His Dark Materials S1-2
IMDb rating: 8.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 83%Watch full episodes now
Fans of fantasy fiction will be familiar with Philip Pullman’s magnificent trilogy of novels called His Dark Materials. A movie based on the first book The Golden Compass came out in 2007, but it didn’t live up to expectations. Now there’s a series brought to us by HBO and now streaming on Showmax.
In case you haven’t read His Dark Materials, here’s some basic background to fully prepare you to enter the world of the Magisterium.
Everything starts with Lyra, a very brave teenage girl from another magical world who embarks on a quest to search for a kidnapped friend. Her journey will take her through many different worlds, with magic present in them all, in her journey north to solve a very big secret.
You’ll meet her explorer uncle Asriel, the adventurer and “aeronaut” Lee Scoresby, a courageous boy named Will Parry, and a score of extraordinary beings ranging from witches to an armoured polar bear. And there’s also an airship!
In this story, all humans have talking animal companions called daemons. Everybody’s animal is different and, in the simplest explanation, is the outer manifestation of that person.
In Lyra’s search for her kidnapped friend she will uncover a sinister plot involving stolen children. You will hear and see something called an alethiometer, an ancient device – of which there are only a few and no more can be built – that is basically a magical symbol reader. Lastly, there is a mysterious particle called Dust. Don’t worry – you don’t need to know what any of these things mean before you start watching.
The joy of His Dark Materials for novices will be in figuring out how everything fits together, and for fans of the books, it will be in seeing Pullman’s incredibly detailed worlds brought to life.
Season 2 begins after Lord Asriel has opened a bridge to a new world. There, in a strange and mysterious abandoned city, Lyra meets Will, a boy from our world who is also running from a troubled past. Lyra and Will learn their destinies are tied to reuniting Will with his father but find their path is constantly thwarted as a war begins to brew around them. Meanwhile, Mrs Coulter searches for Lyra, determined to bring her home by any means necessary.
The epic fantasy’s cast includes child stars Dafne Keen (Logan) and Amir Wilson as Lyra and Will, supported by Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson (The Affair, Luther) and Oscar nominee Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton). His Dark Materials has an 80% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with Slate calling it “Proof that TV is now the best medium for bringing epic literary fantasy to the screen.”
The whole of Season 1 is available to binge-watch on Showmax, where new episodes of Season 2 land every Tuesday from 17 November 2020.