Syfy is trying their level best to distance themselves from the schlock factory image they’ve had over the past few years. To list all of the ambitious titles they have in the works would take all day, but the network is developing a ton of projects that we’re totally psyched to see, and one of those that we’re most excited about is their adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. Casting wise, they have a couple of pieces in place, but they just added a key player as Mike Vogel has been tapped to take the lead role.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the Under the Dome star has been cast to front the six-hour event miniseries based on Clarke’s classic 1953 novel about aliens coming to Earth. He joins Game of Thrones star Charles Dance on the call sheet, as well as Ashley Zuckerman of Manhattan and Osy Ikhile (Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea).
In Childhood’s End, Vogel will play Ricky Stormgren, a farmer from the American Midwest who has to serve as a bridge between humans and a race of aliens that show up on our doorstep looking to lend a hand. So you know, no pressure or anything. “Ricky struggles with his new-found fame as a blue collar prophet, facing the weight of the entire world looking to him for answers.”
This is a different kind of alien invasion than you’re used to. Instead of a violent incursion, the Overlords as they’re called (not ominous at all), show up offering to help, end war, and create a utopia. Dance will play Karellen, the Overlord ambassador who Ricky deals with, but even though they seem altruistic and benevolent on the surface, there are sinister things in play. This peace comes at the cost of individuality, identity, and culture, and the fact that the Overlords control things in a hidden, behind the scenes way and refuse to reveal their physical forms, arouse suspicions.
There’s a lot of potential for Childhood’s End to be something special, but we’re still keeping our expectations in check. Syfy has so much in the works, and big projects too, that you have to wonder if they’re spreading themselves a little thin. We’d rather have one or two great shows rather than a dozen mediocre ones. And while shows like Defiance are fine, others like Helix and Z Nation aren’t exactly overwhelming.
And with a really good series like Continuum on the chopping block, in part because Syfy doesn’t want to step in and take over production because it’s too expensive (Showcase produces the series in Canada), you have to wonder how much they’re investing in some of these shows that, at least on the surface, require a ton of resources. Old Man’s War, The Expanse, and Ancillary Justice, among others, are all going to be rather massive and need a ton of sets and effects. When their 12 Monkeys adaptation drops in January, something that involves a lot of world building, that might give us a better idea of what to expect production value wise.
Even with our concerns, we’re totally pumped up to see what Syfy does with Childhood’s End. Are you on board with this adaptation and this casting? Or would you prefer they leave well enough alone?