|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is hard to believe that this episode only received a 5.9 rating by viewers. Perhaps it is because of the age of the show, or perhaps it is the fact that so little seems to be known about the actors and actresses. No matter. The episode is scary as anything this series did. The subject is alien thought control over a boy, and his parents' attempts to save him. The boy (who seems to be about 12 years old) has an abnormally high IQ (240). He spends most of his time reading books that contain what look like hieroglyphics. His father can understand some of the books; he takes one back to the university where he teaches. He discovers by accident a secret door leading to a library (The Children's Room). There he is informed by the librarian (the wonderful old actress Una O'Connor) that the son is a mutant, destined to be abducted by an alien to help its race survive. The parents can't go with him. The father promises her that he will not let the child go. Can he prevent the abduction, however? This is a great episode. The direction is masterful. We feel the tension and the horror in each close-up of the parents' faces. The dissolve from a hallway to the secret room is done in a believable manner. The thought of such an incredible thing happening is made plausible because it is treated so well. The subject has been used several times in sci-fi--including in an Outer Limits episode in the 1960's. Watch this episode. It is excellent.
The short story on which this is based is less horrifying and actually
somewhat more optimistic. The boy doesn't want to leave his parents and
struggles to be kinder to them. Indeed, he is upset that he keeps
talking down to his Mom. Even the librarian in the story is a much more
understanding, kinder person. (And as a librarian, I like to think this
is true of our profession and would be true, even in the situation
As a stand alone piece, without knowledge of the original, I can agree this is a spooky little tale.
Still, I would like to see the more hopeful original produced as a play some day.
This is a fairly archetypal science fiction theme going back to "2001: A Space Odyssey" and before. We are an evolving race of creatures. We cannot be stuck with our useless, frail beings. We need to move on to become better, more advanced creatures. There is, of course, a religious element in all this, but I don't think most writers saw it that way. With "Childhood's End" we see the despair of the parents and the death of civilization as we know it. This isn't quite as dramatic. We will continue because only a select few geniuses will be gobbled up by the library lady to do god knows what in the future. The interesting thing is the joylessness of the whole thing. There is nothing uplifting in the kidnapping of these kids and the more they read the "book," the more they are convinced they have to do this. They are deceptive and conniving and downright evil in some sense. Perhaps they are going to be an order of conquering overlords. This episode is spooky to say the least. The special effects in the library are quite good.
I have seen several episodes of various anthology shows (such as "The
Outer Limits") which are similar to "The Children's Room". However,
just because they are similar doesn't mean they are remakes--and
there's enough original about this one that it's well worth your
time--especially since it's so clever and well-written.
The show begins with a father and mother showing concern about their son. Although he's a genius, they notice that the boy isn't very wise about his gifts. In particular, he begins treating his mother like she is beneath him--and his father reluctantly agrees to talk to the boy. But the problem is MUCH deeper. It seems that the boy has a book from some 'children's room' at the local library and the book feeds the boy's ego and builds his contempt for other folks. So, the father looks into the room and the odd librarian--and then the story gets really, really weird and original. I'd say a lot more but I don't want to mess up your enjoyment of the show--and it's a good one.
FYI--While the boy in the show supposedly has an IQ in excess of 200, such ridiculously inflated scores are not possible using the most widely used and tested IQ tests today. In particular, the Wechsler IQ scores top out at about 150. So, if some fat-head insists they have an IQ of 198 or 175, they are either lying, took an IQ test A LONG TIME AGO (when the Stanford-Binet was accepted by clinicians), mistaken or took some crazy online test (which is invalid and meant to make people become fat-heads). And, practically speaking, there really isn't any real statistical difference between a score of 135, 140 or 150. Again, just in case you are wondering.
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