Tuesday, November 17, 2020

What I’m Watching: His Dark Materials (Season Premiere)

His Dark Materials: Season 2, Episode 1 “The City of Magpies” (B+)

I was very excited when this show started last year – as I was when the 2007 film “The Golden Compass” was set to premiere – because I really liked the books when I read them as a teenager and I had high expectations. The first season got off to a strong start before becoming a bit less focused and interesting, and I think my enthusiasm was renewed first by a trailer I saw for season two and then by the extended “previously on” segment that made it feel like what I’ve always wanted it to be. The idea of the sky being open to a new world means that it’s something the Magisterium can no longer continue to deny as a reality, though they’re still trying to make only slow progress. Mrs. Coulter is asserting her usefulness, which she showed in her brutal interrogation of her witch captive, though ultimately it just led to the arrival of more witches and the deaths of a number of the higher-ups. Lee and Serafina are taking active steps to support Lyra even though she’s missing, and Mrs. Coulter wasn’t happy to hear her name mentioned as something more important that even her mother thought she was. I’m glad to see Lyra and Will together, learning about talking animals and how to make omelets while hearing frightening stories of Spectres and seeing them in action. Lyra doubting Will’s true intentions isn’t going to be productive, but at least it will show to her that he’s truly important to the whole picture.

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