‘His Dark Materials’: HBO Age Rating & Parents Guide


If you’re planning to watch the premiere of HBO’s His Dark Materials tonight, you might be wondering about the age rating for the series. Here are the parents guide recommendations that are out so far.

The series got a huge start in the UK on Sunday night, with 7.2 million viewers watching live on BBC One. This was the BBC’s biggest new drama launch in five years, Deadline reported. But is it appropriate for your child to watch?

HBO’s Age Rating Is TV-14

HBO’s current age rating for His Dark Materials is TV-14. That means it’s considered appropriate for ages 14 and up. It’s interesting because five months ago, HBO’s age rating was listed as TV-MA (ages 17+), according to this Reddit discussion thread.

At the time, Redditor u/Antee991166 wrote: “Not entirely sure I’m happy about this to be honest. The books definitely have some very dark material in them and I’m glad that the TV series doesn’t seem to be shying away from that. But at the same time, this is a series that I and I’m sure a great many of you first discovered as children or teenagers and its one of the reasons why the material of the series resonated so deeply with me. I would find it kind of sad if a new generation of young people, who haven’t read the books or seen the film are not considered the target audience and as a result will be less likely to watch it.” 

Someone else commented that there are some “fairly gruesome moments” in the books.

But now it appears that HBO’s age rating has been lowered, rating it as appropriate for ages 14+.

IMDb’s parents guide provides more guidance. In Brazil it’s rated for ages 16+ and in France ages 10+. There is no sex and nudity. Violence and gore is rated as mild, profanity is rated as mild, alcohol drugs and smoking is rated as mild, and frightening and intense scenes are rated as mild.

If you have a younger child, you might want to watch the episodes first. But HBO seems assured that anyone ages 14 or older should be fine to watch this series.

The series is based on Philip Pullman’s fantasy-themed trilogy. ScreenRant notes that some aspects of the series might be upsetting for younger children. Jane Tanter, the series’ producer, said the series was produced “for adults which children can watch.” With little bad language too, ScreenRant supposes the TV-14 rating is due to some scenes where people are in danger (such as children being kidnapped), religious content that gets heavy at times, and some mild violence. A lot of the violence seen may depend on how later scenes in the book are depicted in future episodes.

HBO’s synopsis for the series reads: “Based on author Philip Pullman’s beloved trilogy, His Dark Materials follows Lyra, a brave young woman from another world. Lyra’s quest to find her kidnapped friend leads her to uncover a sinister plot of a secret organization, encounter extraordinary beings and protect dangerous secrets.”

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