His Dark Materials (TV Series; Season One)

*Minor spoilers coming your way should you continue…*

Since the TV series had been originally recommended, I was too curious not to watch it after finishing the book. Plus I needed something for my commutes and this seemed like a perfect fit. Initially, I was a bit hesitant to dive straight in, given how often the screen adaptation doesn’t really live up to the books. But putting these doubts and thoughts aside, I began to watch (with a little trepidation).

I was actually rather surprised at how true the show stayed to the book. Granted, some details had been changed but arguably this was mainly done to move the plot along rather than deviate completely from the books. Yes, some details had been changed in terms of how some of the plot points had been delivered and it wasn’t always clear why but this was somewhat minor. One thing I wished had been kept the same as the book was when Lyra escaped from the facility. It felt as if they had changed too much and enough credit wasn’t really given to Lyra as was in the books. Plus, a lot of that segment just was not properly explained as it should have been.

The casting was a bit mixed. Lyra’s personality had ben depicted pretty much perfectly whereas her appearance didn’t quite match up to the descriptions provided in the books. Admittedly, these were small details such as hair colour but still – it’s all in the details. Roger was portrayed exactly as I had imagined him to be and the same went for Lee and Ma Costa. The other characters were a little more on the hit and miss side which was a tad disappointing but to be expected. In all fairness, some of the characters had not been fully described in a lot of detail in the books, so I guess it just came down to a matter of interpretation.

The cinematography was absolutely stunning for some of the scenes especially of course when showing the North. From reading the book to watching it unfold on screen, my wanderlust definitely grew. I mean, let’s be honest, if I could hop on a plan right this second and go to Iceland, I wouldn’t even think twice about it. Too bad lockdown has other ideas.

I was a bit confused and a little taken aback that elements from the second book had started to seep in to the first season. Given that I hadn’t read The Subtle Knife before starting the series as I assumed that the first season would only cover elements from The Northern Lights, I was in two minds as to whether to continue as I didn’t want there to be spoilers for the second book. In short, there weren’t any major spoilers as far as I could tell. Although having said that, I’m still yet to pick up The Subtle Knife ( I am seriously behind on my reading as you can probably tell).

To put simply, I enjoyed the show and I feel it’s probably one of the fewer screen adaptations (The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games also falling in this category) that have stayed as true as possible to the books. As a stand alone, it was amazing and definitely worth a watch. Can’t wait for the next season – but first, need to read The Subtle Knife.

Saz

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