Coming Soon announced on Wednesday that a six hour miniseries based on the Arthur C. Clarke book “Childhood’s End” has been greenlit for the SyFy Channel. The production schedule is very aggressive as the miniseries will premier in 2015. It will be the latest project in the slew of new scripted projects that are being developed for the network that was once called the SciFi Channel. Some spoilers follow.
The novel, which was first published in 1953, tells the story of how a race of seemingly benevolent aliens who bring about an era of peace and prosperity on Earth, using their advanced technology. But the new regime comes at the price of not only human freedom, but ultimately human existence. The themes include that price as well as the transcendence of the next stage of human evolution.
There have been a number of attempts to bring “Childhood’s End” to the big or small screen, including one by the late Stanley Kubrick who eventually collaborated with Clarke on the 1968 epic film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” For one reason or another, because of rights disputes or the lack of financing, the previous attempts have fallen through. BBC Radio 4 has produced an audio play of the novel.
“Childhood’s End” is one of the more “literary” of Clarke’s work, which tended to be upbeat about the future, especially where it concerned space travel. Its tone is powerful in the sense that it not only chronicles the end of the human race, but the absorbing of the last generation of humanity into something called “the Overmind.” It was one of the few stories that depicted a seemingly benevolent alien invasion and used the image of huge, alien spaceships hovering over the world’s cities, something that was used in the TV series “V” and the motion picture “Independence Day.”