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I felt cheated with the battle of the 2 king bears. They must be running out of $$$$. Will's part of the story is moving like molasses. However, I was glad that I did not watch MNF - what a waste.
I liked that the final battle where Iorek kills Iofur is behind Lyra as she turns away worried that Iorek would lose.

Good way to save on CGI there. I can understand the limited budget. They probably don't have a huge audience in the US.
 

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I am enjoying the CGI characters like the bear and Pan much more than I am the human characters. Something about the main actress is coming off as bland or poorly acted. Which is odd because I loved her in the Wolverine movie.
Didn't see her in other roles.

They make her a little petulant at times.

I think one reason GoT was so popular off the bat is that they made the Lannisters really effective villains immediately.

Jaime throws Bran off the tree and Jack Lannister was an obvious POS from the start.

And if you're contrasting young actresses, the one who plays Arya got to show prowess with bow and arrow and sword and then react to the mustache-twirling villainy of Jack Lannister.

HDM is doing a lot of world-building of this alternate universe and Lyra has literally gone very far in her adventures already. But the Magisterium aren't quite the villains to match up to those in GoT. Mrs. Coulter is a stylish villain but she hasn't quite been made as bad as Cersei. If she killed the Gyptian boys in her apt. or killed Clara in the last episode, she would be. But cutting daemons from children is still kind of abstract to those not familiar with the books.
 

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Assuming book readers will understand the abrupt change at the end of the last episode...it was a little jarring to me though and I'm not sure what to make of it.

Did the boy use witch-magic on Lord Asriel (because he's not really really Rodger)?

Or is Lord Asriel initial reaction because he feared that Lyra had not following the true prophecy (without her knowing what that prophecy is)?

I guess, don't answer that...as I'm sure we will find out more information in the season finale
 

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There are a bunch of hard right turns in this show which are difficult to follow because I don't know anything about the series. I don't know why I should care about the whole matter of the "other world" or "this world" where snake man wants something. The Roger deal is also a wfh moment with a is Roger not who we thought he is preceded by why is Lyra so taken by Roger, the kitchen boy.

At this point, this show seems to be just a bunch of stuff that happens rather than any logical story.
 

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Assuming book readers will understand the abrupt change at the end of the last episode...it was a little jarring to me though and I'm not sure what to make of it.

Did the boy use witch-magic on Lord Asriel (because he's not really really Rodger)?

Or is Lord Asriel initial reaction because he feared that Lyra had not following the true prophecy (without her knowing what that prophecy is)?
I cannot officially spoil this since I've not read the books, but it appeared that Asriel needed a youngster for something he has planned, and he feared Lyra was "sent" to be that person. ("I didn't ask for you!)

Since Rodger was also there he provides the guinea pig/sacrifice that Asriel wants. Just a guess.
 
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I liked that the final battle where Iorek kills Iofur is behind Lyra as she turns away worried that Iorek would lose.

Good way to save on CGI there. I can understand the limited budget. They probably don't have a huge audience in the US.
I'm not certain that was the logic behind the partially concealed death scene. This is a BBC/HBO combined project, and I think in UK it is targeted somewhat at young adults or even older children. The lack of blood in a death struggle might have more to do with avoiding overt violence aimed at young ones.
 

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I'm not certain that was the logic behind the partially concealed death scene. This is a BBC/HBO combined project, and I think in UK it is targeted somewhat at young adults or even older children. The lack of blood in a death struggle might have more to do with avoiding overt violence aimed at young ones.


Indeed, allows them to keep the ratings level down which opens up a wider audience.
 

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I'm not certain that was the logic behind the partially concealed death scene. This is a BBC/HBO combined project, and I think in UK it is targeted somewhat at young adults or even older children. The lack of blood in a death struggle might have more to do with avoiding overt violence aimed at young ones.
They did show a fair amount of the fight but the death blow has to be very bloody.

In the book, apparently Iorek cuts out Iofur's snout with one blow, leaving a bloody hole leading to his throat. Iofur is no longer able to speak.

Then Iorek bites Iofur's neck and lifts him with just his mouth biting into Iofur and slams him down causing more blood to pour out.

I mean if kids read the book, presumably they'd expect this scene in this show?
 

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I mean if kids read the book, presumably they'd expect this scene in this show?
They very well might, but what we imagine based on the printed page is quite different from what BBC censors are going to allow to be shown. Even the Bible has many descriptions of gruesome deaths and horrors that would demand an NC-17 rating if they were to be depicted literally in a visual way.
 

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Interesting ending.

Wonder if we'll see Iorek again.

Lyra seemed excited to see her father again but really her real family was Roger. Now she will go by Lyra Silvertongue, not Lyra Belaqua.

Guess she found out real family isn't all that.
 

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This is a marvelous series for those who love fantastic adventures. Spectacular cast. Wonderful performances. Dafne Keen was a revelation in LOGAN and, now, she has matured into a multi-dimensional actor. Ruth Wilson is brilliant, as always. An intriguing premise and storytelling. Convincing special effects. I give this series a 10 (wonderful) out of 10. This has already been renewed and my hope is that they take on the whole series of books. {Fantasy Adventure}

 

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Discussion Starter #113
I binge watched all 8 episodes over the past few days...overall it's a solid series...not in the top tier of fantasy books/TV shows but the next 2 books should make for a better adaptation now that all the world building is out of the way...hopefully BBC/HBO gets a chance to adapt the entire trilogy (Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass)...there was a lot of exposition and backstory in the first few episodes which made it a bit difficult to follow at times unless you're a fan of the books...it does have a very unique and creative premise although the heavy religious themes always seemed a bit weird in a book series geared towards young adults...

you can tell it doesn't have the HBO production values...HBO pretty much just bought the international broadcast rights while BBC did all the production work...it's still well done but doesn't have the jawdropping visuals that something like GoT or Westworld has...they actually combined some things from Book 2 (most of the Lord Boreal and Will story) and the prologue in Episode 1 was actually from Book 1 of Philip Pullman's new Book of Dust trilogy

the cast is good but the standout is Ariyon Bakare (Lord Boreal)...Dafne Keen (Lyra), Ruth Wilson (Mrs Coulter) James McAvoy (Lord Asriel) and James Cosmo (Farder Coram) are also well cast...Lin Manuel-Miranda was better then I thought he was going to be as Lee Scoresby but the movie version was better (played by Sam Elliott)

daemon CGI was excellent-- Iorek Byrnison (polar bear) in particular...I give Season 1 a grade of B
 

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I binge watched all 8 episodes over the past few days...overall it's a solid series...not in the top tier of fantasy books/TV shows but the next 2 books should make for a better adaptation now that all the world building is out of the way...hopefully BBC/HBO gets a chance to adapt the entire trilogy (Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass)...there was a lot of exposition and backstory in the first few episodes which made it a bit difficult to follow at times unless you're a fan of the books...it does have a very unique and creative premise although the heavy religious themes always seemed a bit weird in a book series geared towards young adults...

you can tell it doesn't have the HBO production values...HBO pretty much just bought the international broadcast rights while BBC did all the production work...it's still well done but doesn't have the jawdropping visuals that something like GoT or Westworld has...they actually combined some things from Book 2 (most of the Lord Boreal and Will story) and the prologue in Episode 1 was actually from Book 1 of Philip Pullman's new Book of Dust trilogy

the cast is good but the standout is Ariyon Bakare (Lord Boreal)...Dafne Keen (Lyra), Ruth Wilson (Mrs Coulter) James McAvoy (Lord Asriel) and James Cosmo (Farder Coram) are also well cast...Lin Manuel-Miranda was better then I thought he was going to be as Lee Scoresby but the movie version was better (played by Sam Elliott)

daemon CGI was excellent-- Iorek Byrnison (polar bear) in particular...I give Season 1 a grade of B
I just started watching this too (I'm up to episode three). With so much backlog on HBO (I don't sub year-round), I almost gave up after the first episode. Not because it was bad; I just didn't think it was that great. Like you said, a lot of backstory exposition, which didn't make a lot of sense to me. I haven't read the books and only have a very vague recollection of the movie. I'm still having some issues buying into this world, particularly with the idea of these little daemons rodents, reptiles, and birds running around in a way that they can easily be killed even if just by accident, thus killing their person. (I'm sure most people here have accidentally stepped on or kicked a pet dog or cat or hit a squirrel in the road.) The journalist with a butterfly daemon is the perfect example.

At any rate, the story is starting to pick up and hold my interest, and I'm accepting the rules of this world a bit more. I do read a lot of SFF, and this series has been on my TBR list. But after watching this show, I'm not how much I would prioritize it now. (Normally I would have the opposite reaction).
 

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I just started watching this too (I'm up to episode three). With so much backlog on HBO (I don't sub year-round), I almost gave up after the first episode. Not because it was bad; I just didn't think it was that great. Like you said, a lot of backstory exposition, which didn't make a lot of sense to me. I haven't read the books and only have a very vague recollection of the movie. I'm still having some issues buying into this world, particularly with the idea of these little daemons rodents, reptiles, and birds running around in a way that they can easily be killed even if just by accident, thus killing their person. (I'm sure most people here have accidentally stepped on or kicked a pet dog or cat or hit a squirrel in the road.) The journalist with a butterfly daemon is the perfect example.

At any rate, the story is starting to pick up and hold my interest, and I'm accepting the rules of this world a bit more. I do read a lot of SFF, and this series has been on my TBR list. But after watching this show, I'm not how much I would prioritize it now. (Normally I would have the opposite reaction).
Episode 4 is when it starts to pick up...it still feels a bit boring and slow at times but being only 8 episodes helps...definitely better as a binge watch versus week-to-week where the flaws would bother me more...the entire Dust/God/Heaven metaphor also feels a bit strong for a young adult series
 

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Half way through binge watching it. So far, it's not that compelling.

To me, it's as if most of the main actors are acting as if disconnected with events & other characters. They just don't seem believable as "real" people. As opposed to GoT where ALL actors played their roles as if they really were those people. Even the girl who plays Lyra is one-dimensional, all situations the same, blaise and unbelievable as a real person in her situation. She's NOT EVEN CLOSE to Maisie Williams as Arya Stark. Maisie made Arya so believable that you had NO problem seeing her as an assassin with her hit list, swinging a sword, an adventurer, a loving sister, a friend, a conspirator, whatever Martin's story demanded of the character.

Comparing to LOTR, is there any doubt that when Ian Mccellan acts & speaks he's Gandalf? LOTR played with gravitas, HDM plays like a Disney movie.

A key exception is Ruth Wilson who is believable but way over-the-top as a church-hitman-iron b*tch - Wicked Witch of the West or Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent. Every sneer I expected her to be preparing the children for a meal! Even her curled lip makes her look to be sneering or snarling (!) all the time. No nuanced performance here, sad to say :rolleyes:

The guy who arrives in the balloon is cartoonish & an annoying caricature of Indiana Jones. Kids will love the 2 bears but they're no replacement for Dany & her dragons.

Thus, 4 eps in, it's a CGI laden Doctor Who instead of LOTR/GoT played like it was a real world.

With all that exposition, not once has Dust been described or explained from some perspective - I had to look it up in Wiki! Dust physically being subatomic particles (I guess too deep for a YA show :rolleyes:) but also is a metaphor for "evil" as interpreted by their church-Magistorium & connected to gateway to other worlds. Had to look that up in wiki too! Fail in world-building if you have to look up key elements (so to speak) in wiki, unless that gets explained in the 2nd half.

So here we have a trilogy of novels that's a blend of physics & other science with pure fantasy. That's also seen as controversial, even heretical in some religious quarters. Even the author says he's in some ways trying to "kill god" & the idea of original sin. And the TV series so far turns it into a substitute of Wizard of Oz. We're off to see the wizard or we're off to save the children. And the half-hidden castle in the Dust is Oz. We have the glittery castle, Mrs Coulter as the witch who even has a monkey! :rolleyes: Lyra is Dorothy & her Pan is Toto, plus the path at the end of Ep4 is the Yellow Brick Road.

I'll finish it and if the 2nd half redeems it, I'll change my mind & tune in for S2-3. But so far, it's not really compelling, bordering on boring. Mostly due to the acting & not having the viewer invested in the characters or their world. It's all about the story-telling...always was and while it's not a total fail, it's slow, boring & the "rules of the world" are poorly defined & mostly unexplained. This isn't a David Lynch movie.

As a parallel world story, it's no replacement for Counterpart & Man in the High Castle. As a well-acted, adult themed power struggle fantasy, it can't compare to Game of Thrones. As well-acted, pure good vs evil fantasy, it can't compare to LOTR. It's sort of like a Harry Potter, but HP was far better executed, much better acted and also made no pretense from movie 1 that they were dealing with evil and Voldemort. HP was a clearly executed series of movies unlike this which is mud.

Count me disappointed as a big SF fan who also likes well-done fantasy. I have to think the novels are much better than watching this attempt. With the exception of S8, Game of Thrones for all intents was a very close visual depiction of reading Song of Ice and Fire.
 

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With all that exposition, not once has Dust been described or explained from some perspective - I had to look it up in Wiki! Dust physically being subatomic particles (I guess too deep for a YA show :rolleyes:) but also is a metaphor for "evil" as interpreted by their church-Magistorium & connected to gateway to other worlds. Had to look that up in wiki too! Fail in world-building if you have to look up key elements (so to speak) in wiki, unless that gets explained in the 2nd half
that was one of my biggest issues with this show...for a series who's central concept revolves around this Dust phenomenon they do a poor job of explaining what exactly it is (they do explain it better towards the end but it needed to be done earlier)...even when they do explain it, it's very vague and spiritual and we're pretty much supposed to figure out that it's a metaphor for God/Heaven/sin

you didn't mention in your post one of the biggest aspects of this show and what differentiates it from other fantasy books- daemons...I think the show didn't do a good enough job explaining the bond between humans and their daemons but overall I do think that's the main draw of this series
 

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Just finished watching ep 5 & 6.

The Gyptions arrive to save the day in the exact knick of time as the kids are against the metal wall & about to be rounded up. And the bear just happens to "drop in" from the roof to kill a few baddies. Didn't the writers learn anything from the reactions to Game of Thrones's final 2 seasons with miracle & out-of-the-gloom saves??

Lyra's falling out of the balloon and the bear says in a normal, non-excited tone of voice...."get her Lee". Kind of obvious statement! And of course Lee didn't. But I have a feeling something will swoop in or save her from the clutches of death. Stay tuned for the next chapter in The Perils of Pauline :rolleyes:

Coulter's staring at the wall after Lyra locks her up, screams in such a high pitched screech that she nearly throws her underslung jaw out of place. Too much! She looked like a banshee.

Honestly, this stuff is so over-the-top or cliched, it's hard to believe the writers went there.

I'm having a hard time understanding how this series has received such glowing reviews incl 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. I'm missing something. Will watch the last 2 eps just to see if the ending justified the invested time :p Not so far.

OTOH, the show could be great Mystery Science Theater material :D
 

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I just finished episode 4 and I feel like His Dark Materials writers may be the same folk who write CW Arrowverse shows. In the bar fight scene, Lee is taking on a half dozen locals by himself while his rabbit daemon sits alone atop the bar offering commentary. The brawlers are aware enough of the rabbit's vulnerability to throw a bottle at it, at which point the rabbit becomes aware of her vulnerability and ducks, acknowledging her vulnerability, but she doesn't try to hide or avoid further attempts to go after her . . . well, that's probably because no one bothers trying to go after her in spite of how simple it would have been for one or two men to go after a defenseless rabbit while three or four of their mates focus on and distract Lee. :rolleyes: It seems like in this world, that would be a standard fighting tactic ingrained in everyone: distract the human and grab the daemon, especially if it's a small mammal. In fact, that was how the Gobblers grabbed some of the kids, by sneaking up on and grabbing the daemon.
 

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^^
I don't want to spoil the last 4 eps. About 20% of this show could be left on the cutting floor & it would improve it immensely IMO. The only thing I'll say is...you're in for another wide-mouth banshee shriek complete with a brief string of slobber.

Ep 8 was OK, at least it provided explanations that should have been told earlier so the story & characters' actions made sense. Overall, it was tedious to get to the endgame with too many cuts to other scenes where nothing really happens or a few sentences of dialog that could easily been clumped together and not spoil the tension & pacing of the main storyline. Maybe the writers should practice their editing skills :rolleyes: For me, the series just wasn't worth the 8 hrs it took to tell the story.

CW style writing - I can see that. I don't think I'll be watching S2 & 3.
 
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