SyFy greenlights miniseries for Arthur C. Clarke's CHILDHOOD'S END

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Ah childhood’s end, I remember it like it was 20 years ago yesterday. Unfortunately mine involved leaving school and going to work for The Man, man. Which makes Syfy’s newest announcement far more interesting: Deadline reports that the newly resurging network has greenlit a six-hour miniseries based on the classic 1953 novel Childhood’s End by the late science-fiction legend Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

As per Wikipedia, “the story follows the peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious Overlords, whose arrival ends all war, helps form a world government, and turns the planet into a near-utopia. Many questions are asked about the origins and mission of the aliens, but they avoid answering, preferring to remain in their spacecraft governing through indirect rule. Decades later, the Overlords show themselves, and their impact on human culture leads to a final utopist Golden Age, but at the cost of humanity’s identity and eventually the planet itself.”

Nick Hurran, who just recently picked up an Emmy for his work on Sherlock – His Last Vow, will direct, with the novel adapted by Matthew Graham (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes). Akiva Goldman (I Am Legend) and Mike De Luca (Captain Philips) are set as executive producers and the series is expected to premiere some time in 2015.

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While people tend to look down on Syfy’s productions like their original movies (fair enough really) there’s some pretty decent talent involved here that could do this classic sci-fi tale justice. According to Syfy president, David Howe, the miniseries is “the most ambitious project for Syfy in many years” and “the powerful themes of Childhood’s End, from the fearsome price of peace and prosperity, to the very question of what constitutes a human being, remain fascinating and timeless.” That they do indeed.

Childhood’s End is possibly the prolific Clarke’s most well-known work of literature after the brilliant Rendezvous With Rama, and this is the fourth attempt to adapt the novel for the big and small screen, and the one that’s finally succeeded. In the 1960;s Stanley Kubrick was interested in creating a movie based on the novel, but this fell through due to rights issues. Kubrick and Clarke later collaborated to create 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968 instead. Universal Pictures twice attempted in the late 1970’s and in 2002, but these also failed due to budgeting constraints and other issues. BBC Radio broadcast a two-hour radio dramatisation of the novel in 1997.

This is just the latest in a series of high profile miniseries planned by SyFy in an attempt to get back into the good graces of their once core science-fiction fan audience, and thus far it’s definitely working.

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Last Updated: September 8, 2014

  • I’ll keep an eye out for this, I haven’t read the book.

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