-02) (US)0.467 (US)[25]
Lyra and the Gyptians travel farther north with Scoresby and Iorek to seek the kidnapped children. The alethiometer signals Lyra to go to a nearby fishing village; Faa reluctantly allows her to go after Iorek agrees to take her. In an alternate world, Will Parry looks after his mentally ill mother, Elaine, while attending high school. They are stalked by Thomas and Boreal, who are seeking information about Will's father, John Parry. Elaine gives Will his father's letters, explaining his disappearance. Boreal determines that John has been travelling between worlds ever since his disappearance thirteen years earlier; evidence could be found in Will's home. Farder Coram meets with Serafina Pekkala to discuss the other worlds and a coming war. Lyra and Iorek arrive at the fishing village and find Billy Costa, who has been surgically separated from his daemon. They return Billy to his family, but he dies soon after. A Samoyed raiding party capture Lyra and bring her to Bolvangar, the Gobblers' base.
66"The Daemon-Cages"Euros Lyn[a]Jack Thorne8 December 2019 (2019-12-08) (UK)6.357 (UK)[20]
9 December 2019 (2019-12-09) (US)0.393 (US)[26]
Lyra, posing as "Lizzie", mingles with the captive children at Bolvangar and finds Roger. She learns that the Gobblers are using an experimental procedure called intercision to surgically sever the children from their daemons. Mrs Coulter later visits Bolvangar and, discovering that Lyra and Pan are about to undergo an intercision, halts it. Mrs Coulter attempts to persuade Lyra to join her, claiming Dust is the source of sin and that all adults are "infected" by it. She attempts to get the alethiometer from Lyra, but Lyra tricks her and attacks her with the captured spy-fly. Lyra escapes and destroys the intercision machine and the base's generator. The children are rescued by the Gyptians, Iorek, Scoresby and Serafina Pekkala, who kill the scientists and mercenaries, although Mrs Coulter escapes. The Gyptians return south with the rescued children, while Lyra, Roger and their daemons travel north with Scoresby and Iorek in the hot-air balloon to reach Lord Asriel on Svalbard. However, flying bat-like monsters called cliff-ghasts attack them, and Lyra falls from the airship. Meanwhile, Will Parry reads his father's letters as Thomas and another mercenary spy on him.
77"The Fight to the Death"Jamie Childs[a]Jack Thorne15 December 2019 (2019-12-15) (UK)6.073 (UK)[20]
16 December 2019 (2019-12-16) (US)0.485 (US)[27]
Lyra survives the fall, but is captured by an armoured bear and taken to Iofur Raknison's palace on Svalbard. She convinces Iofur that she is Iorek's artificial daemon, created by scientists at Bolvangar, and manipulates Iofur into fighting Iorek in single combat, with her as the prize. Despite being badly wounded in the fight, Iorek defeats and kills Iofur, reclaiming his rightful place as king of the bears. He reunites Lyra with Roger and they travel to Asriel's laboratory. Meanwhile, Mrs Coulter, Father MacPhail, and the Magisterium's soldiers head for Svalbard to find and kill Asriel. Elsewhere, Scoresby and Hester have crash-landed. Serafina arrives and tells them that the others are safe, but Lyra needs help. Lyra, Roger and Iorek climb into the Svalbard mountains and reach Asriel's laboratory. Lyra and Asriel are reunited, though her arrival initially distresses Asriel. Meanwhile, Boreal crosses back to the alternate world and visits Elaine Parry, who resists sharing information about her husband. Will and Elaine return home after Boreal's mercenary has broken into the house. Suspecting that someone may still be there, Will takes his mother to a neighbour's house and returns later to retrieve his father's letters. When Thomas and the Pale-Face Man come back, Will kills Thomas in self-defence, then flees.
88"Betrayal"Jamie Childs[a]Jack Thorne22 December 2019 (2019-12-22) (UK)5.865 (UK)[20]
23 December 2019 (2019-12-23) (US)0.502 (US)[28]
At Svalbard, Lord Asriel informs Lyra about his research into Dust and parallel worlds, explaining that the Magisterium is frightened by his research since they regard Dust as the source of human sin. Back in the other world, Lord Boreal has the Pale-Faced Man continue searching for Will, and has him listed as missing for the police. Later, Asriel takes Roger to a point near the Aurora Borealis, intending to separate him from his daemon in order to create a bridge into another world. Learning Roger is in danger, Lyra and Pan pursue him with King Iorek and the armoured bears. Mrs Coulter and the Magisterium military catch up in a fleet of airships, resulting in a battle with Iorek's bears. Before Lyra can reach the hilltop, Lord Asriel separates Roger from his daemon, killing him but causing an explosion that creates the bridge to the other world. Mrs Coulter arrives and Asriel tries and fails to persuade her to accompany him and challenge the Authority. Pan tells Lyra he believes dust is not bad as they have been told. She bids goodbye to Roger and crosses the bridge. Meanwhile, a fugitive Will discovers an entrance into another world.

Series 2 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date Viewers
(millions)
91"The City of Magpies"Jamie ChildsJack Thorne8 November 2020 (2020-11-08) (UK)5.661 (UK)[20]
16 November 2020 (2020-11-16) (US)0.227 (US)[29]
After stepping through the portal to another world, Lyra and Pantalaimon find themselves in the 'city in the sky' seen from the Aurora, called Cittàgazze. The pair meet Will Parry, who has been in the city for several days. Will, having never seen a dæmon, is startled by the talking Pan. He and Lyra learn that both their worlds have Oxfords. They run into some children who say the city has no adults. Spectres, ghostly nocturnal figures, steal peoples' souls when they have reached puberty. At the same time, Lee Scoresby meets with the witches, who are preparing for war. They task him with finding Stanislaus Grumman, an explorer who reportedly died in the North. Aboard a submarine, Mrs Coulter interrogates and tortures Katja Sirkka, a captured witch who partially reveals a prophecy surrounding a child. Another witch, Ruta Skadi, arrives and kills Katja, most of the submarine crew, and wounds Cardinal Sturrock before escaping. Later, Will experiences a vision of a knife and heads to the Tower of Angels at the city centre. A spectre appears behind him.
102"The Cave"Jamie ChildsJack Thorne and Francesca Gardiner15 November 2020 (2020-11-15) (UK)5.027 (UK)[20]
23 November 2020 (2020-11-23) (US)0.229 (US)[30]
In Will's Oxford, he goes to see his mother while Lyra heads for the natural history museum where she encounters Charles Latrom (Lord Boreal). The alethiometer directs Lyra to Mary Malone, an Oxford physicist who researches Dark Matter (Dust). Lyra shows Mary the alethiometer, and Mary tells Lyra about her research that similarly allows computer communication with Dust particles. Cardinal Sturrock dies, leaving Father McPhail as a possible successor. Dr. Lanselius, a witch's son sent as their peace envoy after Ruta Skati's attack, claims she acted alone. He is convicted of heresy and treason and imprisoned. Will visits his mother, then his grandparents, who he has never met. They ask him to find his father's letters, then attempt to report him to the authorities through Inspector Walters, though Will escapes. Lyra shows Will the alethiometer which has told her to help him. Mary connects Lyra to her computer. The particles react strongly, forming screen images that Lyra interprets. Mrs Coulter urges McPhail to take a bold action to increase his chance of becoming Cardinal. He sanctions bombing the witches' territories. Thorold, Asriel's jailed assistant, tells Mrs Coulter that Asriel had intended to fatally sever Lyra from Pan to open the bridge into the other world. When McPhail is chosen Cardinal, Mrs Coulter threatens blackmail to ensure his continual help in achieving her goals.
113"Theft"Leanne WelhamJack Thorne and Sarah Quintrell22 November 2020 (2020-11-22) (UK)4.700 (UK)[20]
30 November 2020 (2020-11-30) (US)0.234 (US)[31]
The witches vow retribution after the Magisterium destroys their lands. A mysterious figure whispers for Lee Scoresby to "return." Lyra sneaks back to Will's Oxford to meet with Mary Malone. When Inspector Walters, one of Lord Boreal's henchmen, confronts Lyra there, Mary helps her to flee. Once outside, Lyra encounters Charles Latrom (Lord Boreal), but after accepting a lift in his car, she discovers the alethiometer is missing from her backpack. Lee Scoresby, searching for Stanislaus Grumman, awakens to find his balloon has inexplicably flown to Yenisei, a town with an astronomical observatory. Dr. Haley, the scholar there, confirms that Grumman is alive and declares him to be a heretic. Haley, a Magisterium agent, attempts to shoot Lee. Lee kills Haley in self-defence and is arrested. In Cittàgazze, Will can see someone inside the tower. Searching for Lyra, Mrs. Coulter arrives in Yenisei and discovers Lee jailed there. He refuses to reveal Lyra's whereabouts to her. Mary continues her attempts to communicate with Dust. When Lord Boreal sends word that he has found Lyra, Mrs Coulter helps Lee escape, knowing he will search for Lyra and keep her safe. Serefina Pekkala's deamon, Kaisa, meets with Iorek to discuss Lyra and the prophecy. Meanwhile, Lyra and Will confront Lord Boreal, demanding the alethiometer. He says he knows their real identities and Lyra then recognizes him from Mrs. Coulter's party. He offers to return the alethiometer if they bring him a knife hidden in the Tower of the Angels in Cittagàzze.
124"Tower of the Angels"Leanne WelhamJack Thorne and Namsi Khan29 November 2020 (2020-11-29) (UK)TBD (UK)
7 December 2020 (2020-12-07) (US)[32]TBD (US)
Lee and Hester meet a shaman named Jopari and his daemon, Sayan Kötör. Jopari confirms he is Grumman and that he is from another world where he left a son, Will. Grumman tells Lee about the Subtle Knife, Æsahættr, and explains that he must find the bearer of the knife and bring them to Asriel. Lyra and Will ascend the Tower of the Angels in Cittàgazze where they meet an old man named Giacomo Paradisi, who is the bearer of the knife they seek. A young man has stolen the knife and Will fights him. Will takes the knife from him, but loses two fingers in the fight. Paradisi tells Will that the fingers are the sign that he is the next bearer and explains that the knife can cut portals between worlds. After Lyra and Will leave, Paradisi commits suicide to prevent the spectres from taking him. Later on, the knife thief is attacked by spectres. Mary uses the Cave to communicate with the Dust, which tells her they are angels. Lord Boreal meets Mrs. Coulter and tells her about the portals, the other worlds and the quest he sent Lyra on. Together they traverse to the alternative Oxford via Cittàgazze, where Mrs Coulter spots a spectre. In the witches' territories, Serafina Pekkala tells Ruta Skadi that Lyra went through the portal Asriel created. They attack the Magisterium airships guarding it and go through to find Lyra.
135"The Scholar"[34]Leanne WelhamFrancesca Gardiner6 December 2020 (2020-12-06) (UK)[33]TBD (UK)
14 December 2020 (2020-12-14) (US)[32]TBD (US)
146"Malice"[32]Jamie ChildsJack Thorne and Lydia Adetunji13 December 2020 (2020-12-13) (UK)[35]TBD (UK)
21 December 2020 (2020-12-21) (US)[32]TBD (US)
157"Æsahættr"[32]Jamie ChildsJack Thorne20 December 2020 (2020-12-20) (UK)[19]TBD (UK)
28 December 2020 (2020-12-28) (US)[32]TBD (US)

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The three His Dark Materials novels, written by Philip Pullman from 1995 to 2000, achieved critical and commercial success and were adapted into a 2007 feature film, The Golden Compass. The film was criticised by fans of the trilogy for the dilution of elements of the story that were critical of religion, as well as from some religious organisations for the source material's perceived anti-religious themes. The film underperformed at the box office, making any sequels unlikely.[36]

After several years, the rights reverted to Pullman. In November 2015, BBC One announced that it had commissioned a television adaptation of the trilogy, to be produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema.[37] The eight-part[38] adaptation had a planned premiere date in 2017. In April 2017 writer Jack Thorne told Radio Times that the series was still in pre-production. He said, "It's at an exciting point where we're just throwing things at the page and trying to work out what works and what doesn't", and that he wanted to ensure that they were being loyal to the books.[39] Director Otto Bathurst explained that some elements of the book and film had been changed to give the series a more modern feel, compared to the original's Victoriana fantasy.[40]

On 12 September 2018, HBO was announced as the co-producer and international distributor of the series.[41] On 10 October 2018, Miranda reported that he had wrapped up filming for his role.[42] On 14 December 2018, it was announced that filming for the first series was complete.[43]

Before the series premiered, it was renewed for a second series of eight episodes, which is primarily adapting the second book in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife.[44] Filming of the second season began before the premiere of the first season, which was considered "a necessary move considering the age of the show's young star".[45] While filming for series 2 was mostly completed before the COVID-19 pandemic, a standalone episode focusing on Lord Asriel was left unfinished. As a consequence the series ultimately only consisted of seven episodes, with James McAvoy appearing in a reduced capacity.[18]

Casting[edit]

Promotional image showing lead characters and locations

On 8 March 2018, it was announced that Dafne Keen had signed on to star in the series to play Lyra with director Tom Hooper signed on to direct. Lin-Manuel Miranda would star as Lee Scoresby.[46] On 8 June 2018, it was reported that James McAvoy, Clarke Peters, and Ruth Wilson had joined the cast.[47][48]

On 27 July 2018, the BBC and Bad Wolf revealed the cast and crew for the series.[49]

On 1 July 2020, it was revealed that Bella Ramsey had been cast in the role of Angelica. Additionally, Oliver Monaghan and I-Kay Agu would appear in the second season as the pair of angels Baruch and Balthamos.[50]

Music[edit]

On 14 August 2019, it was announced that Lorne Balfe was hired to score the series. Speaking about the job, Balfe stated that he "wanted to write a musical letter to the creators of the show," also mentioning that the series was a "mammoth task" and one of his biggest projects yet. Scoring primarily took place in St David's Hall in Cardiff, Wales with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. While the ethnic Bulgarian choir was recorded in Bulgaria with additional remote sessions taking place at the Synchron Scoring Stage in Vienna, Austria with the Synchron Stage Orchestra.[51] Also featured on the score are cellist Tina Guo, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, classical French horn player Sarah Willis, violinist Lindsey Stirling and recordist Richard Harvey.[52] Two soundtrack albums were released; a musical anthology with thematic pieces and an album containing all the cues used in the series. Silva Screen Records released the albums digitally on 3 November 2019 and 20 December 2019 respectively.[53][54]

Release[edit]

On 24 July 2019, it was announced that the series would premiere in the fourth quarter of 2019 in the United Kingdom and the United States.[55][56][57] On 12 September 2019, sources revealed that the series was set to premiere on 3 November 2019 on BBC One and the following night on HBO.[58]

In New Zealand, the series is broadcast by Sky TV and is available on streaming service Neon. The series began on 5 November 2019.[59][60] In Australia, the series is distributed by the cable and satellite television company Foxtel through their HBO output deal.[61]

The second series premiered on 8 November 2020 in the United Kingdom, and on 16 November 2020 in the United States.[62][63][64]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Series one has received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the first series has an approval rating of 80% based on reviews from 94 critics, with an average rating of 7.01/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "The daemon is in the details and while His Dark Materials' visual splendor and exceptional performances deftly capture the essence of Philip Pullman's seminal novels, it could use a little more magic."[65] On Metacritic, the series has a score of 69 out of 100 based on reviews from 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[66]

The second series also received positive reviews. Series two holds an approval rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 25 reviews, with an average rating of 6.87/10. The website's consensus reads: "His Dark Materials' chilly emotional core and imposing complexity is unlikely to win over the unconverted, but its sophomore season rewards the faithful with impeccable production values and cerebral thrills."[67] On Metacritic it has a score of 71 out of 100 based on 4 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[68]

Dan Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that "...this effort nails much of what makes the books pop, and both the special effects and a star-studded cast led by Dafne Keen and Ruth Wilson are in fine form." However he followed that by saying "What never fully worked for me in the four episodes [...] sent to critics is the necessary feeling of narrative and thematic momentum. It's vastly better than the movie, but neither fun nor smart enough to quite succeed."[69] Caroline Framke of Variety wrote: "Despite the rich complexities of the novel's world of daemons, power-hungry players and warring faiths, HBO's His Dark Materials feels like it could have been plucked from most any other fantasy epic out there."[70] Beth Elderkin of Gizmodo was critical of the show's inability to capture the connection between humans and daemons.[71]

Ben Lawrence of The Telegraph gave the first episode 4 out of 5 stars, calling it "a fine piece of drama, capturing the strangeness and childlike wonder of the books, but also their rigour and bite. This is intelligent populism writ large."[72] Huw Fullerton of the Radio Times gave the first episode a positive review: "While there is a slight element of table-setting in the series' first hour the appeal of the actors and setting are beguiling enough to pull you through all the exposition and explanation." Fullerton praised Wilson for her performance, saying she "nearly walks away with the whole series".[73] David Levesley of British GQ wrote that His Dark Materials as a whole illustrates the fundamental problem with remaking adaptations, writing "the execution doesn't feel far enough removed from the previous version to actually make for a significantly better product."[74]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2020 Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Aulo Licinio Won
British Academy Television Awards Best Costume Design Caroline McCall Nominated
Best Photography: Fiction Suzie Lavelle Nominated
Best Sound: Fiction Dillon Bennett, Jon Thomas, Gareth Bull and James Ridgeway Nominated
Best Special, Visual & Graphic Effects Framestore, Painting Practice, Real SFX and Russel Dodgson Won
Titles & Graphic Identity Elastic, Painting Practice Won
Satellite Awards Best Television Series – Genre His Dark Materials Nominated
Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode Russell Dodgson, James Whitlam, Shawn Hillier and Robert Harrington Nominated

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Additional direction by William McGregor

References[edit]

  1. ^ White, Peter. "BBC Unveils First-Look At Big-Budget Adaptation Of Philip Pullman's Fantasy Epic 'His Dark Materials'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 5 December 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "His Dark Materials". BBC Media Centre. 24 October 2019. Archived from the original on 24 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  3. ^ "BBC One - His Dark Materials - Lord Asriel". BBC Programmes. Archived from the original on 10 November 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  4. ^ Elderkin, Beth (8 June 2019). "His Dark Materials Has Found Its Will Parry, And He's Perfect". Gizmodo. Archived from the original on 16 November 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "His Dark Materials - Series 1 - Episode 5". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 10 November 2020. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Loose Ends - Jade Anouka, Sindhu Vee, Ben Hart, Raphael Rowe, Black Pumas, Lady Blackbird, Christopher Eccleston, Nikki Bedi". BBC Radio 4. 1 August 2020. Archived from the original on 28 September 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
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