Childhood’s End Episode 1 review

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When I found out recently that there had been a tv miniseries based on Childhood’s End by Arthur C Clarke my interest was aroused. I need to declare and interest at this point. It was reading 2010 Odyssey Two three decades ago which got me hooked on reading in general and a fan of Clarke’s fiction. In the decades since adaptations of his work seem to have been few and far between. Whatever happened the long promised movie of Rendezvous With Rama for example?

So a three-part version of Childhood’s End? I’m sold.

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Although to be honest it was never one of my favourites of Clarke’s, and my memories of the book are vague. But still…

So I watched episode on catchup the days after the Sky 1 broadcast. And so far I like what they’ve done.

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Yes, some of the detail has changed. The main character Stormgren was the UN Secetary General in the book. Now he’s a farmer picked by the alien Supprvisor Karellan as the point of contact between the Overlords and the people of Earth.

But other things have been kept. The meetings between Stormgren and Karellen take place in a room with one-way glass. And the Freedom League is still there voicing opposition to mankind no longer having control of their own destiny. And of course we don’t get to see what the aliens look like until the end of the first part and then we discover why they were wise to hide their appearance.

Stormgren is played by Mike Vogel who I know best from playing that nice Barbie in Under the Dome to show. He also played a not so nice corrupt cop in season one of Bates Motel.

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As an aside I like the hotel room that Stormgren meets Karellen in. I’m sure that’s a nod to the climax of 2001 A Space Odyssey and the room that Dave Bowman finds himself occupying.

Also mention must be made of Charles Dance who voices the unseen Karellen perfectly.

I’m sure there will be viewers complaining about the “big alien spaceships hovering over all the world’s capitals” as seen in V and Independence Day. But remember that Clarke’s novel predates both of those by many decades.

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One very effective addition to the story that was not in the book was the way that Karellen first talks to the people of earth. Images of the dead appear and talk to their family members, all reciting the same words. Very creepy.

I will certainly be watching the next two parts.

And in the meantime as an added bonus it’s got me to dig out my old paperback of the novel and I’ve started reading it again.