Brand new HBO Original series HIS DARK MATERIALS premieres 5 November exclusively on HBO GO and HBO

The highly anticipated HBO Original series HIS DARK MATERIALS premieres same time as the U.S. on Tuesday, 5 November at 10am exclusively on HBO GO and HBO, with same day encore at 10pm on HBO. New episodes premiere every Tuesday at the same time.

Adapting Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of the same name, which is considered a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction, the series follows Lyra, a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world. Her search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children and becomes a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust.

The drama series explores a world in which sentient, talking animals are found in two ways: daemons and armored bears. Each human in the series is accompanied by their daemon which is the physical manifestation of a person’s soul and a reflection of their inner self and their lifelong companion through the world. Daemons take on the appearance of an animal, but with the voice and the intelligence of a human. In childhood, a daemon can change its animal form at will, but at a certain stage of adolescence a daemon ‘settles’ into its final form – forever reflecting the character of their person.

The series’ stars include:

Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua, an adventure-seeking 13-year old from a world that is both like and unlike our own. We meet Lyra as an orphan, having been raised in the sanctuary of Oxford’s illustrious Jordan College. Lyra is desperate to explore with her brilliant Uncle Asriel, until the fates intervene and she ends up on a thrilling and perilous journey of her own. A natural and adept liar, Lyra learns the value of honesty and lies when she becomes the owner of an extraordinary instrument that can tell the truth.

James McAvoy as Lord Asriel Belacqua, a brilliant scholar and a fearless explorer. Asriel is one of few who dare to undermine the powerful forces of Lyra’s world. His ambition is limitless and he will stop at nothing to achieve his ends.

Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic woman whose origins hold many secrets, and who has gained power in a patriarchal society against the odds. Intelligent and manipulative, Mrs. Coulter always needs to be in control; but her motivations are rarely as they seem.

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby, an aeronaut-for-hire who can keep his head in a crisis, although he is often getting himself embroiled in trouble.

Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa, a fiercely maternal, high-ranking gyptian. The disappearance of her youngest son Billy is the latest of an increasing number of missing children, and acts as a call to action for the gyptian people to find and rescue them.

Clarke Peters as The Master of Jordan College, a man who understands politics and is Lyra’s guardian as she grows up in Oxford.

Ariyon Bakare as Carlo Boreal, an authoritative political figure who works with the Magisterium, but keeps many secrets and knows which ears to whisper into to achieve power.

Will Keen as Father MacPhail, a high-ranking member of the Magisterium whose belief is so unwavering that he will preserve its position at any cost.
Ian Gelder as Charles the Librarian, a learned man and counsel to the Master of Jordan College, who helps to care for Lyra.

Georgina Campbell as Adèle Starminster, a bright and inquisitive journalist who seeks to uncover the truth about the mysterious Mrs Coulter.

Lewin Lloyd as Roger Parslow, the 12-year-old kitchen boy of Jordan College and Lyra’s best friend. Where Lyra is a natural liar, Roger is naturally honest and kind. Roger often acts as Lyra’s moral compass.

Lucian Msamati as John Faa, a plain-speaking warrior and king of the Western gyptians, a close-knit, nomadic and honourable people. John Faa leads a band of brave fighters to action when it becomes clear that the governing forces of their world will not help them get their missing children back.

James Cosmo as Farder Coram, a gyptian and key advisor to John Faa. As an elder member of the community, Coram brings knowledge and wisdom to the gyptians. He is a brave fighter with an extraordinary past.

Daniel Frogson as Tony Costa, the eldest son of the gyptian Ma Costa. At 15 years old, Tony’s daemon has just settled, marking him as having come of age. Tony has a gruff teenage exterior as he tries to step into adult shoes, but is also brave and kind.

Tyler Howitt as Billy Costa, the youngest son of gyptian Ma Costa.

Ruta Gedmintas as Serafina Pekkala, queen of the Lake Enara clan, a 300-year-old witch with ties to the gyptians. Serafina believes that Lyra is the answer to the witch prophecy that will change the course of destiny.

Mat Fraser as Raymond van Gerrit, a gyptian who joins the fight for the missing children but knows it will push their resources and capabilities to their limits, and worries that John Faa is getting them into a fight they cannot win.

Geoff Bell as Jack Verhoeven, a gyptian who is relied upon and trusted in a fight, but who has a chip on his shoulder because of the way that gyptians are treated by the rest of society.

Simon Manyonda as Benjamin de Ruyter, a gyptian and talented spy driven to find the whereabouts of the missing children.

Voice talents include:

Helen McCrory (Harry Potter) voices Stelmaria, Lord Asriel’s (McAvoy) daemon which is a Snow Leopard.

David Suchet (Poirot) is Kaisa, gyrfalcon daemon to the witch Serafina Pekkala (played by Ruta Gedmintas).

Aeronaut Lee Scoresby’s (Miranda) daemon is an arctic hare called Hester, voiced by American comedian Cristela Alonzo and Lyra Belacqua’s (Keen) unsettled daemon, Pantalaimon, is voiced by Kit Connor (Rocketman).

Mrs Coulter’s (Wilson) mysterious daemon, a Golden Monkey, doesn’t speak or have a name but his animal noises and vocal characteristics will be created by Brian Fisher (Detective Pikachu), who also serves as the lead puppeteer and CFX Coordinator on the series.

Puppets were used on set to help the actors form a relationship with their daemon before being created in CGI by Framestore.

Iorek Byrnison, a bear who Lyra meets on her quest will be voiced by Joe Tandberg (The Innocents).

In the frozen wilderness of the North exists a race of armored bears (or panserbjørne). Both skilled metal workers and fierce warriors, they have their own culture and laws.

HIS DARK MATERIALS is produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema for HBO and BBC One. Executive producing the series are: Dan McCulloch, Jane Tranter, Joel Collins and Julie Gardner for Bad Wolf; Philip Pullman, Jack Thorne, Tom Hooper, Otto Bathurst; Deborah Forte, Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood for New Line Cinema; and Ben Irving and Piers Wenger for BBC One.

HBO is available on SKYcable Ch. 54 SD/Ch. 168 HD (for Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Lipa-Batangas) or on Ch. 402 SD/710 HD (for Bacolod, Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete, General Santos, Iloilo). SKYdirect subscribers can watch it on Ch. 22 HD. HBO Original Series as well as live channels are also available for streaming on HBO GO which is exclusively available to SKY subscribers. To subscribe, call 418-0000 or your local SKY office or fill up this form.

Show details and image provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Check out my posts on HBO shows:

The Jelly List: Book adaptations to stream on Amazon Prime Video

Adapting books to the screen has always been very challenging. Video is a vastly different medium from books, wherein the directive is to “show, not tell.” Scenes and internal dialogues painstakingly detailed in novels will be hard to interpret on the screen. Also, some novels, even though widely successful, might not have enough of a following to justify the expense in producing and marketing a feature film or a series on network television.

Fortunately, the massive popularity of over-the-top (OTT) services gave rise to book adaptations specifically for online and on-demand video streaming. Freed from the constraints of content and length for film and scheduling constraints of network TV, and taking advantage of the data gained through subscriptions and online transactions, multi-episode series covering increasingly edgy and conplex topics are being produced. These result to more freedom in storytelling and to more expansive and lived-in worlds for book lovers to reaquaint themselves with and for non-readers of the books to discover and grow to love.

Amazon Prime Video, the video-on-demand service operated by online retailer Amazon.com, has joined the fray in producing book adaptations that are sure to capture new audiences as well as further endear the works to their existing fans. Novels being adapted into Amazon Original Series include:

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet

Two of fantasy literature’s rock stars – Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett – collaborated on Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. The novel was a hilarious ride through the adventures of an angel and a demon who became friends and their efforts to stop Armageddon as heralded by the birth of an unwitting AntiChrist.

Its adaptation stars Michael Sheen as Aziraphale the Angel and David Tennant as Crowley the Demon. The miniseries premiered on May 31, 2019 and has received rave reviews on Rotten Tomatoes owing to Sheen and Tennant’s “very nearly holy (or maybe unholy?) chemistry.” Despite a petition – erroneously addressed to Netflix at that – to cancel the series, the production has received a slew of nominations in the Saturn Awards and the Primetime Emmys.

Jack Ryan based on the Jack Ryan Novels by Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character has had quite a good run in cinemas with winning portrayals from some of Hollywood’s top actors: from Alec Baldwin in Hunt for Red October, Harrison Ford in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, Ben Affleck in The Sum of All Fears, and Chris Pine in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

John Krasinski now portrays Jack Ryan in the Amazon series as a former Marine and financial analyst wrenched from the security of his desk job after discovering a string of dubious bank transfers and sets about matching his wits against rising a extremist named Suleiman. The series premiered on August 31, 2018 and has already been renewed for its second and third seasons.

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick’s novel The Man in the High Castle depicts an alternate reality wherein the Axis powers win World War II. Here, the United States was divided among Japan and Germany as the spoils of war: the Greater Nazi Reich in the East and the Japanese Pacific States to the West. Set in 1962, several years after the war, characters are tantalized by the writings of “the man in the high castle,” which hint at the truth that the Axis actually lost the war.

The series incorporates fantastical elements such as having “multiple Earths,” as can be seen in films collected by the titular “man in the high castle,” a mysterious leader of the resistance. The show’s pilot has been said to be “Amazon’s most watched” and has gained praise on Rotten Tomatoes as “unlike anything else on TV, with an immediately engrossing plot driven by fully developed characters in a fully-realized post-WWII dystopia.” The series premiered on November 20, 2015 with three seasons already released. It has also already been renewed for its fourth and final season.

Really, it’s a great time to be alive for book lovers who want to see their favorite tomes come alive on-screen.

What book do you want to see adapted to a series? Let me know in the comments.

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Limited Series MRS. FLETCHER debuts 28 October exclusively on HBO GO and HBO

Starring Kathryn Hahn (Emmy® nominee for “Transparent”; HBO’s forthcoming “I Know This Much Is True”) in the title role, MRS. FLETCHER, a seven-episode limited series debuting same time as the U.S. on Monday 28 October 10.30am (11.30am from 4 November), is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta. The episode encores at 11.30pm the same day on HBO. The series is a dual coming-of-age story chronicling the personal and sexual journeys of an empty-nest mother and her college freshman son, who both embrace their newfound freedom with mixed results.

As the series begins, Eve Fletcher (Kathryn Hahn), a mid-40s single mom who works as the executive director of a senior centre, drops her only child off at college and returns home to a very empty house. Meanwhile, Eve’s son Brendan (Jackson White), a popular (though sometimes clueless) jock, finds college is a little more complicated than he expected and struggles to make connections with his more socially and politically aware fellow students. As mother and son find themselves alone for the first time, this sharp, provocative series navigates themes of parenthood, sexuality, love, and identity in a cultural moment when attitudes about gender and sex are evolving rapidly.

The cast also includes Owen Teague, Katie Kershaw, Domenick Lombardozzi, Cameron Boyce, Jen Richards and Casey Wilson.

MRS. FLETCHER was created by Tom Perrotta; based on the book written by Tom Perrotta; executive producer/writer Tom Perrotta; executive producer Helen Estabrook.

HBO is available on SKYcable Ch. 54 SD/Ch. 168 HD (For Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Lipa-Batangas) or on Ch. 402 SD/710 HD (For Bacolod, Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Dumaguete, General Santos, Iloilo). SKYdirect subscribers can watch it on Ch. 22 HD. HBO Original Series as well as live channels are also available for streaming on HBO GO which is exclusively available to SKY subscribers. To subscribe, call 418-0000 or your local SKY office or fill in your details here.

Show details and image provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Check out my posts on HBO shows:

Complete Seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale to premiere in PH on HBO Go on September 15

In the Republic of Gilead, fertile women are conscripted to serve the new goverment’s high-ranking officials by bearing children for the infertile wives.  Called handmaids, they are identified by their red clothing, their slave names taken after the names of the commanders they are assigned to, and every month, the gruesome task of lying in between their commanders and their respective wives, hoping to get pregnant and thereby prove their worth to this new society.  Such is the world in The Handmaid’s Tale, a TV series based on Margaret Atwood’s award-winning dystopian novel.

The Handmaid's Tale S2

The Handmaid's Tale S1

The Handmaid's Tale S2

Filipino fans of the book will be able to watch and download all episodes of the Emmy® and Golden Globe Award-winning hit drama series on HBO Go, HBO’s online streaming service exclusively available in the Philippines to SKYcable subscribers, starting September 15.

Emmy® and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”, “Top of the Lake”), Joseph Fiennes (“American Horror Story: Asylum”, “Shakespeare in Love”), and Yvonne Strahovski (“Chuck”, “Dexter”) headline the series’ all-star cast.  Emmy Award-winning actress Alexis Bledel (“Gilmore Girls”), Madeline Brewer (“Orange Is the New Black”), Amanda Brugel (“Workin’ Moms”), Emmy Award-winning actress Ann Dowd (“Compliance”, HBO’s “The Leftovers”), O-T Fagbenle (“The Five”), Max Minghella (“The Mindy Project”), and Samira Wiley (“Orange is the New Black”) also play supporting roles. THE HANDMAID’S TALE was created for television by Bruce Miller (“The 100”), who is also the showrunner. Season Two of the series was executive produced by Miller, Warren Littlefield (“Fargo”), Moss, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears. The series is produced by MGM Television and internationally distributed by MGM.

The series’ second season was recently nominated for 20 Emmy® Awards, a series record.  It now becomes part of HBO Asia’s programming slate of Emmy® award-winning and nominated titles – bringing the best of Hollywood to Asia.

Series details and images provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Check out my other posts on HBO shows adapted from novels:

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You can also purchase the novel that the series is based on, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, at Amazon.com.

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TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s “Good Omens” to be released in 2019

The creatively twisted minds of two of Britain’s greatest modern fantasy writers produced Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (or more commonly known as just Good Omens). The fruit of a very successful collaboration between Neil Gaiman (“American Gods,” “The Graveyard Book,” and “Stardust“) and Sir Terry Prachett (“Discworld“) published in 1990, Good Omens is a quirky and entertaining novel that tells of the coming of the Apocalypse. The book is chock-full of humorous situations: from a witch’s super-accurate predictions of her execution, the birth and childhood of the AntiChrist in the English suburbs, the coming together of the Four Horsemen, and the mad antics of the legions of Heaven led by Aziraphale the Angel and Hell led by Crowley the Demon (both of whom happen to treat each other as friends) as they prepare for the endtimes.

I first read the book in the late 90’s and I did think the story would translate well onscreen.

A film adaptation was in fact planned in 2002 in which Robin Williams and Johnny Depp were set to star as Aziraphale and Crowley respectively but financing fell through.

A radio dramatization was aired in BBC Radio 4 in 2015, wherein Gaiman and Pratchett had cameo appearances.

Nearly two decades after first reading the book, I’m thrilled to find out that a TV adaptation is finally in the works, starring no less than Michael Sheen (“Underwold: Rise of the Lycans,” “Midnight in Paris“) as Aziraphale and David Tennant (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” “Broadchurch“) as Crowley.

This TV series couldn’t have come at a better time, being the new Golden Age of Television, and judging from the recent success of the TV series based on another Neil Gaiman novel, American Gods.

The 6-episode series will be released on Amazon Prime in 2019, followed by a conventional broadcast on BBC Two.

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Top 3 book-to-movie adaptations coming in 2018

Adapting books to the silver screen makes sense for movie producers. For one thing, the story is already laid out: the characters, setting and the plot have been thought out by the author. Another advantage is that successful novels, from the classics to contemporary bestsellers, already have a following, an audience that is eager to relive their favorite narratives via the big-screen.

If you’re a fan of these books, you’ll be glad to know that they’ll have their turn at the cinema. For movie lovers who don’t mind spoilers, reading the books that these films are based on prior to their theatrical release will enrich the viewing experience.

The Little Stranger by Sarah Walters

In post-World War II Britain, a country doctor with humble beginnings is called to visit a patient in the 18th century estate of the local gentry where more than just the past haunts him and its inhabitants.

Released in 2009, Sarah Walters’ gothic novel explores the themes of evil and social class in a society in upheaval.

The movie directed by Lenny Abrahamson stars Domnhall Gleeson (“About Time,” “Ex Machina”), Ruth Wilson (“The Affair,” “Luther”), and Will Poulter (“The Revenant,” “The Maze Runner”). It will be released in cinemas on August 31, 2018.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

In this continuation/reboot of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist match their wits against spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.

The film directed by Fede Alvarez stars Claire Foy (“The Crown,” “Season of the Witch”), Sverir Gudnasson (“Wallander,” “Gentlemen”) and Stephen Merchant (“Logan,” “The Office”). Its theatrical run starts on November 8, 2018.

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

In a post-apocalyptic world, cities survive by moving around on giant wheels, attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources.

Directed by Christian Rivers, longtime collaborator of producer and co-writer Peter Jackson, the film stars Hera Hilmar (“Da Vinci’s Demons,” “Life in a Fishbowl”), Robert Sheehan (“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” “Love/Hate”) and Hugo Weaving (“The Lord of the Rings Trilogy,” “The Matrix Trilogy”). It will be released on December 14, 2018.

Movie details were taken from their respective IMDB pages. Official movie trailers were embedded from Youtube.

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Film adaptation of Tan Twan Eng’s novel The Garden of Evening Mists has commenced filming

In a recent media event, Malaysian film production company Astro Shaw, together with its partner HBO Asia, announced that filming has started for the movie adaptation of Tan Twan Eng’s 2012 award-winning novel The Garden of Evening Mists.

The film is set in two timelines: the early 1980s wherein the protagonist Teoh Yun Ling (played by Taiwanese actress-director-producer Sylvia Chang) takes stock of her life due to the onset of aphasia; and the 1950s wherein the younger Yun Ling (played by Malaysian actress Lee Sinje) deals with survivor’s guilt after the war and enters a relationship with Japanese gardener Nakamura Aritomo (played by Japanese actor Hiroshi Abe) who helps her build a garden in memory of her sister Yun Hong (played by Serene Lim) who died while they were at an interment camp. British actors David Oakes (The White Queen, Victoria), Julian Sands (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and John Hannah (Four Weddings and A Funeral and The Mummy trilogy) also join the cast.

Najwa Abu Bakar, Head of Astro Shaw said “The film will feature a stellar international cast and crew, including Malaysian talents in key acting and production roles. Over two-thirds of the cast and crew are made up of Malaysians, signalling Astro’s commitment to nurturing local talents for international exposure. We are also privileged to work with talents of diverse backgrounds from Taiwan, Japan, India and Australia to showcase Malaysia’s unique voice through Tan Twan Eng’s award winning novel, TGOEM. The lyrical and beautiful story captivates its readers with the mesmerising beauty of Malaya after World War II, and we are confident that the vivid adaptation will resonate among Asian audiences and beyond, due to many similarities in shared culture, language and history.”

Jessica Kam, Senior Vice President, HBO Asia Original Productions, HBO Asia said, “HBO Asia is committed to ramping up its slate of original productions which includes both TV series as well as high quality films. We are thrilled to partner with Astro Shaw to produce this extraordinary feature film with a Malaysian soul by world class film professionals, and to showcase it to our audience on our digital, linear and on-demand platforms across 23 territories in Asia and beyond.”

The movie, currently being filmed in various locations in Malaysia including the scenic landscapes of Cameron Highland’s famed tea plantations, is slated to have a theatrical world premiere in 2019.

Image and movie details provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Check out Tan Twan Eng’s books on Amazon.com.

Love books and reading? Try Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. Get your first month FREE.

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No time to read? Listen to your favorite books instead while you drive, run, shop, and more.  Try Audible for free for 30 days and get two free audiobooks.