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The Golden Compass books will get a BBC miniseries

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

New Line Cinema, Bad Wolf and the BBC will partner to bring Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials series to the small screen.

His Dark Materials is a young adult fantasy trilogy — perhaps better known by the name of its first installment, The Golden Compass (published first as Northern Lights). This won't be the first adaptation for the books, which have seen their day in radio, the stage, as a graphic novel and, most infamously, as the lavishly produced but poorly received 2007 film The Golden Compass. (The best thing about The Golden Compass was the only thing that no adaptation could possibly screw up: Ian McKellan playing a sentient, armored polar bear with a Tragic Past.)

The Golden Compass

Along with Bad Wolf — a U.K./U.S. production company founded by a couple of former BBC executives — New Line will be crafting an "initial eight-part series," according to Variety, based on all three of the books. The series will be produced by Pullman, as well as two executives each from Bad Wolf and New Line, and one from Scholastic, the book series' publisher.

Thanks to renewed publicity from its major film adaptation, The Golden Compass made the American Library Association's list of most banned or challenged books in 2007 and 2008. The series ranges widely through a diverse set of worlds and characters, making it difficult to sum up, but one way might be "agnostic Narnia." The books directly tackle questions of faith, and soundly criticize dogmatism and unexamined belief while championing science even in a "magic"-filled setting. Pullman himself has voiced bemusement at how the Harry Potter books caught so much criticism from Evangelical Christians in America, when his story is "about killing God."

A BBC production that's less worried about bombing out at the American box office could certainly do some interesting things with the latter books in the trilogy.