HBO Converting Atheist Children’s Novels Into HIS DARK MATERIALS TV Series

HBO Converting Atheist Children’s Novels Into HIS DARK MATERIALS TV Series

By Jessilyn Lancaster, Managing Editor

HBO released the trailer for HIS DARK MATERIALS, a television version of the books by the same name. 

Filmmakers first attempted to take the story to the big screen with THE GOLDEN COMPASS, which failed to live up to critic and audience expectations. 

As Movieguide® previously reported:

What’s bad about the movie, therefore, is not overt atheism. That comes in the later books in the three-part series. What’s bad is that it creates a heroine who is selfish, willful and stubborn to such a degree that she does not express love, kindness, joy, peace, or any of those other wonderful virtues that help us put others before ourselves. The Good News of the Gospel is a message of love and forgiveness, not a message of control. It is a personal relationship with a living God, Jesus Christ, who loves us so much that He has laid down his life for us and has given us new life where we can experience real joy, real happiness and real fulfillment. Every one of the virtues Lyra disdains is a virtue based in love. Her lying hurts others, but telling the truth in love helps others. If, for instance, we could not trust anyone, society would fall apart. Trust, honesty, integrity, and the other virtues flow from our love of one another.

The trailer dropped this week at San Diego Comic Con and shows James McAvoy (SPLIT, GLASS) leading a rebellion against the Church. 

According to ESQUIRE: 

But, HBO’s take on the story appears to be an altogether darker affair. In the world of HIS DARK MATERIALS, humans are accompanied by “dæmons,” physical manifestations of their souls that take the form of talking animals. In the trailer, Mrs. Coulter’s monkey dæmon physically attacks Lyra’s dæmon, Pantalaimon, causing the girl to scream, writhing in pain. And, it also doesn’t look like whatever is going on with the missing children is particularly pleasant.

Series Executive Producer Jane Tanter said the show will attempt to entertain both adults and children. 

“In my experience, children love complicated themes and big questions about who we are and where we are,” Tanter said. “And, I think that [book author Philip] Pullman never underestimates children, either as the hero and heroine of his books or as readers at home…I hope that we ended up making an adult piece that children will watch and should watch.”

The “His Dark Materials” series drew controversy since its publication in 1995. “The Golden Compass” was the No. 8 banned book on the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books from 2000-2009.

The Catholic League sounded the alarm on THE GOLDEN COMPASS content when the movie debuted in 2007, saying:

“Atheism for kids. That is what Philip Pullman sells. It is his hope that THE GOLDEN COMPASS which stars Nicole Kidman and opens December 7, will entice parents to buy his trilogy as a Christmas gift. It is our hope that the film fails to meet box office expectations and that his books attract few buyers. We are doing much more than hoping—we are conducting a nationwide two-month protest of Pullman’s work and the film. To that end, we have prepared a booklet, THE GOLDEN COMPASS: Agenda Unmasked,’ that tears the mask off the movie.

“It is not our position that the movie will strike Christian parents as troubling. Then, why the protest? Even though the film is based on the least offensive of the three books, and even though it is clear that the producers are watering down the most despicable elements—so as to make money and not anger Christians—the fact remains that the movie is bait for the books. To be specific, if unsuspecting Christian parents take their children to see the movie, they may very well find it engaging and then buy Pullman’s books for Christmas. That’s the problem.

“We are fighting a deceitful stealth campaign on the part of the film’s producers. Our goal is to educate Christians so that they know exactly what the film’s pernicious agenda really is.”

HBO did not announce an official release date for the series. 

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