The Golden Compass

A great many people are fans of Philip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials trilogy, and a whole lot of said fans probably remember how disappointed they were when The Golden Compass, based on the first of those books, came out in 2007. It was really a blessing that the film didn’t do well enough to spawn any sequels, as originally planned. Especially because if it had, we wouldn’t be getting our hopes up for a new small-screen adaptation of Pullman’s story.

BBC One has announced that it’s making a new drama series based on Pullman’s books, which center on Lyra Belacqua, a young girl living in a parallel universe where people’s souls exist outside their bodies in the form of animal companions (known as daemons). And the story only gets weirder and wilder from there. More about the His Dark Materials BBC project after the jump.

Deadline reports New Line Cinema is producing the His Dark Materials BBC drama with Bad Wolf. Pullman, who is executive producing, gushed about the project.

It’s been a constant source of pleasure to me to see this story adapted to different forms and presented in different media. It’s been a radio play, a stage play, a film, an audiobook, a graphic novel — and now comes this version for television. In recent years we’ve seen how long stories on television, whether adaptations (Game of Thrones) or original (The Sopranos, The Wire), can reach depths of characterization and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel.


Pullman’s His Dark Materials books are typically categorized as YA fantasy, but are much more complex than that label would suggest. Not only does it have a big, sprawling plot, it dives deep into philosophical and theological issues. The series as a whole has been acclaimed by adult critics and readers as well as kids. In fact, the last book, titled The Amber Spyglass, was the first children’s book ever longlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, one of the biggest problems with the Golden Compass movie was that it watered down the source material, downplaying its more complicated and controversial elements in order to appease the box office. Not that it helped — it still drew ire from religious groups and did middling business. All in all, it seemed like a waste of good source material, a good writer and director (Chris Weitz), and a good cast (including Dakota Blue RichardsDaniel Craig, and Nicole Kidman).

It’s unclear how many episodes the His Dark Materials BBC drama will have. But the fact that Pullman mentions long, layered stories like Game of ThronesThe Sopranos, and The Wire suggests that one of the advantages of a show, as opposed to a movie, is that Lyra’s story will have more room to breathe on the small screen. Details on who’ll fill out the new cast, or when it’ll shoot and when it’ll air, have not been revealed.


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Sherlock Special (1)

Many mysteries still surround the Sherlock special, but as of today two big ones have been solved. The one-off episode, which sends the boys to Victorian London, has officially announced a title and a U.K. and U.S. air date. Yes, that’s date, singular, because for the first time ever, Sherlock is premiering on the same day in both countries. Get the Sherlock special date and title details after the jump.

UPDATE: As promised, the Sherlock special is coming to theaters. Get more details below. Read More »

100 Greatest American Films

Everyone now and then, someone takes the time to round up a new list of 100 of the greatest films of all time, and it always stirs up some debate, even though probably 75% of the list is the same as any other. A new list from BBC Culture, however, is a little different, because the news organization from across the pond has rounded up a list of the 100 Greatest American Films, as voted on by an international assembly of film critics.

Some of your favorites like The Dark Knight, Star Wars, Back to the Future and Jaws made the cut, but there are only two films from the past five years, and only five total from the 21st century. The top films likely won’t surprise you, but there are still some questionable inclusions and exclusions on this list.

See the full list after the jump! Read More »

BBC theme park 1

Whovians rejoice: A BBC theme park is coming to the U.K. Attractions based on Doctor Who, Top Gear, and Sherlock are thought likely, though they haven’t yet been confirmed. A Doctor Who ride is not as novel an idea as you might think — Disney considered bringing the sci-fi property to Tomorrowland back in the ’80s.

Since the new park is backed by Paramount Pictures, it’s also expected to feature various Paramount franchises — possibly including Star Trek and Transformers. More on the planned BBC theme park after the jump. Read More »

Doctor Who Seven

Briefly: It’s elementary, dear streaming TV watcher. The more high quality, in-demand on-demand content you have on your platform, the better your market share will be. Hulu Plus has just signed a deal that should help them considerably. Users can now stream new and old popular BBC series, including Doctor Who, Sherlock, Luther, Top Gear, Torchwood as well as Fawlty Towers, BlackadderLife in the… and others. Read More »


Gather ’round, kids, and let’s watch some things advertising other things to watch. After the jump:

  • Mitch Hurwitz reveals his scrapped plans for a George Clooney cameo in Arrested Development
  • ABC picks up a drama from The L Word‘s Ilene Chaiken and Bryan Singer
  • BBC One and the Jim Henson Co. are teaming for a new Muppets-like show
  • Here’s what Helena Bonham Carter looks like as Elizabeth Taylor
  • See a teaser for The Anna Nicole Story, from American Psycho‘s Mary Harron
  • Watch a trailer for Netflix’s next original series Orange Is the New Black
  • FX’s latest promo for The Bridge is full of border-related factoids
  • Jerry Seinfeld‘s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee returns this month

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

The Killing

We have a particularly murderer-heavy edition of TV Bits today, with news about Dexter, Hannibal, and The Killing. After the jump:

  • Dallas, Veep, Rectify, and Orphan Black get renewed
  • Vampire Diaries spinoff gets green light
  • Julian Sands joins Dexter in mystery role
  • Downton Abbey gets its first black character
  • John Oliver will host The Daily Show this summer
  • Bryan Fuller has Pushing Daisies movie ideas
  • NBC affiliate axes Hannibal
  • The Killing‘s new mystery will be solved within the season
  • FX and Seth Rogen develop Bigfoot comedy
  • Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, and Peter Berg team for HBO
  • Alex Gibney will direct Frank Sinatra documentary
  • The Arrested Development doc hits tomorrow; see more Season 4 stills

Read More »

Mad Men Season 6

Whether you’re scrambling to catch up on the Mad Men Season 6 premiere or you just want to experience it again, AMC’s got the entire episode online right now. Also after the jump:

  • Vikings and Bates Motel get renewed
  • Paul Reuben heads to Wonderland
  • HBO’s Girls loses one of its boys
  • Will USA pick up Happy Endings?
  • The Kitten Bowl is coming in 2014
  • Jonathan Strange is coming to the BBC
  • Peter Berg will direct HBO’s The Leftovers
  • See a trailer for Christopher Guest‘s Family Tree
  • FX reveals four creepy promos for The Bridge

Read More »

During her life, Elizabeth Taylor was known as much for her offscreen exploits as she was for her onscreen work, and public interest in her personal life hasn’t waned now that she’s passed. Last year, Lifetime brought us the tawdry, Lindsay Lohan-starring version of the Taylor story: Liz & Dick. This year, the BBC is preparing its own take titled Burton & Taylor, with the considerably more talented Helena Bonham Carter stepping into the lead role. Dominic West will play her erstwhile husband and lover. Hit the jump for more.

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