How His Dark Materials Is Fantasy TV Heaven

His Dark Materials

For years, fans had waited for an adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series that was worthy of the name – a 2007 film effort disappointing most. Well, it looks like we’ve finally got it – and we might even have more than we bargainefor!



Airing Sundays at 8pm on BBC One, Virgin TV 108, His Dark Materials looks set to be your next fantasy obsession; a star-studded epic to savour. So what is it, exactly, that makes it so special? Well, read on…




There’s no point in beating around the bush here; the books rock. That means the showrunners of the series have some of the best source material they could possibly ask for – and they’ve clearly thought carefully just how they’re going to use it. Loyal to the epic tale so skilfully woven in the first novel, The Golden Compass, it’s the sort of compelling story guaranteed to keep you glued to the screen.





Any show looking to bring a legendary literary work to life is going to have to get their casting bang on; one misstep and the knives will be drawn! Hats off, then, to the powers that be here – because they’ve only gone and nailed it! Ruth Wilson, Clarke Peters, James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda; a host of our favourite talents are assembled here in what must rank amongst the most exciting acting line-ups in years. And that’s without even mentioning the true star of the show…





When your main character is around 11 years old, finding the right precocious girl for the job is an enviable task. But Dafne Keen – who you might have spotted alongside Hugh Jackman in Logan – is an inspired choice. Showing maturity far beyond her years, the 14 year old is an absolute revelation as Lyra Belacqua; we’d say she’s a talent worth keeping an eye on, but with this role it won’t be long until everybody’s watching!





It’s a simple fact that in this genre, great storytelling goes hand in hand with great ambition; massive worlds and spectacular special effects are part and parcel of fabulous fantasy. On that front, this delivers – and in spades! The whole thing is a treat for the senses; a vivid and visceral imagining of an eye-catching universe. It’s the type of show that prestige telly is all about; sit back and enjoy!





While written almost 25 years ago, the novel on which the first series of the show is based – Northern Lights – deals with an fundamentalist establishment, and the battle against their authoritarian control. Sound familiar?! The parallels between the story and the modern world are striking, with some commentators comparing Lyra to Greta Thunberg; whatever your perspective, there’s little doubt that the show has struck a chord in 2019.


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