his dark materials
His Dark Materials final season
Oh MAN. I can’t even think of a way to describe those last two episodes apart from, “They actually did it, the absolute mad lads.” Mrs Coulter’s final destiny is a scene that’s stuck in my mind for decades and finally I got to see it in the flesh, as it were. Outstanding performances, outstanding effects, everything. Man, nothing blows your mind like seeing a book passage that haunted you as a kid fully realized in live-action.
And WILL AND LYRA! Oh my gosh. Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson have amazing careers ahead of them, I cannot believe how well they brought that one final, heartwrenching scene to life. Hearing Keen deliver these wonderful lines, oh my god-
“When we do find each other again, no-one will be able to tear us apart. We’ll be joined so tightly. Every atom of me and every atom of you. And when they use our atoms to make new life, they’ll have to take two. One for you and one for me. We’ll be in the flowers and the sunbeams.“
WHAT an adaptation. I know it isn’t completely true to the books but they made some great changes (Mary Malone falling in love with a woman rather than a man, for example) and I’ve loved every minute of it.
LOOK AT THEM OMG 😱😍😱😍😱 MY BABIES
Hey remember that guy who did impressions of The Crown cast? He did one for His Dark Materials too!
“Will… I’m your dad.”
“I knew that already.”
fourteen favourite shots: His Dark Materials season one
GOD His Dark Materials is just the most beautiful show ever isn’t it? Now season three has been greenlit I revisited my favourite shots from season one and it was REALLY HARD narrowing it down to just fourteen. Everyone’s face is so expressive! (This was very nearly just a highlight reel of Ruth Wilson’s Mrs Coulter alone.)
Some faves among the faves: The evil monkey whomst I hate staring uncomprehending at an act of self-sacrifice, Mrs Coulter’s animal-like hands silouetted against the light, and the room the captured children are in looking like a blade has divided it.
I also love how many windows there are! Very appropriate right?
This show is so gorgeous that I might do a fourteen favourite shots for every single episode actually.
the His Dark Materials season finale
Okay I admit I haven’t read The Subtle Knife in a very long time and I’ve forgotten almost of it. I DID remember that you-know-who dies tragically and that Will is all kinds of awesome but that’s about it. I gather plenty of stuff was changed from the book anyway? But here have some bullet-point thoughts:
- This show contains TWO actors who are AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME and both are called Wilson! What are the odds.
- MAN every scene with Coulter and the Spectres is so badass I can’t even, I really want to hate her because she’s y’know evil and all but she’s also just electrifying. I would watch episode after episode of Mrs C just walking around with unimaginable horrors and a monkey trailing along behind her.
- hey James McAvoy is here! I know there was supposed to be a whole episode with him but it was cut cos of Covid, sigh. Awww and they stretched the budget out to his snow leopard, nice
- I don’t like the designs for the angels, I’m so sorry, I saw someone on Twitter say they looked like Christmas decorations and uh they kinda do?
- [spoiler’s] death was so terribly sad. I remembered that from the books but I don’t remember his sacrifice in the book being made so immediately pointless? Awww.
- But hey we’re gonna see him again right!? If that after-credits scene was anything to go by anyway.
- I hope Mary Malone checked to make sure those kids were actually in the hands of adults before she buggered off to follow petals. (Also why didn’t the children ever try to leave the city before? Or did they? Gosh I can’t remember.)
- Wow it sure would have been awkward if Mrs Coulter had forgotten to put air holes in that chest.
- I keep hearing rumblings that this show hasn’t actually been greenlit for season three yet and that would devastate me if it never was. Oh please let there be one, I know it’ll be expensive so do it with sock puppets if you must, just do it
HIS DARK MATERIALS 2.06
His Dark Materials season 2 trailer
HOLY FRICK THAT WAS FAST! Didn’t the first season just finish?! Maybe they filmed some of season two while filming that? Or maybe time just has no meaning anymore. ANYWAY this looks AMAZING!
Top 10 favourite TV shows of the decade
Continuing on from my favourite films of the decade, here’s my favourite (not necessarily best) TV shows! Alphabetically, of course, and illustrated with gifs.
Honestly Adventure Time is a masterpiece. A surrealist masterpiece, an animation masterpiece, a masterpiece of children’s television… call it whatever you want but “masterpiece” needs to be in there somewhere. It was weird, touching, occasionally terrifying, and never lost sight of what it wanted to do…for nine years. I’m sad that it’s (mostly) over but so, so glad it happened.
Come 2013 I was suddenly seeing this show everywhere. I knew the names of all the characters before I ever sat down to watch it, and most of the best jokes. That didn’t dent my enjoyment in the slightest. Brooklyn 99 is so, so good in just about every way. It’s funny, it’s smart, it has people in it who you just don’t see as main characters, like Captain Holt. The fact that Fox *spits* cancelled it and then it was almost immediately picked up by NBC just goes to show how much of a impact it had.
Call the Midwife
Call the Midwife has only been going since 2012 but it feels like it’s been so much longer. (That’s a good thing.) This is a pro-NHS, pro-feminism, pro-LGBT show that goes out prime-time on the BBC and I’m so grateful it exists. It never shies away from the rough parts of history, but instead pulls them out into the light to remind us of our responsibilities. It angers me no end that critics sometimes dismiss this show as frivolous nostalgia for the past, because there is nothing nostalgic about this show. It DESPERATELY wants you to know how horrible it was being a woman even within living memory. It’s a sucker punch to the gut with occasional upbeat ’50s music and some neat dresses.
All the praise to Netflix, because if it hadn’t existed and advertised this show on its front page I would never have discovered it. And I love it. This is an adult cartoon done right, i.e. using animation to tell a story of vast scope instead of using it to tell fart jokes. (Though there are probably a couple of those, even if I don’t remember them.) It’s like… how can I even describe this show… the ambition of Star Wars meets the themes of Guardians of the Galaxy meets the zest of Futurama. AND it has a adorable squishy space pet/planet-destroyer! This show not having a much bigger fanbase is such a dang injustice.
I’d heard of Gravity Falls, and heard nothing but good things, but I didn’t actually see it until several years after it came out. And I’m SO CROSS because the show was set up as a big mad mystery to be solved, and it would have been great to be able to trade theories and decode the end messages along with everyone else. But as it stands… I got a fantastic experience anyway. I knew all the major twists, but I’d never really met the characters properly. So now I love them all, especially Soos. And I also love the show’s central theme, which is that growing up is hard as hell and you need a good support system.
The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale has always been one of my favourite books and this adaptation was more than I could ever have dreamed of. It took characters I already knew and built them backstories and new futures. It cast unbelievably talented actors for even the smaller roles. And my god the visuals, the punch-you-in-the-face visuals. The red-and-white Handmaid uniforms are seen at political protests a lot now, and they should be. This show demonstrates how unforgivably close we always are to losing everything we hold dear.
His Dark Materials
I read all of the His Dark Materials series as a kid and I remember liking them, especially the third book. This TV adaptation brought all of that crashing back and then some. I have some qualms (it’s obvious that the budget couldn’t stretch to one visible daemon for every human, for example) but my gosh, what an absolutely beautiful job they’ve done with everything else. And the acting is wonderful, although Ruth Wilson is the standout the child actors are like… clearly the best in the business, holy hell. I can’t WAIT for the next couple of seasons.
The Last Man On Earth
The Last Man on Earth massively lit up my life… for the few years it was on. My god, Fox had no idea what they had on their hands. After the dodgy first season it suddenly turned into this amazing, beautiful, touching tale about life after the end of the world. Characters underwent development! They got married! They had kids! And then all of a sudden… end of show. Right after a cliffhanger ending, a major one. Sigh. I’ll always miss LMOE but I’m grateful I was around at the same time it was.
I’d wanted to watch Superstore for ages but I only finally got to see it when it came on British TV. And even then I managed to catch only the season one finale before anything else. But it hooked me instantly and I quickly went back to the beginning to see what I missed and then forward again to season two. By the season two finale I had utterly fallen in love with it. It’s hilarious but it pulls no punches about how inhumanly terrible the American retail systems are – how inhumanly terrible a lot of systems are, in fact. Also, Mark McKinney’s “Muppet voice” for Glenn is possibly the best comedy voice that has ever been created, EVER.
This show. Rarely have I seen anything so bleak and depressing and yet so triumphant at the end. Marie, who is very VERY closely based on a real person, goes through an amount of trauma and distress which would destroy most people (and very nearly destroys her) but she gets to walk away vindicated, thank god. The intervention of two female detectives saves not only her but a multitude of other women. It seems to me to be so rare that such a terrible story has a happy or just ending, so thank god this show arrived with its pointed message: when it comes to rape cases, we need to be better. So, so much better than we currently are. Please watch it.
Honourable mentions: The Good Place, Steven Universe, the Moffat and Chibnall eras of Doctor Who (not eligible because the show itself started last decade…), Broadchurch, Orange is the New Black, and probably a few more that I forgot, sorry.
Oh my GOSH the HDM finale
So, so good. I can’t believe how blown away I’ve been by this show. I actually, whisper it, I think I like it more than the book. (There was always something about Pullman’s writing style that didn’t quite click with me, as good as he is.) But even though I either knew already or easily guessed everything that was going to happen, I was a nervous heartbroken wreck by the end of it.
My god, it was SUCH a good adaptation decision to have The Golden Compass run alongside the first chapter of The Subtle Knife, damn. I thought the last scene of the episode might be Will and Lyra stepping through their respective portals and I was right, what an ending!
I’m annoyed I haveta wait a year to see the rest but at least I can properly reread the books now. (Maybe I’ll end up liking them more than the show after all, who knows?) And in the meantime, I can submerge myself in the beautiful, beautiful visuals and music.
(Oh, also, the BBC started airing their take on A Christmas Carol after HDM ended. It’s not good. At all.)