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Childhoods End - (S01E01)

Science Fiction . Drama . Sci-Fi . Thriller

Written by Arthur C. Clarke and hailed as a revolutionary work of science fiction since its publishing in 1953, Childhood's End follows the peaceful alien invasion of Earth by the mysterious "Overlords," whose arrival begins decades of apparent utopia under indirect alien rule, at the cost of human identity and culture.

Episode Title: The Overlords
Airs: 2015-12-14 at 08:00 PM
  • Ryan Anielski

    Ultimately, Childhood's End is a successful adaptation of a much-beloved novel that will satisfy fans and newcomers alike--wrapped nicely at both ends with colorful characters and effects, but faintly lacking a little something in the middle.

    Indiewire Full Review
  • Tirdad Derakhshani

    The disturbing alien plot unfurls through a wondrous, hours-long act of dramatic magic that draws together elements from ancient religions and modern science. This is heady stuff--but it's relayed with such intensity it'll sweep you along. The last act is a gut punch.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Neil Genzlinger

    It’s been brought into the present (Clarke’s jumping-off point was the Cold War space race), but the depth and ambition are still there.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Mitchel Broussard

    Childhood’s End is great enough that nitpicking feels unwarranted.... How Graham and company made such endearingly dour worldviews into a rollicking six hours of layered complexity and B-movie schlock is beyond me.

    We Got This Covered Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Childhood’s End is great looking, with impressive special effects. It’s also extremely slow, at least in the two hours previewed, and none of the characters is especially engaging.... But with just six hours (4.5 minus commercials) start to finish and dark clouds looming before Night 2, the miniseries could be just the antidote viewers need to counter Christmas sugar and spice.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Rob Lowman

    Graham has updated the story pretty well, while overstuffing it a bit. Nevertheless, the miniseries keeps the novelist’s questions about mankind’s destiny percolating throughout and never really lets you lose interest.

    Los Angeles Daily News Full Review
  • Dorothy Rabinowitz

    For all its running time over three consecutive nights, Childhood’s End leaves a sense of a story not quite told--the result, largely, of the fact that it deals so much in large themes and generalities and provides so little of character and detail. Even so, it’s entirely compelling drama, with a uniformly fine cast and dazzling special effects.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    The premiere prologue gives away too much, and the mini’s pacing­ drags at times.... It’s a tale that never gets old.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    There are too many characters, too many points of view, all subservient to big ideas that don’t even begin to come into focus until late in the second part--just as the unwieldy story starts to go out of focus.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    Like a deluxe edition of The Twilight Zone, with echoes of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Children of the Damned and even Rosemary's Baby in its sprawling and (at first) quietly sinister narrative, this fable reminds us that something looks too good to be true, it usually is. [7-20 Dec 2015, p.17]

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    The miniseries is certainly watchable, and the experiment represents a valiant effort. But in TV terms, Childhood’s End ultimately feels trapped between worlds--a program that’s alternately oversimplified and perhaps a bit too evolved for its own good.

    Variety Full Review
  • Eric Thurm

    There’s a certain loss of dramatic tension that comes with any direct translation of twists from an original work, but it’s heightened here--especially because the adaptation is a victim of the source material’s success.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    At times the production can seem underbudgeted, the direction overwrought. Here and there, the dialogue sounds as if it had been written by an alien who picked up English from broadcasts of B-pictures. As the series' resident alien, Charles Dance--both as a disembodied and later an elaborately embodied, commanding voice--gets the best of this business.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Tim Grierson

    The miniseries’ balance between individual narratives and humanity’s collective destiny remains a bit wobbly throughout.

    The Wrap Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    The opening night of this three-part miniseries sets up a standard genre premise: Aliens contact Earth.... These productions [The Expanse and Childhood’s End] suggest there’s now more to Syfy than Sharknado sequels, so that’s encouraging.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    Childhood's End is more thought-provoking than many Syfy miniseries of the recent past even as it stumbles through plot holes.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Mark Dawidziak

    When it's up and running at full power, Childhood's End is as intriguing, provocative and unnerving as any visit to the "fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man." And there are many such stretches in these six hours. Yet there also are slow, padded, uninvolving stretches when the direction and dialogue wander off course. Ragged in structure and pacing, the miniseries is a slick-looking vehicle that occasionally stalls and sputters toward an uncertain future.

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Full Review
  • Josh Bell

    Even in its special effects, Childhood’s End looks chintzy and unimaginative.

    Las Vegas Weekly Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    Syfy’s adaptation plays with Clarke’s plot and themes but does so in such a leaden, DOA way that it’s almost like a grade-school paper from someone who didn’t read the assignment. Full Review

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