By Dave B.
HBO’s His Dark Materials takes place on an alternate version of Earth where people are connected to animals called daemons and the world is infused with an invisible substance called dust. England is ruled by a theocracy that ruthlessly suppresses all threats to its rule. A young orphan girl, Lyra, embarks on a dangerous journey to save her kidnapped friend and finds herself pursued by powerful foes, as unbeknownst to her, she is a child of prophecy destined to shake the foundations of her world.
There’s a lot to like about His Dark Materials. The world-building is good and the world itself is fascinating. I have no knowledge of the books that this show is based upon, but the idea of having your lifeforce linked to an animal that can’t stray far from your side is interesting. The show’s performances are pretty solid and visually the show is quite impressive with beautiful vistas and well-crafted computer generated animals populating every episode. At times, His Dark Materials is engaging and it can be easy to immerse oneself into its world.
But at other times, the show’s plot can be painfully slow. There’s no way to sugarcoat it: The show’s pacing is atrocious and it’s almost impossible for me to keep my full attention on any of the season’s eight, hour-long episodes. An interesting mystery can only do so much to make up for a plot that often feels like it is going nowhere.
It’s my hope that the second season of His Dark Materials will be a bit more lively than the this one is. That said, I do recommend this season of the show because despite its flaws, it does feel like it has some substance to it and frankly, I’m very interested in seeing what happens next! If alternate realities and hopping between worldlines is your thing, then give His Dark Materials a chance. Just be aware that this season is a slightly boring prelude to what I expect will be much better subsequent seasons.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.