(For HBO, this is the post-“Thrones” era. “Game of Thrones” — shown here — is gone; one of its prequels has been nixed. The next epic fantasy? There’s “Watchmen” at 9 p.m. Sunday and now “His Dark Materials,” debuting at 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4. Here’s a look at Lin-Manuel Miranda — yes, the “Hamilton” guy — who is the show’s co-star and its superfan.)
By Mike Hughes
Lin-Manuel Miranda was talking to TV critics, which was familiar turf.
He had met the Television Critics Association back in 2013, when he was the co-star of … well, something or other.
“The legendary ‘Do No Harm’ … The lowest-rated show in the history of NBC,” Miranda recalled.
That’s an exaggeration, but not by much; no one wanted to see a modern “Dr. Jekyl” tale. So what has he been up to since then? “Just odds and ends,” he said. “Song-and-dance man about town.”
Also, saving Broadway … trying to save TV shows and Puerto Rico … boosting Disney … making movies … being the youngest Kennedy Center Honors winner ever … and now co-starring in “His Dark Materials,” which starts Monday on HBO.
That’s based on Philip Pullman’s novels. “I was a fan of those books,” Miranda told the TCA in July. “When my wife and I started dating, we read these books together.”
A lot has happened since then. She became a lawyer, he became a Broadway powerhouse – a Tony for “In the Heights” (which has now been turned into a movie), Tonys for everything in “Hamilton.”
He’s been busy, but took time for “His Dark Materials,” where he’s merely a supporting player.
The star is Dafne Keen, 14, who sees this as a key step. “We don’t usually have young-woman leads … especially (one) who is so strong and is so determined.”
That’s Lyra, who, screenwriter Jack Thorne said, “is constantly interested in one thing and one thing only – doing the right.”
Searching for her friend, she goes through alternate dimensions. She meets people who are bad – Ruth Wilson jokingly calls her character “the cesspit of moral filth” – and good.
The latter includes Lee Scoresby, a heroic balloonist in the novels. He’s played by Miranda, who’s been busy lately – co-starring in one Disney film (“Mary Poppins Returns”) while writing songs for others … directing a movie musical (“Tick, Tick, Boom”) … pushing support for cancelled TV shows (“One Day at a Time” and “Brooklyn 99,” both returning) and for Puerto Rico, his parents’ homeland.
He’s also preparing a TV documentary on one of the island’s most famous natives, Rita Moreno. He’s gotten busier since his “Do No Harm” days.