Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4/5
His Dark Materials is one of those fantasy series that many people will be aware of as one of the must-read fantasy epics. The Golden Compass released way back in 2007 and was passable to say the least, and it seemed a faithful adaptation for Philip Pullman’s novels would never see the light of day on the big screen. And in a way, we were right.
When BBC and HBO announced they were going to co-produce the series, what ensued was a relatively faithful retelling of the book events, without steering an IP into murky waters and annoying loyal fans.
Season 3 then is a pretty faithful adaptation for the most part, and it adopts a lot of the hallmarks that made the first two seasons so enjoyable. Of course, die-hard book fans are likely to find some changes that aren’t quite right – especially a particular battle late on – which is completely understandable. Despite that though, this third season adopts a decent tone and vibe throughout, building up to a big fight at the end.
Before we reach that point though, this third season takes its sweet time to get going, making the decisions for HBO to release two episodes a week (and BBC just to throw the whole lot on iPlayer) all the more understandable. It’s something that’s especially noticeable given for this review I binged the last 4 back to back rather than waiting every week with the first set. The viewing experience is much better as a binge, so it may be worth holding out and waiting for all of this to release at once.
For those unaware, the tale here sees Lyra and Will thrust right into the thick of the drama, as Asriel intends to call out the Angelic Authority figure, Metatron. He intends to wage war on this ethereal being and bring as many races to his side as possible.
While this is going on, Lyra unwittingly finds herself thrust into fulfilling her destiny, heading off on a perilous quest after being in the company of Mrs Coulter, who really grows into becoming a much more intriguing and rounded character this year.
The story builds up to a dramatic final few chapters that bow this one out on a high, rounding out all plot points and doing a decent job of ending Lyra and Will’s stories on a somber note.
I must confess it’s been a long while since I’ve read the books so if there are major deviations I haven’t mentioned here, do feel free to highlight those in our finale recap! For the most part though, the tale does come to the same conclusion as the books, and there’s a good ending for Lyra and Will that feels poetic and will likely tug at the heartstrings.
It’s not perfect and in many ways His Dark Materials does suffer from the length of time we’ve had to wait between seasons for this final chapter. Lyra and Will’s journey comes to a suitably dramatic and poignant conclusion, and there’s enough here to enjoy this slice of fantasy, even if it’s not likely to blow you away.
Verdict - 7.5/10