The 30 second preview for His Dark Materials was packed with more intrigue than 2007’s the Golden Compass film. Maybe that’s unfair, but for someone who read the books, the fact that this BBC series is opting for the longer format, and using a title that assures viewers it will tackle the whole plot from the trilogy, is a comforting thought.
Executively produced by the author of the series, Philip Pullman, and helmed by a company that’s proved itself in its literary adaptations, the preview gives off a hint of how well the expansion and detailing of Pullman’s world-building will come into effect. With season two already announced, the faith in the series seems to be high.
The preview showed a slew of familiar faces- from James McAvoy (Split, X-Men) to Ruth Wilson (Luther, The Affair) and Lin Manuel-Miranda (Hamilton, Mary Poppins Returns). The most exciting in the list, however, is the main character, Dafne Keen (Logan), who is playing Lyra in the series. Although the preview doesn’t show much of the plot, the stylisation of the story in the brief flashes we are given seem dramatic and fast paced. Starting slowly, the music in the preview builds until gunfire, people falling out of windows and the sound of roaring can be heard.
However, the one thing missing is one of the most intrinsic parts to the story- the dæmons. Animal companions to all the characters that can shape-shift before children grow up and arguably making for the more interesting visuals, the preview shows neither hide nor hair of them. Visual effects take time, but their exclusion was noted- by more than just me; the BBC YouTube channel adds to the information box below the clip: ‘We’re keeping our daemons close'. Another omission was the ‘golden compass’ itself that begins the drama, but even with these omissions, the intrigue presents itself well. Within 30 seconds, this preview builds excitement for the series to come.