His Dark Materials is a fantasy television drama based on the novels by Philip Pullman. It was made by both BBC One and HBO and aired on the 3rd of November with 8 episodes. This TV show has an amazing cast with the likes of James McAvoy as Lord Asriel, Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua, Ruth Wilson as Marisa Coulter and James Cosmo as Farder Coram amongst others.
The premise of the show is that it’s set in a multi-world reality with the pursuit of a substance called Dust. In the main world where the story is set, every human being is born and bound to an animal companion it’s almost an extension of oneself and the manifestation of the human soul, they call them daemons. Once the child hits puberty their daemons settle as one form.
The story follows a girl named Lyra who was raised as an orphan by Scholars at the Jordan College in Oxford where she grew up with another orphan named Roger Parslow played by Lewin Floyed. Her inquisitive and adventurous nature led her to find out about her Uncle, Lord Asriel’s research on Dust.
This show does a fantastic job of fleshing out the characters and laying the universe and where it could take you over 8 episodes. The cinematography, score, and VFX are phenomenal and all work together so well. The audience finds themselves becoming immersed in this world and all the events that occur.
It’s a show where the main character is a child going through a journey to discover who she really is, it’s relatable and heartwarming, her tenacity and determination to get where she needs to be are admirable. She faces tough choices and deals with them with the guidance of her alethiometer, a golden truth-telling compass, she tackles the problems she faces them with wit, compassion, and maturity.
Lyras relationship with her Daemon provides a fresh take to the self-discovery genre and interesting way of portraying how humans find themselves and how their soul can be shown. Her daemon, Pan is such a treat to watch. Lyra has a way with almost every person she meets along her journey, her magnetism is hard to ignore and her natural ability of being able to read an alethiometer is fantastic and dare say heroic at times.
The show does have its dark and grounding themes and moments, whether it is questioning of the magisterium and their role in society or whether it’s the deep and heavy religious themes, it still somehow keeps it light and interesting so as to keep both adults and children interested and engaged. Whether the audience finds the aspect of having a daemon cool or whether they are left with a religious message or perhaps lack thereof, it achieves it in a flawless way.
This show definitely rights the wrongs that the movie did and uses the lore that Phillip Pullman creates in a better, more meaningful way, it does not shy away from the deep and heavy themes that the movie barely touched and allows the audience to delve into this world. The of how religion can be used to form authoritarian governments is explored from many points of view and gives the audience numerous perspectives to digest.
Each and every episode leaves you wanting more and keeps you on the edge of your seat. A special mention must be given to THE BEARS, and in particular, Lorek Byrnison who also goes through a journey of rediscovering himself alongside Lyra’s own journey.
Lyra’s longtime friend and orphan, Roger who grew up with her as a working kitchen boy in Jordan College also joins her journey but in an unexpected way, their friendship and love for each other is admirable and becomes an important catalyst for events that occur which shape who Lyra ultimately becomes.
The performances of every single actor in the show are stellar and their chemistry and interaction with each other make watching the show that much better, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s charismatic and charming character Lee Scorsby also makes for an amazing dynamic between Lyra, Roger, Lorek, and Lee.
Having an inspiring, tenacious and heroic young girl going through this journey and finding herself is admiring to see for young girls and having that representation in media is important. They also show a multilayered and complex female character with the way they portray Lyra’s mother Marisa Coulter, her justifications for her actions are based in her love for her daughter Lyra.
This show truly is a great and wonderful time for adults and children alike with so many different elements that keeps everyone waiting to see what happens next. Eight hearty episodes filled with adventure, emotion, and wonder.