In the present day huge alien ships appear on the skies. In the first episode they seem to be beneficial-they cure mankind of all disease and prohibit war anywhere on the planet. World peace has been achieved. But the aliens do not show themselves. At first they appear in the image of deceased loved ones to people, then the leader, Karellen (Charles Dance of THE GOLDEN CHILD, GAME OF THRONES) chooses a man from Earth to be his intermediary. This is Ricky Stormgren (Mike Vogel of UNDER THE DOME), a farmer. He communicates with Ricky aboard his ship-and remains unseen, behind a mirror. When asked why he doesn't reveal himself Karallen says "your people are not ready for how we look." He's right-because at the end of the episode we see their true form-and they look exactly like Satan, from cloven hooves to ram-like horns and bat-like wings. In the second episode time is skipped, so it's twenty years later-and mankind isn't happy. By the third episode things are really bad-and the alien's grand purpose is revealed.
It's been a long while since I've read the original George C Clarke novel upon which this is based but I found this overlong series lackluster. I think this is because so many other movies have been influenced by the book, which is over 50 years old. There's a nod to the series "V" (which was inspired by the original CE book) when they decide what they are going to call the aliens. "The Visitors?" No, says the newspaper mogul (Colm Meany of Star Trek) "The Overlords". I also liked the makeup effects of Karallen and his species. It reminded me of Tim Curry's demon from LEGEND. CHILDHOOD'S END would have been much better as a single feature film.