The BBC's adaptation of Eleanor Catton's prize-winning novel The Luminaries aired its first episode last night (21 June) and the New Zealand-set period drama has had mixed reviews.
The show, which stars the likes of Eva Green (Casino Royale) and Himesh Patel (Yesterday), is described by the BBC as "an epic adventure mystery based on the Man Booker prize-winning novel of the same name. Set on the wild West coast of New Zealand’s South Island at the height of the 1860s gold rush, The Luminaries tells an intricately woven, suspenseful tale of love, murder, magic, and revenge."
Speaking about what attracted him to the drama, Himesh Patel added:
"The breadth of the story in terms of the characters that hail from all over the world. In telling a story of New Zealand, and the history of New Zealand, it tells a story of other parts of the world, because people came to New Zealand from across the globe. There is also a slight element of fantasy. It’s a very interesting mix of things."
The first episode divided viewers, with some complaining the scenes were too dark.
I enjoyed #TheLuminaries @BBCOne but, whilst I value historical authenticity, I would have appreciated better lighting throughout so you could actually SEE what was going on in key scenes! pic.twitter.com/A1KeGoKwc3— Rakshita Patel (@MycroftBrolly) June 21, 2020
Lost interest about 15 mins into it. Far to dark in certain scenes, that I couldn’t see what was happening. Can’t say I’m fussed by this drama at all 🥱😴 #TheLuminaries— Clare Hancock (@chancockuk) June 21, 2020
Can't take much more of this. Gloomy, unclear and dark scenes where someone unknown and barely visible does something you can't make out.#TheLuminaries— Enemywithin (@BryanFerriman) June 21, 2020
Giving #TheLuminaries a go, but it’s looking dreadfully like one of those series where it’s perpetually dark and I can’t actually see anything that’s happening!— PipLee (@PipLee10) June 21, 2020
Others took to social media to say they felt the adaptation was confusing to follow.
I had to concentrate hard when I read The Luminaries but this TV version is even more confusing. Got to re read #TheLuminaries— Mrs H (@delirioushappy) June 21, 2020
I was a little disappointed in #TheLuminaries tonight. I read the book back in 2013, loved it, and while I have forgotten some details, this feels quite different. A little confusing, and mumbly. The book is definitely better, though I might give episode 2 a chance.— Ali Hope book addict (@Heaven_ali) June 21, 2020
Reminds me a lot of Dublin Murders so far, massively confusing early on but clarity will come if you stick with it #TheLuminaries— Matt W (@Clavdivs1) June 21, 2020
However other fans were impressed, calling the new drama intriguing and pledging to stick with the adaptation as it airs its following episodes.
Really enjoyed that first episode. A great cast too. #TheLuminaries— ᗪᗩᑎ 🇫🇷 (@AgntWanda) June 21, 2020
Really enjoyed #TheLuminaries can’t understand why people can’t follow it, just watch and usually all is revealed..— Ellen (@ImEllenC) June 21, 2020
Loved the Luminaries! Sumptuous and intriguing, can’t wait to see what unfolds. #TheLuminaries— Jane_Holst (@Jane_Holst) June 21, 2020
For those enjoying the new drama, they don't have long to wait for episode two, as it airs tonight (22 June) at 9pm on BBC One.
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