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Where Childhood's End succeeds is that it balances its convention and its twists in fairly equal measure.
Clarke's novel is an ambitious project to film, but even with some strong moments, the ambition outstrips the execution and viewers may not feel compelled to get to the second installment.
Some of the original tale's poetic, deceptively detached tone remains, but this miniseries ends up feeling derivative of the films and TV shows that have come in Childhood's End's wake.
Childhood's End is great looking, with impressive special effects. It's also extremely slow, at least in the two hours previewed, and none of the characters is especially engaging.
Syfy's adaptation plays with Clarke's plot and themes but does so in such a leaden, DOA way that it's almost like a grade-school paper from someone who didn't read the assignment.
Will everything come together by the third night? Will Clarke's visionary book make sense? (Or will this turn into total nonsense?) Unknown, but at least there's enough promise here to hint that it's worth waiting to find out.
Though the technically glossy Childhood's End tends to favor obviously broad strokes [...] it's unafraid to poke into Clarke's darker ideas.
Childhood's End's special effects are marvellous and credibly incredible, till the appearance of Satan Karellen whose roguish red drag looks like something an amateur seamstress would knock up to go to a costume party.
Childhood's End is as much about the puzzling but beautiful moments along the way as it is the ultimate conclusion.
The absorbing three-part Childhood's End (airing through Wednesday) plays like a deluxe Twilight Zone miniseries.
The story, compressed into fewer years, might have had greater impact played over two nights, but it's still able to thrill - and chill.
Audience Reviews for Childhood's End: Season 1
Jan 29, 2021♦️ Unfortunately budgetary constraints prevented the story from being told correctly. The story is a great concept. It seems that books translated into movies almost always get shorted in the funding. ♦️
Dec 07, 2020It's hard to describe - certainly mysterious.
Jan 02, 2019I have never been a Syfy channel lover, they have rarely come up to anything "good" within the sci-fi genre, but this show is amazing! I'd recommend this to anyone whether you like sci-fi or not its still a great show.
Nov 27, 2017"Childhood's End" presents remarkable special effects, absorbing cinematography & thrilling scenery. Acting-wise it's good although the characters, with some exceptions, don't seem to evolve that much. Not having read the book, the show's story is definitely thought-provoking & makes you question the grand scheme of things. Some elements did remain unanswered or were rather explained but not as clearly as viewers would expect. All things considered, "Childhood's End" is a satisfying Sci-Fi mini-series.
Sep 08, 2017The first part of this miniseries was a fine version of SF novel masterpiece but then after second episodes I was very upset. Twisted plot with irrational scenes lots of stupid dialogues and very boring. Nice special effects and thats all. If you want good SF series with alien invasion please check Falling Skies or V.
Apr 26, 2017This was a very intriguing miniseries to watch. It looked pretty decent for a TV movie budget. The ending felt a bit rushed to me, but overall I think that this was well worth the time investment to watch it. I was pleasantly surprised. I just wanted more of it.
Jun 20, 2016The first 2 hour episode was decent. Made me want to watch the next 2-2 hour episodes. However....the broken story lines, and completely irrelevant situations that were over-explained to death, made it nearly unbearable to watch. I was excited with the first episode, losing interest in the second, and completely disappointed by the third. If (and I highly doubt) they ever try to bring this back or make more episodes, I will be sure to avoid poisoning my eyes.
Mar 25, 2016Love it, The first episode is very mysterious and the ending is nuts. gripping I'm glad they did it the way they did with three hour and a half episodes. Usually don't like that, cuz of tv shows like Taken. Jheez that was a struggle. But three episodes was fine. I compared it to charlie brookers black mirror sorta vibes. good shit
Mar 04, 2016Pitch meeting: Let's take the book's total mind-f of an ending and make it the cold open of our mini-series. Why? No! You lost me at 'hello.'
Feb 22, 2016Recently I was confronted with a very enjoyable coincidence. I began re-creating my library of paperback science fiction and fantasy books that I enjoyed as a child in order to revisit them on my iPad, were the first ones I added something that I hadnt read in several decades, Arthur C. Clarkes Childhood's End. With considerable joy I revisited one of the stories that ignited my lifelong love of the genre. Not long after I finished a written announcement that the SyFy network was going to broadcast the novel as a miniseries. With my interest piqued I anxiously awaited its release. I fully realized that any piece of literature is transferred to another medium some dramatic license will be necessary. Still, I hope that it would be done with sufficient respect for the venerable story created by one of the true masters of Science fiction. Within a few minutes of the first three episodes I realized not only was I not disappointed that I was elated at how the essence of the story survive the translation intact. In recent years the Syfy network has been dividing its original programming with their frequently cringe-worthy Saturday night specials, low budget flicks dedication to become guilty pleasures aficionados of the creature feature on one end of the spectrum and adaptations science fiction classics such as this on the other end. In a very real sense this channel has become one of the most remarkable to be found on your cable programming guide. When something new is being premiered the offering may run the gamut something like Sharknado to a reinterpretation of a seminal novel science fiction such as this. In a similar fashion to the novel the story is presented in three sections. Each one relates the part of the story concerning mankinds first encounter with a far superior extraterrestrial form of life. In the first episode, The Overlords the audience is taken to the far distant future where Milo Rodericks (Osy Ikhile), lamentably states that he is the last dividing human being describing the ruins of a post-apocalyptic planet, Earth. The narrative then as far back in time to 2016 when mankind received the answer to that age-old question, "are we alone in the universe." Over dozens of Earths major cities a fleet of alien spacecraft appear, ominously hovering above the confused humans below. Soon around the entire globe a message from the mysterious aliens is given. It is received in every language used by mankind with the speaker identifying himself as Karellen (Charles Dance) was been assigned a position of Earths supervisor. The assures the girl didnt frighten population that their intention is entirely peaceful and they are there to spend share the highly advanced technology so that mankind can live in a global paradise.in the first major departure from the book the Overlords borrow a few techniques from other well-known sci-fi works. Planes in flight halt in mid-air while all around the globe the unworldly voice emanates from regular people each one speaking in their naïve language. For reason that most of mankind point suspicious The Supervisor refuses to reveal himself in public but instead selects one human being to serve as his race s spokesman. The person given this review responsibility is a man who works his family farm in the Midwest of the United States, Ricky Stormgren (Mike Vogel). Hailed as a profit by some initially many were dubious of the fantastic promises of peace, health and prosperity the unseen Overlords guaranteed. Steadily world conditions improved; the Overlords never intervened unless their instructions were blatantly ignoring their instructions. There is one group, the Freedom League that gains significant notoriety found a thriving community, New Athens, rejecting the technological advances. The side effect of the Deus ex machina solutions to mankinds perennial problems is man no longer has to strive for themselves. The belief that this has stifled human creativity and scientific curiosity does have some undeniable merit. Of course there are also some humans such as Rupert Boyce (Julian McMahon), who swift to garner favor with the extraterrestrials, embracing their intervention and offering his considerable human resources to them. People like Milo that have always been driven by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and inclined to embrace human ingenuity and the scientific method have found themselves completely unnecessary. Milo had diligently applied himself to reach his goal of the American space program just as it was abolished. The teleplay is constructed in such a fashion that these qualities help the audience understand some of Milos radical decisions. This brings us to the second episode, The Deceivers, where Boyce runs a vast institute that currently is assisting the Overlords in collecting samples of the plethora of terrestrial life, placing them in stasis and shipping them back to their home world, a journey of about 43 years. This institute is crucial to the covert real objective of the Overlords ultimately identifying a child, still in utero, who will serve as a catalyst for the final stage of humanitys maturation. At long last the Overlords reveal themselves and it becomes clear why they required a generation to pass, they are the prototypical manifestation of the devil, horns, red hide, hoofs wings and pointy tail. The reactions of the remaining religious factions are understandable but decades of utopia have made people conducive to acceptance. Well, some reactionaries remain but are easily handled. The third act, The Children, depicts the final stage of humanity as the children all over the world begin to exhibit extraordinary abilities and are joined as if of a single mind by the one special girl. This book and its themes have provided the foundation for some of the greatest works in the genre. One that comes immediately to mind is a series of novels by Julian May, particularly Intervention. The book remains a literary treasure but it was written due the height of the height of the anti-communism sentiment in this county and at the precipice of the Cold war. The request changes for translation to this means of presentation did afford the opportunity to make some alterations to enhance the experience for a modern audience. The epitome of the story remains including the emotional and psychological impact infused within the third act. The concept so natural to us all; wanting a better life for our children is taken to the ultimate extreme here. While I still prefer the novel, and not merely on a sentimental basis, this production is one of the better offerings by the SyFy Channel. I understand that they have the production rights to some of the most influential books in science fiction and I sincerely hope they expand upon this format. A single movie couldnt possibly do justice to these stories but miniseries and limited one season formats are increasingly common and allow the time these novels deserve, this show demonstrates that the network is defiantly on the right track.