As we anxiously await the arrival of the Childhood’s End miniseries, we decided to go straight to the source for information about this Arthur C. Clarke adaptation. Writer and executive producer, Matthew Graham, sat down with Mike for a breakdown of how this story was developed for the small screen.
It was a daunting task, and Graham was able to outline the challenges quite nicely. Here’s how he described his thought process in dividing the story into three acts, one for each night of the miniseries:
“The first act really writes itself practically; it really does. You know, they arrive and how we react to them arriving and what their message is, how they change the world… it felt very natural. And then you’ve got the third act, which if you know the book will know the third act has a momentum all of its own towards a very powerful, dramatic conclusion… it’s obvious what material you’re going to use.
“Then you’ve got this sort of big, massive Gobi Desert in the middle called episode two where really, it’s just Utopia; it’s just people being happy. And I didn’t really think that 90 minutes of watching people buy organic fruit and making their own smoothies was going to be terribly exciting. So I sort of had to hunt around in the book for something that I could hang Act 2 on. And I found this lovely little passage: and then the Overlords moved onto religion and they helped us realize that religion was futile; that it was a lovely idea but it was just an idea, and they didn’t need God anymore. And I thought, wow, in half a page, Clarke has described the death of all spiritual faith, and I thought that was the thing to extrapolate.
“So that was the biggest challenge: to create the story where I had to create a new character, Peretta Jones, whose not in the book who represents religious faith, and explore that a little bit more and how we see the Overlords. Have they replaced God with their power, and if they have then does that make them evil or are they the new gods?”
We always enjoy shows that make you think! Remember the miniseries begins in just a few days: Dec. 14-16 from 8-10pm ET.
Next on the Podcast:
Join us this weekend for highlights from the Syfy Press Call with stars Mike Vogel and Yael Stone and more from Matthew Graham.[sc:ce]