His Dark Materials: Season 1 Reviews

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November 11, 2019
The inaugural instalment was slow, corny and bewildering. Much of its creakiness stemmed from the onerous weight of complicated backstory required for a sprawling saga that incorporates multiple realities and a dizzying abundance of gee-whiz conceits.
November 8, 2019
HDM is very exciting.
November 8, 2019
I'm afraid it all felt a bit like the televisual equivalent of eating your greens - like homework.
November 5, 2019
In the early going, it's hard to gauge whether this show can rise above "high production value adaptation of beloved property..." But hopefully future episodes will unfold a little more organically.
Full Review | Original Score: B
November 5, 2019
"Lyra's Jordan" demonstrates that while this new series is going to take certain liberties remixing and expanding the source material, it'll do so with a literacy around Pullman's philosophies.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
November 5, 2019
It trusts the bones of the story its telling, creating an effective if not necessarily breathtaking entry point into the world at hand.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
November 4, 2019
The adaptation is less than successful in conveying Pullman's motives and arguments, but it sure is charming.
November 4, 2019
It's a wonderful story, rendered with the liveliness-and the budget-Pullman's books deserve.
November 4, 2019
This is a beautiful, brooding vision of Pullman's universe, which retains the mix of childish wonder and darkness that make his books so beguiling to young adults.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
November 4, 2019
The whole thing tends to be a rollicking bore -- pretty to look at in terms of its production design, but too room-bound and talky to feel like an epic.
November 4, 2019
Even the most anal nitpicker would struggle to pick a fight with the inspired casting and lavish production values, especially Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter and Dafne Keen as Lyra, who put in the standout performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
November 4, 2019
Dafne Keen is a find, perfectly portraying that tricky period on the cusp of adolescence when you're desperate to grow up but a tiny bit afraid of it too. Lyra is a wonderful character, rule-breaking and brave, unaware that a great destiny awaits.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
November 4, 2019
So far though, "His Dark Materials" manages to conjure a spectacle (two words: armored bears) without burying the source's ideas.
November 4, 2019
Keen is as likable here as she was in superhero film "Logan," but in the few episodes made available for review, the series struggles to give Lyra a voice or any agency. Events happen to her, adults explain things and she goes along for the ride.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
November 4, 2019
Despite the new series being a BBC co-production with HBO, it looks so far as though these ideas will not be compromised this time round.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
November 1, 2019
Visually, it's Art Deco meets steampunk, with the airships and canal barges feeling a little less fresh than when this world first tumbled from Pullman's rich imagination; but his themes are ever-pertinent.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/10
November 1, 2019
What never fully worked for me in the four episodes, out of the eight-episode first season, sent to critics is the necessary feeling of narrative and thematic momentum. It's vastly better than the movie, but neither fun nor smart enough to quite succeed.
November 1, 2019
It's a good story, told with restraint and respect. Pity about the magic, though.
Full Review | Original Score: B
October 31, 2019
His Dark Materials' first episodes are a mixture of unabashedly gorgeous visuals, several strong performances, and writing that demonstrates time and again that it has no confidence in either of those things.
October 28, 2019
The series underlines the loss of creativity and boldness that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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