|THE SECRET COMMONWEALTHHIS DARK MATERIALSCOMMONWEALTHGROW UPREVIEW|
HBO is weighing up the possibility of more seasons of Philip Pullman fantasy adaptation His Dark Materials after the Bad Wolf and New Line-produced show became the WarnerMedia network's biggest ever co-viewing hit.
HBO President of Programming Casey Bloys told Deadline that the show, which launched in November, has performed very well, cumulating to 5M viewers an episode. “One of the things that I was hoping and the numbers we're seeing bear this out, it is more of a co-viewing show than we've ever had. We don't have many shows where kids and parents can watch together and that was the idea with this show and it has done really well.”
His Dark Materials stars Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Keen plays main character Lyra, a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world. The first season follows Lyra searching for a kidnapped friend. She uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children and becomes a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. As she journeys through the worlds, including our own, Lyra meets a determined and courageous boy called Will Amir Wilson. Together they encounter extraordinary beings and dangerous secrets, with the fate of both the living — and the dead — in their hands.
HBO and the BBC, which co-produced the show, initially gave the series a 16-episode, two-season order. The first two seasons, written by Jack Thorne, are essentially based on the first two books in the novel series, Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife, although Thorne admitted he had “stolen” a few “treats” from other books.
Although Thorne admits that he has “stolen” a “few treats” from other books, the first two seasons are essentially based on Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife. Now, HBO and the BBC must decide whether to greenlight a third season. The third book, The Amber Spyglass, follows Lyra at 16, which would tie up with filming in 2021. “Season two is just coming in and I think once we get season two, we'll talk about season three and what it would look like. We obviously have to talk to the BBC,” added Bloys.
Bad Wolf co-founder Jane Tranter previously told Deadline that if ordered, she would like to split the “huge” and “sprawling” book into two seasons.
The show has also performed well in Britain with the opening episode watched by more than 7.2M viewers, making it the biggest new drama launch on British TV in more than five years. The final episode came to a close with just over 4M overnight viewers.
Warning: Comic spoilers for The Walking Dead will be found below.
After the completion of The Whisperers’ War in the Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comics, Michonne and several others make their way west, where they eventually encounter The Commonwealth, a civilization of 50,000 people in Ohio with their own standing army, with concerts, and many pre-apocalypse amenities. The big initial surprise in the comic books is that Michonne discovers that her long-lost daughter is living in the Commonwealth, which is obviously a hugely emotional reveal.
As the television version of The Walking Dead closes in on The Commonwealth storyline, it’s also going to want a few big emotional moments to coincide with what will be a first for the series when they encounter a massive civilization. Unfortunately, because Michonne is leaving the series in the back half of season 10, we won’t see her reunite with anyone, much less her daughter. We will get to see Maggie again, and see how Hershel has grown in the intervening years. It’d also be nice to believe that another one of the characters on The Walking Dead will find a loved one in The Commonwealth with whom to reunited.
One other storyline that Angela Kang already appears to be seeding ahead of The Commonwealth arc likely involves Ezekiel’s cancer. Recall that, in a conversation with Siddiq, we learn that Ezekiel - like his grandmother and father before him - has thyroid cancer. Both his grandmother and father were able to fight it off - the survival rate is pretty high. However, Ezekiel basically gives up, knowing that Alexandria does not have to tools necessary to cure his cancer. Instead, Ezekiel keeps it hidden from those who he loves, including Carol. With Siddiq dead now, Ezekiel cannot even rely on him to come up with some last-minute solution to save him.
However, there are clues in the midseason trailer that Ezekiel will at least clue some others - including Carol - in on his cancer diagnosis.
I expect that at the end of this season, we will get a a brief visit from Maggie, who will tell the Alexandrians about The Commonwealth. She will inform them that they are a modern civilization, and that they have the modern amenities, like hospitals. I also expect that the reason many will choose to travel to the Commonwealth is to seek treatment for Ezekiel’s cancer. It may be the very thing that jumpstarts The Commonwealth storyline. When Ezekiel arrives, if The Commonwealth can cure his cancer, it will also provide the story arc with one more major emotional moment in the 111th season.
If anything, however, it shows again what a terrific job Angela Kang is doing as showrunner. She’s not just writing and overseeing great episodes, she’s also planning well into the future, even when she doesn’t necessarily have Robert Kirkman’s comics as a guide.
Movie theaters across the country are currently shuttered due to social distancing measures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, but one very notable theater is using its website to post movie reviews from one of the biggest directors in the world.
Quentin Tarantino’s New Beverly Cinema has quietly posted reviews of classic movies from the director. Happy Mag spotted the reviews on the cinema’s website, and apparently the director has quietly written about movies like Escape From Alcatraz and A Man Called Tiger for months.
Tarantino bought the New Beverly Cinema in 2007 and last year’s release of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood made it very popular over the summer. This part of his work with the theater is not a direct result of coronavirus boredom, as he started posting reviews on December 22 with six entries, including Escape and The Image of Bruce Lee. Still, things certainly have picked up in recent weeks: there were just two posted in February but March saw 10 reviews including Gunsmoke, Sometimes A Great Notion and Daisy Miller. And as to be expected, Tarantino is far from an easy critic.
The reviews are a treasure trove of insight into the famed director’s mind. One of them likens a film script to “one hot f*ckin’ potato”, whilst another calls Prophecy 1979 “pretty much a piece of sh*t from the word go.”
There are some very positive reviews, though, and many are less like a review and more a reflection on the time and place where Tarantino first saw the film.
“I’ve loved this movie since I was a child, and the older I’ve got, the more my affection grows. For the uninitiated it might seem like dumb crazy ass sh*t. But for a martial art film expert, and Wang Yu fan, it’s like a fine vintage wine only a connoisseur can appreciate.”
Tarantino has always had plenty to say about movies, and in the past he’s said he hopes to write books about cinema when he officially retires from filmmaking. So perhaps this is just a warmup to the role he hopes to play once his current career ends. In the mean time, we certainly can learn a lot from what he’s putting out online, and maybe pick up a few classics to watch along the way.