6 Things We Hope the New ‘His Dark Materials’ TV Series Will Get Right

Posted on November 4, 2015 by

91ucIYlekNLThe BBC announced this week that it’s producing an initial eight-part TV adaptation of Philip Pullman’s bestselling trilogy His Dark Materials.

This isn’t the first adaption of Pullman’s series, though — the 2007 film adaptation of The Golden Compass was considered a disaster by both critics and fans. However, we do have higher hopes for this new BBC adaptation.

Pullman said he’s “delighted at the prospect of a television version of His Dark Materials,” and has praised producer Jane Tranter in particular, saying that her “experience, imagination, and drive are second to none.”

Tranter is a self-confessed fan of Pullman’s series, but even more promising is her experience: Tranter and her production partner Julie Gardner made their names on the 2005 resurrection of Doctor Who.

At the very least, His Dark Materials is in good hands, and we’re excited. Here are six things we hope to see in the upcoming BBC TV series.


1. The TV series can explore the story and themes over a longer period of time.

The eight-part series is just the beginning — Tranter said they will have “many episodes and seasons.” The film had to cram many characters, situations, and themes into two hours, but the series will have several hours to explore the books in depth.


2. The new format may allow it to go even darker.

Photo by Laurie Sparham/newline.wireimage.com

Photo by Laurie Sparham/newline.wireimage.com

The film adaptation shied away from the darker aspects of the books, but the we know the BBC isn’t scared of showing something that’s a little bit more complex — both in terms of the story itself and the morals attached to it. With more time to explain the darker themes of the books, they won’t get diminished.


3. The religious undertones found in the book could be reinstated.

His Dark Materials is based on John Milton’s Paradise Lost and offers a strong critique of the corruption within organized religion. The film adaptation was faced with threats of boycotts if it were to remain true to the book, and so those religious elements were toned down in the movie. However, the BBC may be able to explore those themes more thoroughly.


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4. We could see A-list casting.


One of the things the film adaptation got right was the casting — Nicole Kidman made a great Mrs. Coulter! However, TV series also attract a much better standard of actors than they did in the past, so we can expect some pretty good performances from both A-list and up-and-coming actors.


5. The complexity of the characters can be fully explored.

For example, The Golden Compass film omitted Lord Asriel’s most shocking act, and portrayed Mrs. Coulter as a straightforward villain. In the books, they both do terrible things, but neither are purely evil.


6. Finally, it could be a truly epic TV series.


We’re talking Game of Thrones-level epicness. While the film didn’t have the time to fully appreciate the grandeur of Pullman’s dimension-hopping story, the TV adaptation may have the chops to make us forget all about the movie.

What are you looking forward to in the new His Dark Materials adaptation?


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