The next Game of Thrones? Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ vs HBO’s ‘His Dark Materials’

witcher-his-dark-materialsAfter HBO ended its epic series Game of Thrones after the eighth season, fans of the show have been dealing with a void in their life that they never knew existed until they didn’t have the George RR Martin adaptation to love and hate (for the final season, at least). Networks and streaming platforms are now jostling to fill this demand with adaptations of literary sagas and game series that have a grown a strong following over the years.

While HBO is still working on the three Game of Thrones prequels that they optioned from author George RR Martin, they have already begun filming for the adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, an epic trilogy split into three installments — The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and finally, The Amber Spyglass. The series, co-produced by HBO and BBC, is set to premiere later this year.

Here’s a first look at the trailer of His Dark Materials:

Thoughts: Cinematically, I would not expect that HBO or BBC would scrimp on the production of this series because of the hype that comes with another book saga adaptation. With the likes of James McAvoy, Manuel Lin Miranda and Ruth Wilson joining the cast, I have no doubt that the series will be lacking in the talent department.

After Game of Thrones‘ less than stellar conclusion though, the best news about His Dark Materials for me was that the saga was already complete, meaning producers have a clear grasp of the direction of the series from beginning to end, even before they   embarked on the project.

Unlike The Golden Compass film released in 2007 topbilled by Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman though, the HBO series takes on a more serious tone and will definitely have enough time to flesh out the novel to fill in the blanks left hanging by the film franchise that never quite materialized when the first movie did not make enough in the box office. His Dark Materials is the exploration of what could have been. And I think book fans appreciate this chance for what its worth.

Personally though, I’m more excited about Iorek Byrnison, the armored bear that becomes the companion, friend and protector of lead character Lyra Belacqua.

I will definitely check this out and sufficiently manage my expectations.

The Witcher 

Thoughts: After quitting the DC Expanded Universe (DCEU) to concentrate on his own series, Netflix’s The Witcher, it seems that actor Henry Cavill has a lot riding on his shoulders.

First off, he will he have to meet video game fans’ expectations when he takes on the role of Geralt of Rivia. Not only will game fans know this character like the back of their hand, but Cavill also needs to deliver on the gamble that Netflix has thrown into the epic fantasy genre.  What’s more, the game was actually based on a Polish novel by Andrzej Sapkowski so the series needs to meet the expectations of fans from two platforms — books and games.

Netflix simply describes The Witcher as an epic tale of fate and family. Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts.

Pretty basic, but very smart to keep fans guessing . This way,  they don’t get to prejudge the series with only the limited materials being released by the streaming giant.

With multiple story arcs to tap , Netflix has a wealth of possibilities to explore for sure.  The key will definitely be finding a balance between compelling writing and seamless balance of live action and CGI to make this series work. Netflix smartly hedged its bets on this by tapping Game of Thrones director Alik Sakharov and Outlander director Charlotte Brandstrom, with Daredevil‘s Lauren Schmidt Hissrich as showrunner. Those are the most successful shows on the genre they seek to dominate so you know Netflix isn’t kidding around with this project.

I am both excited and afraid for the eight-episode The Witcher series which is expected to premiere this autumn on Netflix. The good news is that its all going to be released in one go so you can binge after you start the first episode with no problem at all.

Check out the full trailer released in time with the San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC) .

What about you? Are you excited about these upcoming fantasy series from Netflix and HBO?