While the task of turning Arthur C. Clarke’s beloved 1953 science fiction novel, Childhood’s End, into a six hour miniseries seems ambitious, the Syfy project is now gathering momentum as it prepares to go before the cameras. Adapted by Matthew Graham (Life On Mars), with the helm to be taken by Nick Hurran (Doctor Who), the television event has now added Daisy Betts (Shutter) and Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck) to a cast that already features Charles Dance (Game Of Thrones), Mike Vogel (Under The Dome), Ashley Zukerman (Terra Nova), Osy Ikhile (The Anomaly) and Yael Stone (Orange Is The New Black).
The unsettling tale chronicles events after a seemingly peaceful alien invasion of earth occurs, resulting in the population eventually residing in harmony under the mysterious, apparently benevolent Overlords. The alien liaison for earth, Karellen, communicates only with Ricky Stormgren – immediately making him the most influential human on the planet. After fifty years of Overlord supervision, mankind has prospered, but lost all semblance of individuality. It is then that the true intentions of the Overlords are revealed.
It seems that the adaptation for television has necessitated some departures from the detail of the novel. For example, Arthur C. Clarke wrote the character of Stormgren as the Finnish UN Secretary-General, whereas here, he will apparently be a mid-western farmer, played by Mike Vogel. Daisy Betts has joined the cast in a role that is characterized as being the female lead – a character named Ellie, who is the fiancée of Stormgren and is also an arts graduate, presumably stifled by the demise of creativity under the Overlords. Charles Dance will play Karellen, the alien liaison, and Julian McMahon has been cast in the role of Rupert Boyce – an entrepreneur who is instrumental in the tale when the Overlords seek to alter their relationship with the people of earth.
There have been many attempts to adapt Childhood’s End for the screen since its publication, but so far, the tale has only made the transfer to radio dramatization. Fans of the book, which is widely regarded to be a classic in the realm of alien literature, will be watching closely in 2015, when the six hour long episodes play out on Syfy. Until then, we await further casting announcements – most notably of the numerous children’s roles in the tale.