Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 4/5
Last year’s adaptation of His Dark Materials was one of the bigger surprises to come from the TV calendar. After the hugely disappointing The Golden Compass, many looked warily at HBO and BBC’s collaborative effort and hoped for the best.
Thankfully, His Dark Materials delivered on all fronts to perfectly adapt Philip Pullman’s first book while blending elements of The Subtle Knife, delivering something true to the source material but with enough plot development to give its second season more of a foundation.
Those foundations are well set too as His Dark Materials moves into its second season. This time the story turns toward the main plotline of The Subtle Knife as both Lyra and Will go on the hunt for a mythical knife allegedly able to cut through worlds.
Backdropping this quest comes the growing war between The Magisterium and Lord Asriel’s forces. With Lyra’s Uncle whispered to be hopping across the various worlds, most of the action takes place in Cittagaze and our world, the latter introducing a few new players that are sure to become crucial moving into season 3.
To spoil much more would be a disservice to the show itself but suffice to say, a slightly slow opening paves way for some excellent fantasy action toward the latter periods of this 7 episode season.
The finale in particular features a few game-changing sacrifices and an almighty climax that leaves the door wide open for where this one may go next.
Both Lyra and Will are graced with some good character arcs this year, especially as they learn more about their roles in the prophecy we’ve heard so much about across these 2 seasons.
The excellent Mrs Coulter is every bit as maniacal as before, but this time there’s a bit more self-awareness on the part of the show creators, especially given how much screen-time she has. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though and by the end of the season it’s apparent she could be one of the key players moving into season 3.
Thankfully this one has been renewed so its likely we’ll get a definitive conclusion to this tale. That’s just as well too because when it comes to small screen adaptations of fantasy, His Dark Materials is definitely up there with one of the best.
The decent acting and storytelling combines beautifully with the world building and pacing, making for a wholly absorbing and satisfying watch. The show never outstays its welcome either and with only 7 episodes, this is a short, snappy, concise season of entertainment.
Much like the first, His Dark Materials delivers a satisfying slice of fantasy that certainly does the trilogy it’s based on justice.
The story is well written, leading to an amazing climax that leaves high-stakes in time for the final chapter. Whether this adaptation nails that remains to be seen but this second act is every bit as endearing and entertaining as the first.