Admittedly, Childhood’s End is another alien invasion/post apocalyptic kind of tale, of which we currently have a glut in our television schedules. But, if Syfy is going to insist on churning these stories out, it may as well be from the pen of the master – Arthur C. Clarke. In fact, since it was first published in 1954, it could be argued that Syfy has actually landed one of the original, and best.
When mysterious Overlords arrive and peacefully invade Earth, they end all war, eradicate poverty, and help humanity to form a world government – the planet becomes a near-utopia. However, the Overlords remain hidden, distant and mysterious until, years later, their unveiling heralds the dawn of a new age. The story has previously been adapted for a two-hour BBC radio presentation by writer Tony Mulholland, but it has never reached our screens – big or small – making this something quite special for Syfy. The 6 hour miniseries adaptation will be written by Matthew Graham (Doctor Who), and directed by Nick Hurran (Sherlock) – with Michael De Luca (The Social Network) and Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) on board as executive producers.
The original novel is considered to be a classic of science fiction literature, setting the broad theme of transcendent evolution against a set of smaller, more intimate tales of humankind. It has been re-printed numerous times, but the synopsis used for the 2010 paperback edition is as follows:
“Earth has become a Utopia, guided by mysterious ‘Overlords’ from outer space. Their omnipotent presence has eradicated war and inequality, bringing justice and order to all.
“Despite their terrifying form, they live harmoniously amongst the humans for 50 years until, one night, a child dreams a strange dream and begins to develop remarkable powers.
“What this signals is more important than anyone could imagine; it reveals the true fate of humanity and the real powers behind the presence of the Overlords. Neither, it seems, have a secure place in the future.
“A story vastly ahead of its own time on original publication in 1954, Childhood’s End delves deep into the essence of the human race, challenging its autonomy, it’s purpose and it’s limits. Astonishingly resonant in a modern world dealing with war, climate change and technological progress, this is classic science fiction at its best.”
Excited? We should be. Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End is grand storytelling at its most epic. Whether this timeless work is properly adapted for this project remains to be seen, but we will be keeping a close eye on developments as it heads toward production.