I review the first episode of The Tomorrow People, CW’s newest superhero drama, starring Robbie Amell, Peyton List, Luke Mitchell and Mark Pellegrino.
Despite the fact that The Tomorrow People doesn’t air in the UK until next year on Channel 4, I managed to watch the first episode online so I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on one of the many new CW Dramas released this year. Starring Robbie Amell (Yes, that’s right – cousin of Stephen Amell (Arrow)) The Tomorrow People is a US adaption of a British 1970’s show of the same name, which I haven’t seen. It appears to borrow the concept and the basic idea of the Tomorrow People but not much else – originally it was designed to be a UK children’s science fiction show that ran from 1973 to 1979, complete with a remake in 1992 to boot. Developed by Greg Berlanti, Phil Klemmer and Julie Plec – the 2013 version of The Tomorrow People gives a solid opening forty-five minutes to the new world that we find ourselves in, even if the show itself isn’t entirely perfect.
The cast is fairly strong – even if they’re typically good-looking characters that the CW likes to cast in their shows. There’s Robbie Amell as Stephen Jameson, the main character – and then in the camp of the Tomorrow People (called so because they are the next stage in human evolution, with three special abilities – telepathy, telekinesis and teleportation) Luke Mitchell as John Young and Peyton List (Mad Men) as Cara Coburn. Aaron Yoo is also thrown in to the mix as Russell Kwon. Stephen does of course become a member of the Tomorrow People but it isn’t as easy and straightforward as that, because the Tomorrow People are a hunted organisation – with their pursuers ULTRA – lead by Jedikiah Price (Mark Pellegrino, Supernatural & Lost). At home, Stephen has to deal with his mother (Sarah Clarke) and younger brother (Jacob Kogan) – with his best friend Astrid Finch being played by Madeline Mantock. Like Arrow, The Tomorrow People finds itself quickly filling up the rooster of recurring cast members and it’ll be interesting to see how they’re fleshed out and changed overtime.
The plot, as you’ve probably already gathered – is fairly unoriginal. Stephen is an outsider at school with only Astrid remaining his friend following his odd ‘sleepwalking’ which sees him wake up in some rather unfortunate places. His sleepwalking is in fact the first manifestation in his new powers – and it’s very interesting watching Stephen learn to adapt. However, Stephen’s character for now is a little bland – with the show stealer here going to Russell Kwon (Aaron Yoo) – even if he falls into another cliché filled category along with Astrid – who takes up the role of the black female friend and there’s also a generic bully of Stephen – who is of course the first victim of Stephen’s newfound powers. This show is possibly even more predictable than Almost Human – but like Almost Human, I actually enjoyed watching the first episode of The Tomorrow People. I’ve seen the second as well and can safely say that it’s pretty fun – so this is a series that I’m going to be sticking with for the foreseeable future.
However, that doesn’t stop The Tomorrow People from suffering from a load of problems. The biggest problem here is the fact that it doesn’t take any risks with its opening hour – choosing to be bland and lacking anything really original. However, the show does use its special effects well – at least in my opinion, with some interesting looking teleportation effects proving that you don’t need an Agents of SHIELD level budget to make interesting shows work.
The action sequences are pretty awesome and fun too, with some fast paced fight scenes done very well and enhanced by the use of the teleportation that the Tomorrow People posses. The pilot also does an effective job at introducing us to everything in this new world – with lots of room to develop and flush out, and there was never really any point where I felt lost or disinterested.
Whilst the show may be clichéd because of its adaption from the original version, I would still like the episodes that unfold here to be more original and fresh in the future. I did enjoy the opening forty-five minutes however despite the fact that this review may come across as sounding a little negative – because I’m a sucker for good chosen-one stories even if they do come a bit predictable and boring after a while.