Childhood's End Miniseries Thoughts

The SyFy cable channel (Sharknado!) just concluded it's 3 night miniseries event adapting Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhood's End, which has been one of my favorite books for many years. This was most definitely not Sharknado, rather it was a substantially-budgeted retelling of the original story for a TV audience more than 60 years later.


I was both excited and apprehensive when I learned that this was being made, and wondered if it would work and how it would be received (since the gigantic-alien-vessels-hovering-over-major-cities trope has been pulled out in several other movies and TV shows since 1953).

I won't go into a great deal of detail here, as whether you have read the book or not, I'd hate to spoil things for you if you have not seen the show yet. In general SyFy gave us a great-looking and quite atmospheric presentation. 

Quite a lot of things are shuffled around or outright changed/removed/added from the original. In many cases, I defer to the script writers in adapting this for the screen, in others I was puzzled, and in a couple, disappointed.

I don't know if being familiar with the original story (I read it again earlier this year) messed me up, but I found some of the scenes in the SyFy version rather confusing or obscure. Again, someone coming to this "fresh" may not have that issue.

The pacing of the story seemed a little "off" to me, and I can't put my finger on it - it may be that a couple of the added storylines drew me out of things, not sure. The main "beats" of the original story were well done, though - the arrival of the aliens and the changes they start to bring, the appearance of the main alien character (a rather critical plot point), the children changing, the visit to the alien's home world. 

It's not a "happy" story by any stretch, although in an odd way it is hopeful or at least uplifting. It was a good effort by SyFy, and I thank them for putting the time and money into this, as it looked pretty great throughout. The realization of the main alien character Karellan, in particular, was handled well - and that was a bit of a litmus test for me.

A solid "B" grade for me, with an "A" for effort.

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