TV Review: Syfy’s Childhood’s End is caught in adolescence

Syfy’s Childhood’s End miniseries is, in theory, at once a no-brainer and a distressing, nigh-impossible prospect. The book it’s based on, by sci-fi don Arthur C. Clarke, is a fantastic, seminal work of the genre, presenting a thought-provoking look at the potential result of humanity’s first contact with aliens. In that respect, it’s a natural fit for the network, which is trying to get back into “serious” genre fare with properties like The Expanse and an upcoming adaptation of Lev Grossman’s Magicians novels. On the other hand, Childhood’s End is, to put it mildly, a dense book, one that covers several decades and forces the reader to confront some distressing ideas.

In the attempt to translate those ideas, writer and executive producer Matthew Graham has mostly split the difference between intellectual intensity and comforting, easy action, constructing a mostly faithful adaptation airing in …

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