Along with debuting its new series The Expanse on Dec. 14, Syfy also premieres its stunning new miniseries Childhood’s End. In adapting Arthur C. Clarke’s (2001: A Space Odyssey) seminal science-fiction novel, Syfy perhaps fulfills the calling of the original Sci-Fi Channel, and is in line with the channel’s goal of becoming “the destination for the smartest, most provocative [genre dramas],” as Syfy president Dave Howe told Entertainment Weekly last year.
Based on what we’ve seen, Childhood’s End should indeed be provocative. The story follows the peaceful invasion of Earth by alien “Overlords,” who promise to eliminate poverty, war and sickness, ushering in a golden age of peace, health and security for all humankind. But why do the Overlords insist on hiding their appearance, and what do they ultimately want from Earth? Some humans suspect there’s a price to pay, and as the truth about the Overlords’ intentions is revealed, humanity may discover that its destiny is a nightmare instead of a dream.
Writer and executive producer Matthew Graham, who first read Clarke’s novel at age 14, says he hopes that he has made his adaptation “more accessible in terms of its structure and its pace and its tone.
“It’s just that if I did a very, very faithful adaptation, it would just be a series of conversations,” Graham further explains. “I felt like we needed a bit more mystery. The thing I really wanted to tease out — which was the thing I remember as a kid — was trying to work out are they goodies or baddies, basically. Are the Overlords good, or are they evil? I wanted to play with that [for] the audience. … I’m trying to get the audience to vacillate.”
Childhood’s End airs Dec. 14-16 at 8pm ET on Syfy.