HBO’s new series, ‘His Dark Materials’, based on the bestselling books by Philip Pullman, depict an alternate reality where magic and science coexist. James McAvoy portrays Lord Asriel, a high-ranking operative of The Church, an authoritative body. Over the years, Christians, particularly Catholics, have criticized Pullman’s depiction of The Church, which is believed to be a reason why the 2007 film adaptation ‘The Golden Compass’ tanked.
Perhaps hoping to avoid the same criticisms of ‘His Dark Materials’, at the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con, executive producer Jane Tranter stated:
“One of the great things about His Dark Materials is the conversations about religion. Philip Pullman in these books is not attacking belief, he’s not attacking faith, he’s not attacking the Church per se, he’s attacking control. And the idea that control can be twisted and used to [oppress people]. At any time it can be personified by an authoritarian church or organization, and in our series it’s personified by the Magisterium, but it’s not the equivalent of any church in our world.”
She further elaborated:
“He’s attacking a particular form of control, where there is a very deliberate attempt to withhold information, keep people in the dark, and not allow ideas and thinking to be free. …It doesn’t equate to any particular church or form of religion in our world. So we should be clear on that.”
Dafne Keen stars as young Lyra Belacqua, the show’s focus. Ruth Wilson portrays the show’s antagonist, “the cesspit of moral filth” and “the mother of all evil,” Marisa Coulter. Clarke Peters appears as The Master/Dr. Carne, while Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Lee Scoresby, who Miranda calls “the Han Solo of this story.”
‘His Dark Materials’ is a joint venture between HBO and BBC One. The first season consists of eight episodes, but a second season has already been ordered.