Fresh and Exciting
It's funny, it's tense, it features two great performances from two actors and the director expertly creates a web of odd tension where you actually don't know what is happening for the majority of the run time.
The film may be flawed, but its message is not.
The first episode was fantastic, it's the hook that gets you to watch the other two which aren't as strong. The first episode answers a lot of questions people have wondered about space and our own humanity- this show goes about it in a very good way similar to the book. In parts 2 and 3 you can start to feel the stretching of the story as some plot lines and arcs could have been deleted. Overall the message is what is key and the overall feeling of watching the series can, for some be very uneasy.
I love the series.At first when you finished the series, it's hard to understand the point of it all but after some time I realized there is a very valuable lesson here.There is a reason why life is hard and why we have a free will.But if we become zealots, we would just choose to do anything even though it is against God's will just because it is beneficial and/or good for everyone(majority). Also if we become zealots our faith in God will be gone even though all of our wants and needs are satisfied. In the series, they all became zealots that is why God turn his back on them.It is corollary that just giving thanks to God is not faith. It is obvious because faith is not that.
This is a vision of a first encounter. In that the show succeeds brilliantly. If one were only to watch the first episode then one could be quite satisfied. I was. It was foolish of me to want the second episode so soon afterward. The second episode starts meandering into the realms of predictable, that is, all is not what it seems. The third episode does not satisfy. The viewer is left wondering why all sorts of things are happening and it's a huge why all the way to the end. It needed science to back the fiction, to join the dots, and for me, as a lover of science fiction, it fell short.I think it's an important compliment to the overall canon of science fiction shows out there, after all, it was originally quite a good book. The photography, editing, acting and so forth, including the effects, all are done extremely well. There is a love story as well but we never understand how that is relevant except in a very loose way if one compares the fate of the lovers to the fate of the world. Again, a huge why? In fact fate, as a theme, seems here to be very close to what others would see as plot holes. I understand the higher message the show is aiming for and it's OK as science fiction, but it was cruel to expand what is basically a poetic idea suitable for a paperback into over three hours of visual drama. Two hours with less irrelevant flashbacks and a brave stab at an evolutionary science explanation for that 'why' would have improved everything.I'm not in agreement with those that say this show didn't follow the book and that is what is missing. I read the book at least forty years ago but it couldn't have been all that bright as I only remembered the initial theme, the arrival.It's definitely not a rip off, but I think there are lessons here. It's not far off the mark and if the people behind this production move on to another science fiction theme then I certainly will want to see it .
There are projects that seem like they will never happen. A screen adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's classic 1953 novel Childhood's End is one of them. Stanley Kubrick tried to have a go in the 1960s but, with the rights elsewhere, the pair made the classic 2001: A Space Odyssey instead. Since then, writers and filmmakers ranging from Abraham Polonsky, Howard Koch, Philip DeGuere, and Kimberly Peirce all tried in vain to bring it to life. It wasn't until 2015, fifty- two years after original novel was published, that the SyFy Channel brought the novel to the screen through the British team of writer Matthew Graham and director Nick Hurran. Was it worth the wait?Anyone who has ever read the original novel (or virtually any of Clarke's work for that matter) will note that the novel is an epic tale but one that's not strong on plot or character. It is very much a novel of ideas and occasional incidents that build into a larger whole. Characters hardly appear or, when they do, are there for a portion of the narrative before vanishing again. All of which would make adapting it a pain for most writers. Which is something that makes Graham's adaptation all the more surprising. script does is take Clarke's ideas and build onto them. Readers will recognize many of the characters, events, and incidents from the novel being brought to life though often in new ways to match up with the fact that this is a version of Clarke's novel being made five decades after it first appeared. Wainwright and the Freedom League in the first episode is a perfect example with Graham's shifting of the character to a media baron being something that feels absolutely right, especially in the world we're living in as I write these words. Other times, it expands upon it such as the chapter in the novel where Clarke makes a multi-decade leap in a few pages which becomes the basis for a significant part of the middle episode. These changes work though some of them seem a little needless such as turning Ricky Stormgren into a young American farmer rather than the older Scandavian Secretary-General of the United Nations. On the whole though, it's a faithful adaptation of the novel in tone and philosophy at least. Beyond Graham's script, there's plenty to enjoy. The production values across the board are solid including production design and costumes that work to show not just our world reacting to the arrival of the Overlords but the world that is created in its wake. The special effects, being a science fiction tale, will get a lot of attention and they are solid as well. Indeed the effects needed to bring Clarke's novel to life have likely been as much a hurdle as the script but the combination of CGI and creature effects for the Overlords bring Clarke's vision to life splendidly. There's a large cast of actors ranging from Mike Vogel and Osy Ikhile to Daisy Betts, Ashley Zukerman, and Hayley Magnus plus a supporting cast including the ever reliable Colm Meaney and Charles Dance as the main Overlord. Brought together by veteran UK director Nick Hurran, Childhood's End tells an always compelling and interesting story. It all builds up to the ending, taken straight from the original novel and where everything from performances to effects to music all come together beautifully. The result is an assured production throughout. Yet even with all of this, it isn't a perfect adaptation. Though it's always compelling throughout, there are times when it does seem to stretching things out a bit much such as the aforementioned second episode plus early parts of the third which engage in a bit of wheel-spinning. Or, perhaps even worse, Graham's script indulges itself in clichés such as the sacrifice of one main character and a decision they make that leaves them to their fate which is something not taken from Clarke's novel. Also, despite how well the effects are for most of the series there are times when they do let it down such as the presentation of the Overlords planet which pales in comparison to the vision in Clarke's novel. Some of the casting feels a little off at times such as Julian McMahon's Doctor Boyce in the second episode and a few moments of Ikhile's performance where the right note isn't quite struck. On the whole though, the miniseries gets it right more often than not. So after five decades, was it worth the wait? I think it was. Graham and Hurran, along with a talented team in front of and behind the camera, bring Clarke's novel to life. It takes a classic novel and builds upon it, often for the better but not always, and create a take on it right for the screen and the world we live in today. It might not be on the level of Kubrick's 2001 but as TV adaptations of literary science fiction goes it is a sight better than it had any right to be.