Childhood's End:
Childhood's End is a TV miniseries based on the classic book by Arthur C. Clarke, one of the Big Niggas of Science Fiction.
i read Childhood's End the book several years ago and i could not stand it.
it was an interesting enough premise, a book about the conflict between a dependent utopia or an imperfect independence, but then it all goes to shit in the third act when humans start turning into cloud creatures.
i was hoping the TV series would make up for the flaws of the book, but that was asking too much.
Childhood's End the TV show was a three-part miniseries of ninety minutes each on the Sci-Fi channel.
and, aside from Battlestar Galactica, what the fuck does the Sci-Fi chanel know about making watchable TV?

like the book, the Childhood's End miniseries involves an alien race coming to Earth and forcing Humanity to get its shit together.
wars end, inequality ends, injustice ends, a new era of man emerges.
there are some who are unhappy with the imposed tranquility and a resistance forms.
you think the story is going to be about that, but it's not.
in the second act we find out that the space aliens that have been imposing order on Humanity for a generation look like devils.
this bothers some people and you think the story is going to be about some religious backlash to the space aliens but it's not that, either.
in the third and final act, we find out that human children are evolving magic powers.
you think that maybe that's what the story will be about, some X-Men shit, maybe, but it's not even about that.
in the end, humanity's children float up to the sky as the Devil space alien creature explains that they will be joining some kind of intergalactic group consciousness.
humanity dies off, Earth explodes, the Devil-aliens fly away in their space ships, the end.
and, just like with the book, you're left with an incredibly unsatisfying “oh! what the fuck!”

Childhood's End, both the book and the TV Miniseries, could have been good.
it could have been about the virtue of human independence. or, if you want to go the other way, it could have been about the virtue of humanity sloughing off its baser instincts in pursuit of perfection if your politics run that way, but, the problem with Childhood's End is that it doesn't really make a point one way or the other. it punts the question.
we've lost our humanity, gone to join some kind of intergalactic group consciousness, but is that a good thing or a bad thing?
it seems pretty bad to me, but neither the book nor the miniseries bother to comment.

also, not for nothing, but the story is rife with other, technical concerns that stick in my craw.
humanity's children evolve X-Men powers and can telepathically communicate with each other and fly around over the course of, say, three generations. evolution doesn't work like that.
also, even though the story is supposed to take place over a few generations, decades at the shortest, the TV miniseries doesn't bother to age any of the characters whatsoever.
they look the same in the beginning as they do at the end, even though no less then thirty years have passed. that's just sloppy production.
figure you can blame the source material for the story being as shite as it is [though, why make a TV miniseries based on a flawed book?, wouldn't you want to clean it up a bit, make it fit for a modern audience?] but, the miniseries has nobody but itself to blame for the terrible acting, cheep production quality and total lack of effort to make the plot mechanisms try to work.

for being a horrible adaptation of an intolerable book, for missing an opportunity to polish one of science fiction's biggest turds and make it something that could have had value, for not even bothering to try with basic shit like making the characters look their age, or to try to explain why kids can fly all of a sudden, for just being fucking bad, Childhood's End the Sci-Fi television miniseries earns a 1.4/10.

11.22.63 is a TV miniseries based on the book by Stephen King.
Stephen King books are hit-or-miss for me, but i enjoyed this one quite a bit.
it was a newer Stephen King and i think having some distance from the 1980s has done the author a lot of good.
when i heard that they were making a TV series out of 11.22.63 i looked forward to seeing what would come of it, but, i was not optimistic when i found out it was being produced and distributed by Hulu.
i am aware that Hulu is a thing, but i am not at all certain what it is.
i figured if 11.22.63 was anything a proper TV channel would have bought it like HBO or AMC or even Netflix which does good things, but we're living in a brave new world for television distribution these days where even the people who ship you tour school textbooks are making content so i guess anything goes.
Hulu, do your thing...

11.22.63 is a show about James Franco who is an English teacher who goes back in time to stop the Kennedy Assassination.
the guy who runs his local dinar had a time portal in his closet that sends him back to 1960.
the diner owner had been using the portal to buy cheep meets, but, one day decided he wanted to go save Kennedy's life in the hope of preventing escalation in Vietnam.
the Diner Owner gets terminal cancer two years into his mission so he comes back to the present and enlists James Franco.
James Franco agrees and goes back to 1960.
in the book, the main character spends the three years waiting around for the Kennedy Assassination to happen doing other good deeds, saveing other people's lives, but in the TV series he doesn't really do much of that.
which is a shame, because the biggest complaint i had about the eight-episode season is that nothing really happened.
they could have easily filled each of the eight episodes with a different adventure, the book had more then enough source material, but instead, James Franco goes immediate to Dallas and spends the next three years just hanging around.
the only side adventure he does have is to save the life of a janitor from the school where he teaches in the present whos father kills his whole family and leaves him retarded in 1960.
after that, though, the whole series is about a whole lot of waiting around.
in the end, James Franco is able to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing Kennedy, but it ends up going bad because, after two terms, George Wallace wins election and a nuclear war ensues, devastating America.
James Franco decides to go back and undo all his work, resetting the timeline, and goes back to teaching high school, the end.
even though i knew how the story was going to end [mostly] it still made me upset.

James Franco has access to potentially one of the most powerful weapons in all of fiction.
Harry Potter magic wands, the Death Star, Mjolnir. none of that shit has anything on this tunnel in the closet of a diner in Maine.
what makes the time travel portal better then your average time travel portal is that each time you travel from the present to the past, you reset the timeline again, so, you can keep doing whatever you want, changing things however you see fit, and, if it doesn't work out, you can reset things and try, try again from the same point in time in 1960.
in the book the main character does this dozens of times, trying to figure out the best way to get the outcomes he is after, but James Franco only goes through the one time.
and, after he realizes his mission to save Kennedy was not worth the trouble, the fucker just gives up.
he could go back and try again.
or, he could go back with all the knowledge of Wikipedia and take over the fucking world.
he could take his I-Phone to DARPA and have the internet invented by the mid-1970s.
with a little help from the present-day Defense Department he could bring back schematics for a fleet of aircraft carriers, F-22 Raptors and and Strategic Defense Initiative missile shields that would fast-track the collapse of the Soviet Union before Khrushchev knew what the fuck was happening.
hell, even if he didn't want to do any of that, James Franco could at least use his time-tunnel to go back and reconnect with his girlfriend back in 1960s Dallas who he met while he was hanging around to save Kennedy.
she got killed when James Franco fought Oswald, but this time he can afford to be selfish, let Kennedy get shot and just live out his life with this girl he loves, getting rich from betting on sporting events he knows the results of, but he doesn't even do that.
James Franco just resigns himself to do nothing with the magic time tunnel, letting it go to waste, which is a waste of opportunity bordering on sin.

for taking a really good book, taking out half of the stuff that made it interesting and replacing it with time-wasting fluff to the point where episodes are boring, and for ending with the main character making decisions that nobody can ever empathize with or understand or condone, leaving the viewer angry and upset, 11.22.63 earns a 4.4/10.

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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