If you had the misfortune of seeing the 2007 film version of The Golden Compass before you read the books, then I am truly sorry. The Golden Compass was the first book in Philip Pullman’s wildly imaginative, world bending trilogy known as His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass). In the vein of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, His Dark Materials touches on the fragile nature of innocence, spirituality and parallel universes. Pullman’s material is dense and not easily compacted to the 2 hour movie format. Sadly the movie did not live up to the task. Even casting Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman and Sir Ian McKellan couldn’t save this mess.
But fear not dear reader! BBC saves the day by announcing it has commissioned an 8 part mini-series based on Pullman’s books. BBC has a long history of stellar book adaptions. I remember seeing the 1988, 13 episode BBC version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as a kid and having my mind blown. Of course there’s the BBC adaption of Pride & Prejudice **swoon** and more recently the impressive adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s magical epic Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell just to name a few.
According to Variety, former BBC executives Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner will make the His Dark Materials series the flagship effort of their newly formed production company, Bad Wolf. (Those of you who get the Doctor Who reference get extra points.) Tranter and Gardner produced the new Doctor Who and described Bad Wolf as “HBO in the UK”. It sounds like Pullman’s opus is in very capable hands. We’ve seen what a world with a disappointing film adaptations looks like, now let’s see a world where we get television perfection.