Dec 14, 2015

Supervisor Karellen

Karellen finally comes down to Earth, making
contact by way of a great phallic spaceship dock that
proclaims to all: "Earth is fucked".
I just watched the first third of Syfy's adaptation of Childhood's End. There was less gratuitous violence and fewer guns being waved around than I expected for a Syfy production. Still, between the barrage of crass commercials and the scatter-gun editing they managed to make what might have been a good 30 minute Twilight Zone episode into a very long two hours.

Karellen plays footsies with Ricky.
This "episode" was a tale of two creatures: Missouri farm boy Ricky Stormgren and alien visitor to Earth, Supervisor Karellen. Six word summary: Ricky seemed more alien than Karellen. We were also given a glimpse into the remaining two thirds of the saga that will undoubtedly give us more of wonder boy Milo Rodericks as a budding science nerd who wants to visit the home planet of Karellen.

The opening scene (with an older Milo from the future) quickly told viewers that Milo will be the last remaining human. Not a very subtle bit of forshadowing. The most objectionable part of this "adaptation" is the extent to which Syfy went in for fear mongering, including playing the Nazi analogy game with the space aliens.

Big red Karellen and two members of generation K.
Imagine Smarter
As usual for a Hollywood script, there is not a single voice of reason among the "adult" Earthlings in this "adaptation". Karellen does manage to sneak in a bit of humor, but until the last minute he is just a disembodied voice and his job 1 is to hide his physical appearance and pump up the fear of alien invasion.

Milo, as a young boy, is the closest thing to rationality among the 7,000,000,000 hapless humans in Syfy's version of planet Earth. Syfy worked hard to bring Clarke's story down to the level of the typical TV viewer in 2015.

Karellen supervises the creation of a New World Order (the political organization of Earth is shifted away from existing nations to a new World Federation) in which war and hunger and capitalism are all eliminated in 15 short years. Ricky does nothing except provide the director (Nick Hurran) with a way to first start and then fray a half dozen never-resolved plot threads, and in so doing, successfully create enough screen time to fit in 95 commercials, including 2 by Colm Meaney's inept and futile band of anti-Karellen "Freedom League" revolutionaries.

Girl Interrupted
Daisy and Mike get their groove back on with
the help of Karellen's high tech vibrator vial.
I'll be tempted to let the DVR do its work on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings so that I can fast forward past all the remaining lame shootouts, pistol-whippings of women by deranged drug dealers, pistol idiocy of government agents, pistol idiocy of stern revolutionaries, sermons by religious fanatics and the remaining 190 commercials.

The question remains, can Syfy's "adaptation" do justice to the aliens that Clarke put into his novel? So far, it looks like they are setting poor Karellen up for some heavy-duty bashing by religious fanatics in Part 2. With luck, his sense of humor will get us past the dreary preaching to come.

Related Reading: "Childhood’s End ... feels generic. It communicates neither Clarke’s style nor a directorial vision." -Scott Timberg

Next: Episode 2 - Ricky learns to use the gun locker.

The Golden Age.

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