We've now entered Week 4 of Fall TV's Premiere-a-Palooza, since The CW hopes that debuting most of its newbies a little later in the season will help them avoid some of the competition. Good idea in theory, even though probably won't make much of a difference. But hey, that doesn't mean all of the new shows from the Little Network That (Sorta) Could are bad. I'm here to tell you what to expect from the network's buzziest non-vampire new show of the season, The Tomorrow People, in today's edition of Hey TV.com, How Pretty Are the Pretty People in This New CW Show?
The Tomorrow People... so they're pretty people from the future?
Sort of! This serial drama follows a group of young people with special abilities (telekinesis, teleportation, etc.) called Homo-Superiors (zing). They've advanced to that state as part of the latest step in human evolution. Unsurprisingly, there are other people hunting them down—most notably, deadly organizations run by doctors and fellow 'break-outs' who are working for the wrong side.
Who are the Tomorrow People and who created them yesterday?
At the center of this story is Robbie Amell's Stephen Jameson, a reluctant but EXTRA special Homo-Superior who's lugging around quite a lot of emotional baggage in the form of his missing/AWOL/maybe dead father (who is, of course, also special). Serving as Stephen's Jedi masters are John Young (played by Luke Mitchell, H20: Just Add Water), Cara Coburn (the perpetually barely legal Peyton List from Mad Men and FlashForward), and Russell Kwon (Aaron Yoo, 21). The show's baddie, Dr. Jedikiah Price, is portrayed by one of the best: Mark Pellegrino (Lost, Supernatural, Being Human). This version of the show was adapted by Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Political Animals), Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries), and Phil Klemmer (Chuck). Wait, "this version"? Yep, it's based on the 1970s original British series of the same name and premise, which itself was remade across the pond in the 1990s and again in the early 2000s.
When do the Tomorrow People arrive?
The Tomorrow People debuts Wednesday, October 9, at 9pm, right after the Season 2 premiere of Arrow. In case you've been living under a rock—or just choose to ignore The CW like most of the world—the two shows combine to form EPIC AMELL FAMILY NIGHT (Robbie and Arrow's Stephen are cousins).
What other stuff does The Tomorrow People feel like?
Visually, it looks a lot like Nikita, which makes sense because the two shows share the same pilot director (Danny Cannon). Narratively, The Tomorrow People will remind you of all kinds of things, from X-Men, The Matrix, and Heroes. It also has a whole lot of that Joseph Campbell-y Hero's Journey stuff, so if you've seen any blockbuster film in the last 10 years, this will all be immediately recognizable.
What's good about the People?
The pilot's story is efficiently told and the premise is immediately established and understandable. There's a lot of potential here, and you can easily imagine multiple seasons' worth of story right from the jump. Mark Pellegrino and Aaron Yoo are clearly having fun chewing scenery and spouting exposition respectfully. The CGI used to depict the Homo-Superiors' abilities looks decent for a CW budget.
What's not so advanced about the show?
Uh, I'm not sure Robbie Amell can act. I'm pretty sure Peyton List isn't very good. And those two get the most material and most complicated material in the opening episode. Amell isn't anywhere near terrible, but he seems pretty green. That works to his advantage in scenes where his character Stephen is supposed to be completely out-of-sorts with regard to his circumstances, but it's a detriment in the back half of the pilot, when Stephen accepts the call, or whatever. Amell's going to have to improve along with the show to make The Tomorrow People worth watching on a consistent basis. I don't see why he can't do that.
Beyond that, the story is so familiar, even if you haven't seen the original series, which is kind of a bummer. But other CW shows have started on the mediocre-to-bad level (The Vampire Diaries, most notably) and improved past a generic premise.
So, should I watch it?
*I* think so. The pilot isn't great, but the show has potential. If you're into what The CW typically offers, you'll enjoy this. If you need a sci-fi fix (and there's certainly a dearth of the genre on TV right now), you should check it out, and be patient. The Tomorrow People has a good creative team in place that will be able to make the proper adjustments.
The Tomorrow People debuts Wednesday, October 9, at 9pm
AIRED ON 5/5/2014
Season 1 : Episode 22