As the regular television season begins its (hopefully brief) winter hiatus, many channels are starting to air special programming to keep us entertained until all of our favorites come back. The new year will see the return of shows like Galavant and Agent Carter, but SyFy isn’t making us wait quite so long. This channel that so many of us used to mock for their complete departure from science fiction television has begun its triumphant return to its roots, and tonight is a night that will highlight that shift perfectly. At 8pm E, they’re launching the first night of a three night event airing of Childhood’s End, with three two hour episodes that will tell the story of Earth and the Overlords. Then at 10, they kick off The Expanse which will be a ten episode season that will air until early February. Having seen the premiere episode of both shows already, I can safely say that if you’re a fan of genre television at all, at the very least you should be setting your DVR to record both of these new shows to try them out for yourself. And since most of our other shows are currently taking a break, why not settle in and enjoy a night of imaginative TV live?
Childhood’s End tells the story of a peaceful invasion of Earth by a race we’re calling the Overlords. Of course, the elimination of war, disease and starvation must come with a price, and nothing is ever quite as it seems. The first episode is both visually dynamic, and almost a complete story in itself. The pacing is slow but the tone is increasingly creepy, leaving you wondering at the bigger picture from beginning to end.
The Expanse is more a more standard, space based, science fiction show. We’ve colonized the solar system, but now Earth, Mars and the asteroid belt are all on the brink of war. At its heart this show is as much a mystery as a space opera and will appeal to fans of both.
Both shows are based off of well received science fiction novels, Childhood’s End a classic by Arthur C. Clark, and The Expanse a more recent success by James S. A. Corey. I can’t speak to how true either piece is to its source material, but both shows are enjoyable without having read the novels where they began.
I will be back all this week with spoilerific reviews for all of Childhood’s End, as well as the first episode of The Expanse, so if you do decide to watch live, be sure to check back in for those after each episode has aired to discuss what you loved, what wasn’t working for you, and what you hope to see from each series as they progress.