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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Old Arthur must be retching in his grave. They've taken his good hard science fiction and turned it into mush and ooey-gooey. But then, I should have known better than to expect Syfy would do justice to Childhood's End. Why did they EVEN bother? The original novel was published in 1953. Would younger viewers who haven't read it even be interested in a TV version? Because readers of the book, who would welcome one, may suffer severe intestinal distress watching this massive disappointment.

    Clarke's original story is really unfilmable without modern CGI. You couldn't do justice to the Overlords and their home planet without it. So great, is this a miniseries using the latest CGI to be true to the story? No siree, bob. We want to make Childhood's End, but we're SYFY. So it'll be just like the book, but completely different.

    Brilliant as the novel is, it was published in 1953, and so any adaptation for the screen would need a lot of updating. That's fine, but that's not what's happened here. The original plot has been mangled beyond recognition. The novel's characters are people of all ages and several nationalities, including Finnish, French, Scottish, Trinidadian, and South African. No, that won't do; our viewers won't IDENTIFY. So let's change ALL the characters into the demographic we're targeting: Earnest young and youngish Americans with personal problems, angst, and RELATIONSHIPS. We GOTTA give them RELATIONSHIPS. So we introduce a whole slew of touchy-feely subplots inhabited by new characters (all women, see below) and furthermore, they've gotta SUFFER, or it's boring. Never mind that this pushes Clarke's grand story of alien arrival and human transformation into the background while characters are busy emoting in the foreground. This is Arthur C. Clarke as rewritten by Shonda Rimes. Steak has been turned into Jello.

    Clarke wrote "hard" science fiction. And his readers know that, for better or worse, practically all his stories are about men; women are usually subordinate characters, rarely of major importance. Clarke was great at the "beyond the infinite" stuff, but touchy-feely he most definitely was not. RELATIONSHIPS almost never advance Clarke's plots. If the producers wanted to introduce female characters into the story, they should have made some of the male characters women. That would have worked just fine. A principal character in the book, Rikki Stormgren, the 60-year-old Finnish Secretary General of the UN, is transformed into Ricky Stormgren, a 35-year-old Missouri farmer. Why? 'Cause 60-year-old Finns aren't sexy, that's why. The writers also gift Ricky with a dead first wife who comes back to him in Overlord-created visions, a live second wife who's not happy with the situation, infertility, and a fatal disease caused by exposure to Overlord technology. And when comes at last the death scene and you think that the maudlin is maxed out, they pile on more: Karellen suspends Ricky at the moment of death, and the whole thing drags on for minutes longer, so Ricky can mourn his dead wife all over again and have a last chat with Karellen, while ethereal Vienna Boys' Choir-type music plays. It really is that bad.

    There is a lot of really annoying agonizing by people of faith that wasn't in the book; that's bad; but one of the female agonizers actually SHOOTS AND KILLS an Overlord; that's worse. And THEN, the Overlord is brought back to life through an act of sacrifice by one of the humans. Another character is brought back to life as well, AND healed of his paraplegia, in another treacly backstory that wasn't in the book. That character was at least in the original story, although again, he's almost unrecognizable, and of course in the film, he has a RELATIONSHIP. Just like Clarke's original novel, only completely different.

    The Overlords do a lot of "Close Encounters" stuff that they never did in the book, where the manifestations of their power are much subtler and more interesting. Clarke's Overlords are much bigger than humans, at least 9 or 10 feet tall, black not red, and they have small wings because their home planet has much lower gravity than Earth (hence the remark about CGI above). In the book, we meet several Overlords; but in this TV version, there are only two: Karellen on Earth and Vindarten on the Overlord homeworld, because they couldn't get away with just one Overlord (if they could've, they would've). When you see the actors in full Overlord regalia, you know why: Making up and costuming more than two actors like that wasn't in the budget. Clarke brilliantly portrays Karellen as a being whose full mental powers are beyond human comprehension. He is wise, noble and always master of every situation. He never makes mistakes, never visits anyone in a barn, never says anything as stupid as "My bad," and never puts himself in physical jeopardy. On Syfy, Karellen doesn't act like a superbeing whose gifts approach the divine; as played by Charles Dance, he acts and talks like a weary English professor who has seen and heard everything and is just trying to hang on until retirement.

    The climax and anticlimax are as badly botched as the rest of the piece, with the entire sequence on the Overlord homeworld – which admittedly would have been tough to do under any circumstances, but not impossible – cut out and replaced by a quick tete-a-tete with the Overmind, which is something that could never happen in the original. And the writers have replaced Clarke's words with some of the most banal dialogue you will ever hear on TV, and that's saying something.

    This miniseries misses being a successful adaptation of Childhood's End by several light-years. Clarke aficionados must face the likelihood that no one will ever have both the will and the means to bring the real thing to any screen, large or small.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I read the novel in the summer of 1968, right after seeing '2001: A Space Odyssey'; its story was far superior to the '2001' tale. After reading, I figured this novel could not, or would not, ever be made into a movie. It was just too vast and took place over such a long period of time. Over the years, I have read numerous articles that a movie was being pondered or whatever, and finally, after 47 years, we have this movie. Only problem, it was so disappointing. What was 'wrong' with the movie? Here are some examples: 1. Way too much time focused on the central character and his problems/memories/suffering. No hint of this 'misery' anywhere in the novel. A BIG waste of time. 2. Too much 'poetic license' from the actual novel; the main character was entirely different, with a different background, age, etc. The Overlords, while being definitely satanic in appearance, were not written with the outlandish 'ram horns'; they were supposed to be small 'satan' horns. These horns made the Overlords look ridiculous. But, the other aspects, such as the wings, tail, red skin, etc., were spot on. 3. Way too much emphasis on the 'anti-religion' theme. This was hinted in the novel, but was never splashed across the entire novel as it was in the movie. 4. The fifteen year time period before seeing the Overlords was actually 50 years in the novel: one generation as Sir Clarke wrote it. 5. The A-bomb church scene was not in the novel; this was a really dumb scene, with a very dumb premise. 6. Most importantly, the 'feel', as several other reviewers have noted, was totally different between the novel and the movie. If you read the novel, it is not depressing or fatalistic like the movie. After reading the book, I felt a sense of wonder, awe, contentment, and yes, satisfaction, which is no way what I felt after watching the three movies. If you didn't like the movie, read the book; you will NOT be disappointed! Maybe, someday, someone will make a movie which will do this great novel justice. We can only hope, and I just hope I live long enough!
  • petermason-3002322 December 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    Two things: 1. The weird hallucinatory sequence in the hotel for the dying "prophet/hero" was a shout-out to Kubrick's 2001. Am I the only person that saw this? It was the same deal of a guy looking at himself, as he was dying. That was for me the creepiest (Kubrick was always creepy) and most effective part of 2001.

    2. I am old. I read the book when I was young. It was great, but now the meaning has changed. The theme of children evolving and surpassing their parents is much more relevant to me now as my daughter reaches adulthood, and nonchalantly kicks my ass, as well she should. As our technology evolves to the point that our youngsters really could blow us geezers off and go wild with a person/machine evolution, don't you wish that Charles Dance (or Tywin Lannister) was around to help us to deal with it?

    Forget the aliens. We have met the enemy, or friend, you decide. It is us. I have to think that Clarke was thinking about this.
  • davidwthompson5 January 2016
    SyFy has turned a great science fiction book into trash! There was no love story associated with Ricci in the novel! SyFy fabricated a love story and used what seemed like an hour or two to expound upon it. Total waste of air time. In my opinion this SyFy trash is less plausible than the book. Ricci, a farmer, chosen instead of the head of the UN? Enemies suddenly becoming friends? When I read the book I felt uplifted--happy. When we watched the TV series we were left totally depressed! Arthur C Clarke is throwing a fit in his grave! This series is a dis-service to Clarke and the whole segment of science fiction literature in my opinion. Please do not let SyFy anywhere near the Rama series--my all time favorite.
  • Not a perfect adaptation by any means, but this is head and shoulders above the "Sharknado"-type schlock that the SyFy Channel usually produces.

    It's been decades since I read the source novel, so I cannot speak to a lot of specifics, but the changes I did notice seemed unimportant, if a bit arbitrary; the human representative is now a random farmer, rather than the UN Secretary General, for example. However, I do know that this adaptation evokes much the same "feel" that I recall from Clarke's famous novel.

    Those who have not read the book may think that one infamous "surprise" (the appearance of the aliens, which I won't spoil here) is typical of SyFy cheesiness, but you have to recall that in 1958, when the novel was published, this would have been a relatively original twist, especially in a society that was much more religious than our current one. (Incidentally: kudos to the makeup man.)

    The criticism some have made about the slow pacing of the story is valid; however, I would prefer to think of it more as "patient" than simply slow. This certainly COULD have been tightened up to two episodes, but losing some of the emotional scenes (not to mention the gorgeous music with which they were scored) would have been a shame.

    This is not "Independence Day" or "Star Wars." When you are in the mood for that kind of escapist sci-fi, "Childhood's End" will not satisfy you. But it was very well done for what it is: a thoughtful reverie from the mind of one of the golden-age masters.

    I like a good monster-of the week movie as much as the next guy (maybe more) but this new mature side also looks good on you, SyFy Channel. Congrats, and keep it up.
  • lmahesa15 December 2015
    9/10
    Wow.
    I just watched the first episode, and, all I can say is 'Wow'.

    First of all, the story is sixty years old. Many of the 'tropes' came from this story, so accusing it of being a blatant ripoff of x, y and z isn't going to work.

    Second of all, Syfy made this. I had to double check. Seriously. This combined with "The Expanse" hopefully marks a shift towards good... no, great, content in Syfy's future.

    As for the story? Epic, heartwarming, goosebump raising. Think back fifty years to a time of optimism for the future. Put yourself in that mindset, leave your jaded selves at the door and enjoy yourself for a short time.
  • Deidra27 June 2016
    Warning: Spoilers
    Sorry, for all the fx, it missed the point of the novel completely and was a shallow exercise without any philosophical or scientific backbone. It had all the depth and vision of a Jerry Springer episode. The children are not meant to be from the Village of the Damned or following a leader with their Nazi-like salutes. Each child is metamorphosing into a more advanced stage of being. None of the wonder and beauty of their journeys was ever explained-something attempted in the novel and would have been perfect for special fx. All the slow-motion or close-ups of eyeballs cannot make up for an abominable script, insipid acting, superficial directorial decisions, complete lack of editing (it could have been halved in length) and trivial focus. While the planet is going to be altered and all of global history transformed, these people can only say "we must fight to get our kids back." This version shows a complete lack of comprehension of the possibilities in the universe without any of the scientific curiosity or artistic efforts that the characters complain they are not allowed to explore. Much time was spent on completely unrelated scenes but all examination of the implications of important events is skipped over in the most trivial and over-simplified manner. The point of this film appeared to be that becoming a parent is the most important thing anyone can do and that focus on one's romantic relationships is the most important aspect of life. Although these are lovely things, the book is an exploration into even deeper aspects of life and of being a human.

    If you are interested, do read the fascinating novel, see the film '2001", visit your nearest planetarium, watch old episodes of Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' and contemplate the mystery of life and eternity as Arthur C. Clarke would have suggested. This film was made by narcissists about narcissists for other narcissists. As was once said: "it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Warning: contains spoilers.

    This was a terrible adaptation of a classic novel.The directing was so bad that my wife who had never read the novel had a hard time following story despite the fact that she has a high IQ.

    I can certainly understand that changes have to be made when you're creating a screenplay from a novel. What I can't understand is the rationale behind completely changing the dominant philosophy of the original novel.For those of you who have not read the novel, the screenwriters have needlessly demonized the overlords. The overlords were not responsible for changing the children. That was going to happen as a cataclysmic evolutionary event (Clark's words) whether the overlords came or not. They were merely following orders from the over mind not to allow this change to destroy humanity or damage the over mind.

    The overlords did not sterilize anyone in the novel. They also did not cause the children to leave. The children left on their own volition.And it was the children who destroyed Earth in the end, not the overlords.

    The overlords home planet did not look like hell.And no one in the novel hated the overlords. Most realized by the end that the overlords were merely safeguarding an evolutionary event, and were doing so under orders. In fact, sympathy was expressed for the overlords because they could not evolve in the way humanity was.

    Finally, the movie's final message was a sad and bitter one: the end of humanity mostly aided by the overlords. In contrast, while the novel expresses a bit of sadness for the end of humanity, our evolutionary descendants are seen as joining a vast and powerful over mind which controls most of our galaxy.

    I was so looking forward to this TV series and was so bitterly disappointed in it. And as someone else on this message board commented, there were far too many commercials. I understand that money has to be made but this should be balanced with some consideration for the viewer.
  • In summary: the novel is a fun read for sf fans because of its concepts, but like much of sf it lacks any serious understanding of human nature or great philosophical issues. Still, if you like decent sf, then read the book and don't waste your time with this dumbed-down TV version. If on the other hand you want great literature and serious adult philosophical discussion about the good questions posed by this story then take a philosophy class. Because it will be a lot less boring than this movie.

    As other reviewers have pointed out, this TV movie has some serious continuity errors and like most TV sf it's derivative. The real problem is however the story and how it's made worse in this TV re-imagining. Like most who are going to watch this, I've read Childhood's End (CE) several times.

    Beginning with the bad of the novel, any honest appraisal of Clarke's work needs to recognize that the man was no Dostoevsky: his characterizations tend towards cardboard cutouts, bureaucrats and technocrats running about grand projects, giving us blurbs of Clarke's often pedantic thought dressed up as dialog. There are very few women and they're psychologically no different than the men, which may explain Clarke's own engineering failure with the fairer sex. All his characters read like aspects of one character, which is presumably Clarke. I don't imagine Clarke spent much time sitting about Paris cafes whilst empathetically trying to put himself in the minds and shoes of others. Even Stanley Weinbaum, Clarke's short-lived Golden Age contemporary, wrote better alien characters way back in the pulp era.

    Turning to the good in the book, Clarke, like his inspiration Olaf Stapledon, had some grand ideas about vast spaces and deep time. The all-important and distinguishing trademark of sf, its sense of wonder, was to be found in spades in Clarke, including in this story. He was an ideas man. Clarke's engineering background made him obsessive about technical details, sometimes to the detriment of story telling, so for those of us who can't tolerate hand waving about warp drives, Clarke is the antidote. He related spending days crunching orbital calculations as part of authoring one of his early stories. Ideas and engineering details mattered more to Clarke than persons or even humanity. As long as one is OK with this limited concept of literature, his stories can be entertaining and engrossing, particularly in one's juvenile years.

    Entertaining, that is, except in the hands of Syfy channel. The fact that Syfy's clunky Americanized adaptation of Clarke was rated above 8/10 and given embarrassingly gushing accolades without even the broadcasts being complete points to the vote rigging that is often complained about on IMDb. At best this is a 5/10. I'm inclined to give it a 4/10 because not only does it fail to capture what was worthwhile in the book, but it fails to improve things which were deficient in the book. Even more than in the novel, which was intellectually superficial but not an insult to the intelligence, characters in this TV adaptation behave in ways which insult one's intelligence. For example, enemies embrace just because aliens turn out to exist. Who would believe this nonsense given the captagon-fuelled head choppers we see running around in the Middle East? Clarke hated religion and that comes through clearly in his written work but still, a story has to present a religious character in a believable way. This one does not, which makes the already sophomoric religion-science debate even more boring than usual. For example, those in various religions (i.e. 80% of humanity) suddenly lose their faith because aliens show up. This despite the fact that many scientists and famous religious thinkers had and have no problem with the idea of alien life - CS Lewis and his popular science fiction is but one obvious example. This is just bad storytelling and characterization which limits the potential intellectual depth of a tale. It relies on tired stereotypes, and caters to an audience who can't conceptualize beyond the stereotypes of TV land.

    Syfy's rewrite, even more than the book, lacks good characterization, adds a pointless love story and lacks any serious treatment of the profound philosophical and metaphysical questions raised by the basic plot. For example, is it benevolent - let alone loving - to intrude upon free will in the manner of the Overlords? Clarke treats this issue rather superficially - even Star Trek recognized the serious moral dilemma and premised the series on the Prime Directive. Syfy goes one worse: In the first two cases presented, aliens do just as worldly empires do: extra-judicial killing and Stalin-esque social engineering at gunpoint. Both are presented as great goods on the road to worldly Utopia. Did Syfy not get the memo on why Communism didn't work out and led to the death of millions? Yet we are to believe that murder can be good if it's done with better tech than ours. This is pretty stupid stuff. Apparently nobody in Syfy's script department has taken philosophy 101. I can forgive Clarke for being indifferent to philosophical nuance for he was an engineer, but if you're going to re-imagine his novel then respect it by trying to improve it and don't dumb it down.

    Clarke best showed his intellectual poverty when considering the great metaphysical issues that have been the grist of mankind's greatest thinkers since ancient times. One gets the impression that neither Clarke nor Syfy's writers have ever seriously considered things like the mind-body problem's non-dualistic permutations, nor have they understood - let alone presented - the distinction between philosophical categories such as spirit and matter. It's sophomoric in the original novel and Syfy's dumbing-down takes it to the level of a high school debate. By nerds who got a C in history but an A in math and multimedia.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I should have known, after how slow the first evening's episode progressed, that I was wasting my time. The series was heavily padded with gratuitous romantic scenes for the characters that added nothing to the plot and just slowwwwed the story down. They could have cut this opus down to two nights if they had purged the main character's tortured scenes with his dead wife or in their honeymoon suite. Still I sat through the first two nights because of the promise of a big payoff in the end. No payoff was delivered... The last night was a fizzle. Gaping holes opened up in the plot: the kids just fly up into the sky? Where did they actually go? Did Jennifer stand in the beam of light for 80 years? Why? What happens after all the adults after the kids vanish and there will be no more? Is there rioting? Mass suicides? Finally, the overarching premise turns out to be paper thin and shallow. Why does humanity have to die off so that the next generation can evolve into something else? And why does the entire planet have to be destroyed when humans die off? Talk about the ultimate self-centered view of life... To think that a god-like consciousness would decide that an entire planet has to be destroyed once humans have died off... It is just absurd. The writers of this drivel would like us to believe that on instructions from some higher consciousness, a race spends all its time traveling the universe luring intelligent species into a bland existence so that their children can be stolen away, their entire species neutered and eventually their planet destroyed. And then, for a final laugh, Syfy runs a commercial at the end selling a DVD set of the series. As if anyone needs to watch this ____ a second time.
  • If you have ever read this book, skip this movie. If you have not read the book, skip this movie and read it. Initially, I was willing to give it a chance based on Sci-Fi's adaptation of Children of Dune which was reasonably competent. But this adaptation is an offense to anyone who appreciates good (classic) sci fi. I feel mostly sorry for the actors, who do the best that they can with flawed material, but the screenwriter needs to be excoriated for yet another hatchet job on good novel (hugo winning BTW) material. I cant decide which was worse, this or Enders Game, but at this moment, Childhoods end bothers me the most as it was an all time favorite of mine. If I had a half hour to go into the ridiculous plot details that are passed off as A.C. Clarke material, and describe all of the immense flaws in the plot line, along with the overtly political bent to the "movie, I would, but suffice to say, if you watch this travesty you will be depriving yourself of one of the great sci fi stories of the last 60 years. Do your self a huge favor and read the e-book and pass on this hopeless waste of time. The screen writer should be ashamed.
  • From terrible acting, to pointless melodrama, horrible direction, continuity errors by the truck load, cheap sets, poorly chosen locations and pointless scenes, this pile of dung wasted six hours of my time. SyFy chopped up the movie into four minute sections with five minute commercial breaks; even on DVR I was frustrated at the pace of the show.

    Unless you are a masochistic person, I would recommend undergoing repeated root canals with no anesthetic rather than subjecting yourself to this horror of a production.

    Arthur C Clarke is rolling in his grave with disgust. Please, in honor of this great science fiction writer, avoid this mountain of wasted money and time. Should some intelligence agencies wish to interrogate prisoners, I recommend this mini-series in lieu of water boarding, as any suspect would break down immediately with pleas for them to shut it off.
  • joe_d_231 December 2015
    1/10
    Ick!
    Warning: Spoilers
    Terrible adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's book. Completely changed its tone and focus. Some examples: The mini-series had a huge emphasis on religious zealotry whereas the book dealt with it as a minor plot point that was barely worth mentioning. The book used the deluxe Ouija board as a parlor game that incidentally helped the overlords identify the first evolving children. I still don't understand what its point was in the mini- series since the overlords already knew who the first children were. SyFy turned an interesting, thought-provoking story into monster schlock. Suffered through all of it just to see how bad it could get. The answer: pretty bad. I am giving it one star only because zero (or preferably negative) stars is not an option.
  • danduarte15 December 2015
    10/10
    wow
    I have never been a Syfy channel lover, they have rarely come up to anything "good" within the sci-fi genre.... but this show! First episode was better than half the films i've seen this year and i can't wait for the next one. The big reveal of the alien was something i saw coming from a mile away even without reading the book or anything but still a little suspense was held until the reveal so nothing i can mark down on it plus the actors are great which may surprise you for a Syfy series. all and all i'd recommend this to anyone whether you like sci-fi or not its still a great show, this is my first ever review so yeah sorry about the vagueness or whatever.. beginner here
  • Tweetienator16 December 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    This show is highly overrated, a show like this getting 10s and 10s... I rated 1 to pull the many fake ratings a little down, "serious" rating is a 4 for me. If this show is a 10, we do need a new rating system (up to 50) for shows like breaking bad, game of thrones, vikings etc. I won't go into the storyline and all its flaws and I can't compare the show with the original Clarke book cuz i never read it, but just let me point out that most of the time the story is just repetitive (all the blabla between the hero and the alien), unbelievable and filled with boring dialogue and ofc some relationship-drama (girlfriend gets jealous of dead ex-love...). the acting is standard - not outstanding and not really bad. What most annoyed me was all the plain and unrealistic stuff happening - e.g. in taking over the planet the so-called Overlord (a superior alien!) executes his overtaking control so brainless (but he/she may a supporter of shock-therapy) that one could be easy tempted to think that the universe just produces dumbness. Another point: the "hero" has so little of any talent, that I wondered all the time why he was the chosen one!? Cuz he settled some little conflict in the province with his smile and talking!? Serious!? Good sci-fi has at least two well crafted ingredients - a great imagination/vision and a good portion of science as a background (may it be technology, sociology, psychology etc.). As I already stated, I don't know the book, but this show has not much of any. My recommendation: Spare your time and watch other stuff.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When I got to the end of this six-hour miniseries, my main reaction was "Huh?" So much of this miniseries followed no particular logic whatsoever. When it ended, it left the lingering question of "What was it all about?"

    *SPOILER ALERT*

    The Overlords show up and all of a sudden warring factions put down their weapons and begin hugging. No methodology for the how or why of this happening is ever given.

    Why cure all illnesses plaguing mankind, if they are only going to wipe out the planet within a century or so?

    With all of humanity's needs being met through renewable resources and equitable distribution of those resources, mankind suddenly becomes a bunch of dullards. Supposedly only in New Athens is there any attempt at creativity. You would think that, without the worries and stress of everyday existence, mankind would be free to pursue the arts and creativity, but no. People suddenly lose their curiosity and inventiveness for no reason.

    Supposedly jobs are few and far between, so who is producing and distributing all of the food, water, energy. etc.?

    The whole deal with the children makes no sense. With all of the people's needs being met, there is a baby-boom. The newborn children all develop psychokinetic and telepathic abilities. For what purpose? And there was never any explanation of where the kids were taken to, once they were Raptured up into the Overlords' ships. Why not leave them on Earth, where, eventually, they and their offspring would populate the planet?

    What was the trigger for the Overlords to show up at this particular time in mankind's evolution to breed these children, then take them away? Why not 1,000 or 5,000 years before, or 100 or 500 years in the future? Once again, no logical explanation is given.

    Lastly, with all of the millennia of human creativity from which to choose, Karellen picks some obscure song to preserve as an example of human creativity?

    If this was religious allegory, it was told strictly from a Judeo-Christian point of view, while the majority of mankind has other beliefs. Why would those people react as though the Overlords are the personification of the Devil and the Overlords' planet as the Christian version of Hell? There was a lack of any sense of how these people of differing beliefs would react to the Overlords.

    There is so much of this that just made no logical sense, and good SciFi SHOULD make at least some sort of sense, no matter how far-fetched. Even religious allegory should make sense. But, too much was done here for no particular rhyme nor reason.

    By the end, I felt that I had wasted six hours in a meaningless pursuit.
  • I never read the books so I had no idea what this series was about. The first episode was great, it had everything in it I like about sci-fi. It really had me intrigued and I couldn't wait to see the next episode. The second was kind of lackluster, as is a lot of second episodes in trilogies. But I thought it was just building up to what I hoped was a great finale, so I was still anxious to see the third. The final episode was such a disappointment. I'm not talking about the acting, which was fine, I'm disappointed in the story itself. For the life of me I don't understand the appeal of this story at all. If I had read the books, I would have been really upset to spend that amount of time on them. As it is I'm sorry I wasted 6 hours watching the show.
  • I'm 66 and first read "Childhood's End" ~1960. I reread it every few years for its characters (which, yes, are increasingly dated in portrayal) and timeless, wondrous themes. So I awaited Syfy's version with much anticipation.

    However, after watching the first episode, I promptly deleted my recording of it. I very briefly dipped into the second episode recording and deleted it too. I have (very guardedly) begun the third episode: "Fool me (more than) once...."

    Throughout, regardless of episode, I've sat utterly baffled; completely mystified why the Syfy Channel writers very clearly succumbed to the Hollywood/TV/Media obsession to change *SO MUCH* of the original story! What, exactly, were they thinking about? Except for a very few names, Syfy's version bears essentially no resemblance to Clarke's story. I'm quite certain that he must be spinning in his grave as you read this.

    After decades of waiting, Syfy's "Childhood's End" was, for me, a jaw-dropping letdown. It's only positive elements were the Overlord spaceship's design and, particularly, Karellen's design (well done).

    Otherwise, I give it a D-.
  • martykate15 December 2015
    Warning: Spoilers
    When a TV movie is made from one of your favorite books, you have to be careful with your expectations. Fortunately, they did a good job and captured the spirit of the story. I haven't seen anything done this well by Syfy since "Dune" (the best version, superior to the one released in the movies), and "Children of Dune", which I like better than the books. Still two more episodes to go so they can still let me down, but so far this is looking really good.

    They need more lines? How about this, "Childhood's End" is over 60 years old. Clarke was a scientist, philosopher, atheist, as well as an author and it's reflected in his books. The end of the movie was hinted at in the beginning, and if they follow the story and keep it true, it may come as a sort of shock, but oh so well done, I hope

    Part 2 disappointed and I'm ambivalent as to whether or not I want to continue. The writers took a very disappointing turn from the actual plot, adding dialog and scenes that were unnecessary and plain bad writing.

    Peter Jackson said viewers don't go to a movie to see the book, I beg to differ. I want to see a reasonable interpretation of the book on screen and I hate it when I'm disappointed like I'm feeling right now with part 2
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If this production had remained true to Arthur C. Clarke's wonderful book it would have been intelligent, very interesting, and a terrific telling of Clarke's idea of Man's destiny....but it did not remain true. Instead we had what so often is the fate of good books, that is, they are changed into triteness and "dumbed down".

    Added elements of romance and ghosts do nothing but take up time. The original story is riveting and the modern ability to do wonders with computer effects could have enhanced what the mind provided when reading.

    I was excited to see this book made film...but overall it was so disappointing.
  • This mini-series by the SyFy channel is from the book Childhood's End by Author C. Clarke. I have never read the book and I think that's why I liked the show so much. I LOVED it. (Most of the negative reviews are from those who read the book.)

    Once I heard of the changes I realized why they occurred. They had Ricky be a humble farmer instead of a big shot diplomat because it would make him seem more like a Jesus like character. The emotional mining and discovery that Ricky did about himself and his feelings over his ex were incredibly intense and well done and not delved into in the book. Presumably this was because Clarke wasn't very good with the ladies and didn't care much for romance nor feelings and was more of a technical details kind of guy. The reasons why the children evolved in the book are stupid and make no sense. I know I might catch some flak for that but I'm sorry fanboys. What we know about evolution and diet and adaptation just come together to disprove his theory. I'm glad the show writers didn't go with what was in the book because it would have made everything laughable.

    Right before I watched this I was talking to my friends about the validity of communism. Questions arose as to what would be the purpose of life without a way to feel progress? If you are always in one class and there's no going up or down forever, how would that make people feel? If they didn't have to work, would they? Would people go crazy? How would this affect our creativity in terms of art or science? Pain and suffering are necessary parts of the puzzle when driving creativity and efficiency and growth. If you're happy and content why change anything?

    These questions are all discussed in the show and more.

    I freaking loved Charles Dance as Karellen. He was amazing and always is. The effects for him were mostly make-up and not special effects which I found impressive and made his facial expressions much more realistic looking and expressive.

    This goes in my Top 10 of the Best Science Fiction shows/movies I've ever seen. You need to see this. Caution: It is depressing and the scene at the end with the song made my heart want to break into a million pieces while I silently cried inside, but it is so good.

    One of my favorite scenes was where the head of the Freedom League scoffs and accuses the aliens of pretending they want to "Buy the World a Coke". I think of that now every time I see a Coke ad.

    The use of a Twitter campaign and TV ads that comically resemble political smear campaigns were hilarious and awesome. If you like dark humor and have sado-masochistic tenancies in your TV viewing then you need to check this out!
  • othoudtmark19 December 2015
    I read the book about 50 years ago and didn't remember too many details but I do remember being left with a good feeling from reading it. With the exception of most of Part 1 the adaptation of "Childhood's End" left me feeling depressed and unsatisfied. Seemed like I had to sit through hours of sad music and sorrowful scenes to get to the few 'nuggets' from the original story. That wasn't how the book 'felt'. I understand the need to update and modify stories for television but not to the point of changing the entire 'feel' of it. I now intend to re-read the novel so as to get the foul taste of this movie adaptation out of my head.
  • First off i want to say that this is my first review EVER on IMDb. Just felt i needed to say what i thought when seeing the 1 star review.

    Second i just want to say that i've only watched episodes 1 and 2 and yeah my English is not as good as it should.

    The director have chosen a "modern" view of the vision of the author from 1954 and I was very afraid that it would ruin everything, but the series is actually pretty excellent to watch. Its fun to see how the director and actors interpreted the book and made it into the great series that its been so far. It do head into a weird direction in episode 2, but i feel i know whats going to happen next even tho most of it is not from the book.

    All in all i give it a 8 out of 10 for the story, acting and CGI(AND its a SYFY series).

    PS remember folks, enjoy the show and enjoy the visions you had when reading the book, together it will be an amazing journey in your mind:)

    PS will update when i've seen the whole thing.
  • I will try very hard not to spoil anyone's enjoyment of the first episode. (Incidentally, the introduction in the Kindle version of Childhood's end -- and probably the latest print edition as well -- includes a major spoiler, which is a criminal act. Should you buy the book, skip the introduction until AFTER you've read the book and/or seen the series.) As other people have said, the premise revolves around some apparently benevolent aliens who invade, declaring an end of war, hunger, climate change, hatred, and the other banes of 21st century society. Most people love the idea, but pockets of opposition rise up from people who feel threatened in one way or another.

    The twists and turns in the plot are complex, complicated, and often subtle. The surprise is that the series manages them very well.

    The script was quite remarkable, adapting the 60-year-old novel and weaving its complexities more deftly than I had expected. The romantic aspects were largely invented for the series. Like most of Clarke's science fiction contemporaries, 20-something "boys" in the science fiction world were geeks (we called them nerds) who had little understanding and less experience with "girls". Simple ignorance explains why they had so few strong women characters. The film version brings the story into the present and at least attempts to restore the balance.

    Many factors worked against this film. The film is visual to some degree, but it is mostly dialog and atmosphere. For some of us, it was an amazing novel that raised some provocative questions and didn't answer them. For me, when I heard that someone was turning the long-loved book into a movie, I reacted with skepticism, uttering my mantra over such things. It would be good or it would be terrible. It was unlikely to fall anywhere in between.

    I suspect it was a difficult film to sell to advertisers -- the lifeblood of the industry. There was a lot of mystery and adventure, but little or no pyrotechnics. It might not draw a sufficient audience to justify such ambitious projects. I noticed a large number of house ads and station promos in the breaks instead of paying commercials. To the credit of the producers, writers, and director, they didn't compromise the material to draw a bigger audience. As a result, the story takes time to unfold, and some audience members might not be patient enough to stick it out. But if you want to see a genuine attempt to put a seminal and unconventional novel on the home screen, give this a try. It isn't perfect, but it was well worth the effort -- and it's well worth your time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's a 3-part mini-series on Syfy of Arthur C. Clarke's novel. Aliens have arrived on earth. They compel worldwide peace and a new world order while keeping their identity a secret. Ricky Stormgren (Mike Vogel) is taken onto the spaceship to become the human liaison to Karellen, the alien Supervisor for Earth. Others more concerned call them the Overlords. Finally Karellen reveals himself to be a Satan lookalike. The second part has human submitting to a Golden Age of carefree living. The third part has the world taking strange turns.

    Part of the problem is the epic scale of the story. It is so vast with ideas so big that it doesn't always feel human size. The characters are sometimes overwhelmed. Any narrative is subjugated by the need to hit the plot points. There is a simplification of human nature in this story which leaves this world feeling a bit fake. It still has the interesting ideas and it is executed with competence.
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