His Dark Materials Coming to HBO

Streaming on HBO continues to be exciting with the coming of the His Dark Materials series. The series premiers November 3, 2019, and promises a sweeping tale of magic, action, and intrigue. Frankly, I think that’s exactly the kind of series HBO needs in the absence of its mega hit, Game of Thrones. Before I go further, let’s take a look at the His Dark Materials trailer:

After Watching the Trailer…

…There are a few things I have to say. The first is that I’ve never read the source materials. The series is based off the “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman. That also goes for the 2007 film The Golden Compass, which is based off those books. Did the scenes with armored polar bears looked familiar? They did to me. I vaguely remember seeing the trailer for The Golden Compass back in the day, but that’s all I saw.

I’m glad I’m not familiar with any of the source material. Some hardcore fans of certain writers are disappointed with the movies based off those books. Having never read Pullman’s books, I’m free to appreciate HBO’s His Dark Materials on its own merits. If I like the series, I’ll probably read the trilogy. (When people say “the book is better than the movie,” they’re generally right.)

…Sheer Amount of On-Screen Talent

Seriously, this series looks like it sports an ensemble cast. James McAvoy (Split, X-Men) is probably one of the first stars you noticed. And there’s the incomparable Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton). Honestly, I don’t know if he’s “incomparable,” but he seems to be the it-boy in Hollywood right now. The performance I’m most eager to see is Ruth Wilson’s. Fans of Showtime’s The Affair (Me! Me!) will remember her amazing performance as the deeply troubled Alison Bailey.

In addition to the cast, there’s plenty of talent behind the camera. Tom Hooper is the director of this BBC television serial. After direction his first TV series, Quayside, in 1997, he’s gone on to direct several other TV series and movies. One of his many popular films is The King’s Speech (2010). Knowing that Hooper is in the director’s chair gives me a good feeling about His Dark Materials.

Other Reasons I Want to See His Dark Materials

…It’s too big to fail. Yes, I realize that I’ve probably doomed the show (for myself) by saying those famous last words. Just by watching the trailer, anyone can see that there is some serious production dollars behind this epic. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the fact that it has some co-funding from the BBC. That means there’s “plenty of money to do it right,” as my friend Stuart Sweet said. As much as it pains me to type these words, Stuart is probably right… but only about this.

There’s another reason I’m stoked about this series. It’s on HBO, which is owned by AT&T. As some of you might know, Solid Signal is an AT&T Preferred Dealer. This means watching His Dark Materials is like rooting for the home team for me. I have a feeling that it will rank right up there with some of my other favorite HBO shows such as Ballers, Game of Thrones, and True Detective.

Just One Thing…

…It jumped out at me while I watched the trailer. I couldn’t help but notice a Harry Potter vibe to the show. Both are/were predominantly British productions and both shows feature pre-teen protagonists in a strange world filled with magic and evil forces. In both cases, the hero is a “chosen one.” Harry was destined to defeat Voldemort, while the young lady in His Dark Materials is the only one who can operate a device called the “alethiometer.” I could go on but you get the idea.

Whether or not His Dark Materials is like Harry Potter doesn’t mean much to me. There are only so many plots in fiction, after all, and everything we’ve been watching for the last 20+ years (or more) has been done before by someone else. That doesn’t stop us from tuning in again and again, does it? Like I said earlier, I’m looking forward to giving this series a chance to succeed on its own merits. I hope you do too. Maybe we can discuss it in the comments section.