Pullman’s His Dark Materials premieres in 2019 on BBC One and HBO

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Phillip Pullman fans are finally getting to see a live-action television adaptation of His Dark Materials. Even though the series has yet to premiere, His Dark Materials has already been picked up for a second season.

His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials Promotional Poster. Image Credit: IMDb.com

Who Stars in the Series?

His Dark Materials will hit television screens on BBC One in the British Isles and HBO in these United States in 2019. The production, starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, Clarke Peters and Lin-Manuel Miranda, is based on the Phillip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy of the same title.

What is the Series About?

Lyra Belacqua (Keen) is a young orphan. She lives with the teachers at Jordan College, Oxford. Following the narrative seen in the source material, Lyra uncovers a dangerous secret Lord Asriel (McAvoy) and Mrs. Marisa Coulter (Wilson) are hiding. As the young girl digs for the truth, Lyra finds there have been a spate of kidnappings which are somehow linked to a substance called Dust.

While the world His Dark Materials is set in has similar characteristics to the real world, there are significant differences. It is an alternate world where people have animal companions. These companions, known as daemons, are a manifestation of the human soul. There are good and evil daemons.

As seen with a lot of adaptations, His Dark Materials is not completely faithful to the source material. A significant departure from the novels is that the setting will not reflect the original narrative’s Victoriana fantasy. Whether the fans of Pullman’s novels will find the modernisations made to the narrative a detriment remains uncertain.

Is there a Series Trailer?

What is the Series based on?

The series is based on Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials.  Beginning with the 1995 published Northern Lights, the His Dark Materials trilogy continues with The Subtle Knife and concludes in The Amber Spyglass. The second and concluding instalments of the trilogy hit bookstore shelves in 1997 and 2000, respectively.

The first book in the series, originally titled Northern Lights, was published in North America as The Golden Compass. In 2007, with a view to adapt the trilogy, there was a big screen adaptation of The Golden Compass. Because the film did not speak to a large enough audience for the production company’s liking, plans for adaptations of the second and third novels were abandoned.

The Golden Compass bombed at the box office, not as a result of the quality of the production, but because it did not resonate with a large enough audience.

Box office take is more of an indicator of how popular a film is with cinemagoers rather than its quality. Numerous now-classic films, inclusive of It’s a Wonderful Life, Blade Runner, The Shawshank Redemption, Citizen Kane and The Wizard of Oz, were financial disasters at the box office because of a lack of audience interest. These films, when released, were simply unpopular. Some people where actually before their time. People were not ready for either It’s a Wonderful Life or The Wizard of Oz.

Other Adaptations

BBC Radio 4 is well-known for adapting classic novels. Such adaptations include the works of Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

In 2003, the British radio station presented a three episode adaptation of His Dark Materials. The cast of the dramatisation, released by the BBC on CD and cassette format, includes Terence Stamp and Lulu Popplewell as Lord Asriel and Lyra, respectively.