His Dark Materials: Season 1 (2019)

SEASON:

Season 1
His Dark Materials

Critics Consensus

The daemon is in the details and while His Dark Materials visual splendor and exceptional performances deftly capture the essence of Philip Pullman's seminal novels, it could use a little more magic.

80%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 96

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1252

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Episodes

Air date: Nov 4, 2019

A brave young woman uncovers a sinister plot after her childhood friend is kidnapped by a secret organization.

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Air date: Nov 11, 2019

Lyra arrives to her new life in London, determined to find Roger with Mrs. Coulter's help; the Gyptians continue their search for the missing children and the elusive Gobblers.

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Air date: Nov 18, 2019

In a world similar to ours, but inhabited by witches, sapient polar bears and daemons, a brave young woman named Lyra (Dafne Keen) uncovers a sinister plot after her childhood friend is kidnapped by a secret organization.

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Air date: Nov 25, 2019

In a world similar to ours, but inhabited by witches, sapient polar bears and demons, a brave young woman named Lyra uncovers a sinister plot after her childhood friend is kidnapped by a secret organization.

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Air date: Dec 2, 2019

The alethiometer sends Lyra and Iorek on a new path, leading to a shocking but vital clue.

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Air date: Dec 9, 2019

Lyra discovers the horrific truth behind the Gobbler's activities in the North. She must use all her wits to help free those around her and avoid suffering a terrible fate.

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Air date: Dec 16, 2019

Lyra must use her methods of deception to outwit a formidable foe.

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Air date: Dec 23, 2019

Season 1 finale. As the Magisterium closes in, Lyra assists Asriel's efforts, but at great personal cost.

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His Dark Materials: Season 1 Videos

His Dark Materials: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

An adaptation of Philip Pullman's acclaimed trilogy "His Dark Materials," considered a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction. The first series follows Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen), a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world. Lyra's search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children?and becomes a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. As she journeys through the worlds, including our own, Lyra meets a determined and courageous boy called Will. Together they encounter extraordinary beings and dangerous secrets, with the fate of both the living?and the dead?in their hands. A star-studded cast consists of James McAvoy as Lord Asriel Belacqua, Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby and Clarke Peters as The Master of Jordan College.

News & Interviews for His Dark Materials: Season 1

Critic Reviews for His Dark Materials Season 1

All Critics (96) | Top Critics (29)

For every exceptional scene, another is either too familiar or too meh.

Dec 6, 2019 | Full Review…

[Ruth] Wilson is one of those actors who can make you shiver even as she smiles. Plus, there's no one on this earth who looks better in a belted trench coat.

Dec 6, 2019 | Full Review…

It's a series that's not perfect and it isn't the adaptation of the books that we deserve, but it's good, and that's a start.

Nov 5, 2019 | Rating: B | Full Review…
Top Critic

His Dark Materials remains a world worth exploring, but whether you're comparing it to the source material or coming to it fresh, this series is weak tea.

Nov 4, 2019 | Full Review…

Proof that TV is now the best medium for bringing epic literary fantasy to the screen.

Nov 1, 2019 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It's really good in its accuracy, plotting and acting - but the first episode has so much set up.

Jul 15, 2020 | Full Review…
Top Critic

...the best version of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights (a.k.a. The Golden Compass) to exist in any form...and that includes the book

Aug 20, 2020 | Full Review…

While the debut season of His Dark Materials boasts exceptional visuals, it's hindered by problematic pacing and odd structural choices, resulting in a great-looking, but unnecessarily-elongated, adaptation of the first novel of the trilogy.

Aug 3, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

[Though] the visuals are on point, the writing isn't. Despite the elements at its disposal ... it's made to feel ordinary, especially the farther it gets from its fantasy trappings.

Jul 3, 2020 | Full Review…

His Dark Materials is a valiant effort that scrappily rises to the challenge, but only time will tell if it has the strength to go the distance and carry itself over the finish line.

Jun 25, 2020 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…

Much of the first hour of His Dark Materials is given over to world-building, and what a feast for the eyes this world is.

Jan 20, 2020 | Full Review…

It also lays the sentimentality on thick, finally using daemons correctly.

Nov 5, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for His Dark Materials: Season 1

  • 3d ago
    I really wanted to like this show. The books were terrific and it has a great cast. The problem is the writing. They jump right into the story with little background and no context. While the characters are passionate about their causes, we have no understanding of their motivation and it's difficult to care one way or another. They hop from one crisis to the next, introducing new people and places and we never really get to know them or their circumstances. I wish they'd spent more time on at least the main characters and less time advancing the story line. I'll probably watch the next season, but I'm not hopeful
  • 3d ago
    More detail in the story, but its boring blain, actually has made me fall asleep a few times. I liked the visuals in the first movie better (witches, air machine etc.) I also liked some of the actor picks better in the movie, like cowboy. The worst part for me was the polar bear fight, no ripped jaw or torn heart. It was lame....
  • Oct 08, 2020
    S1 of 'His Dark Materials' is enjoyable viewing. First and foremost, the special effects for this show are incredible. The animals and dæmons look insane, especially by television standards. That is the thing that I love most about this. The cinematography is also top notch. Cast-wise it's good. It's easy to see that Dafne Keen (Lyra) has serious talent, she is impressive for the majority here - at a few moments her performance isn't perfect, e.g. when finding out something in episode two, but I wouldn't expect her to be, definitely the best actor on display and she'll only improve. You may think I'm forgetting or ignoring James McAvoy (Asriel). Of course he is 'the' star but he hardly features, he's just barely in three episodes. For when we do see him, he is - obviously - terrific. Away from Keen and McAvoy, you also have Ruth Wilson (Marisa) and Anne-Marie Duff (Ma) involved - I've only recently become aware of those two, from 'Luther' and 'The Salisbury Poisonings' respectively, they are both good here. Elsewhere, James Cosmo (Farder), Lucian Msamati (John) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Lee) are enjoyable in their roles. Helen McCrory (Stelmaria) is in there too, but I didn't notice her until typing this review to be honest. I did find some of the pacing across the first four episodes rather off, there was a fair amount of times when I felt like it was dragging its heels. Thankfully, the second part of this eight-episode series is much better. The opening theme is superb, also. I look forward to catching season two.
  • Sep 18, 2020
    Spend your time on the books instead. Waited years for this. Sadly it felt like the approach taken was "we've got 8 hours for book 1 so this will automatically be good!" It isn't. Aside from Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter and the visual/production design the writing/script is a watered-down version of the source material. Key moments get watered down for prime-time whole-family BBC viewing. Lacking all the boldness, bite and originality of the books.
  • Sep 17, 2020
    Excellent adaptation overall, I'm quite happy to see Philip Pullman epic saga brought to life so faithfully ! Even the plot changes they have made, like the expansion of the role played by Lord Boreal compared to the books, add to the overall story rather than detract from it. Really looking forward to Season 2 and crossing my fingers they get the funding to finish the trilogy with a third season !
  • Aug 03, 2020
    I must confess I was just willing to watch the three first episodes, but, considering what I watched, it seemed an uninspired fantasy, with a positive point, which is the photography, but with boring characters, a dull narrative and a forced plot.
  • Jul 28, 2020
    Even though I haven't watched this film, but I will give a high rating for this drama series. Because I love Lin-Manuel ❤👍🏻
  • Jul 26, 2020
    Wonderful show, good ending
  • Jul 13, 2020
    The author of the original books, admittedly hates, the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis, and by extension God. His reason for writing the books is to destroy the notion of God in children, of which C.S. Lewis tried to do the opposite with his books, based on what he writes about Aslan in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Institutionalized religion is the evil institution that His Dark Materials is based on. The TV series does the same. This kind of material does not belong on TV.
  • Jun 21, 2020
    Since I saw the golden compass as a kid I've been looking forward for the sequel, now this new series brings a new concept that I loved. I have repeated the first season more than 3 times and I dont got bored of seeing it; because it has so many beautiful elements that , if you have read the books or not, they make you adore it. Season 1 is just the tip of the iceberg of the entire HDMs saga, so I hope it will continue like this since this project promises a lot. Of course, it needs to improve in some things such as writing and some visual effects, but overall it's a truly worthwhile series that deserves to be recognized and loved <3

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