So, how does this version of The Chronicles Of Narnia fare when compared to said recent adaptations? Well, at times, the series can be pretty captivating (providing you like seeing children’s novels in action, that is) — whereas other times it can be as dull as an Amish bachelor party. The special effects border on passable to being downright deserving of a facepalm (to reiterate: late ’80s BBC TV), whilst the acting and writing itself usually manages to keep the oft-hit-and-miss series together in general. Sure, we all hate child actors (well, I do), but the lads and lasses featured in The Chronicles Of Narnia (Richard Dempsy, Sophie Cook, Sophie Wilcox, David Thwaites, et al) do an admirable job, nonetheless. The series includes notable guest appearances by the likes of Tom Baker (of Doctor Who fame), Barbara Kellerman, and Warwick Davis (among others).
Much like the quality of the series itself, the audio and video aspects of Warner’s release of The Chronicles Of Narnia vary. This was made for British television during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s — long before the days of High Definition — so you have to accept that it won’t look spectacular now and have done with. The same pretty much goes for the audio side of this release. In terms of special features, the set boasts an extra disc of bonus materials, which includes “Past Watchful Dragons,” an interview with J.R.R. Tolkien biographer Humphrey Carpenter about C.S. Lewis; interviews with the cast from the original broadcast dates as well as a 2003 reunion; behind-the-scenes featurettes; a gallery, and even a couple of outtakes.
On the whole, the BBC‘s The Chronicles Of Narnia isn’t the greatest series in the world. Fans of the original books may enjoy it more than others, while some purists might just sit and cringe through a lot of it. Either way, though, it’s worth a shot — just so you can judge for yourself if nothing else.