By Joe Reinhard, For the Daily
Published October 16, 2013
CW’s “The Tomorrow People” offers a look at the future of humankind, the next evolutionary step when people develop unbelievable superhuman abilities. What it doesn’t offer, unfortunately, is anything particularly original. Despite its tagline — “Different is Dangerous” — the series starts off pretty mundane and safe.
The Tomorrow People
Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
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The pilot introduces Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell, “1600 Penn”) as a teenager going through changes seemingly unique to him: He’s developing superpowers. He soon discovers that these powers aren’t as unique as one would initially think. Turns out he’s one of the Tomorrow People, a group of people who mark the next evolutionary step for the human race. Like the others in this group, Stephen has a genetic mutation that gives him powers which include (and are limited to) telepathy, telekinesis and teleportation.
Now, pilots have a lot going against them. They have little time to go over some very important information and hook the viewer, and to this show’s credit, the exposition-laced dialogue isn’t too hard to swallow, and the action scenes fulfill some sense of fun. But the show chooses to enter into well explored territory, the ever-popular-people-with-superpowers genre, and so far it hasn’t presented anything worth noting. Instead of relying on its own inventive ideas (of which there are few), it mainly draws from the inventive ideas of the past, only to do little with them. In particular, it borrows heavily from “The Matrix,” with what’s shaping up to be the classic Chosen One plotline, and pretty much rips off “The X-Men”; only the X-Men are a little more diverse and exciting when it comes to their super powers (and their personalities).
Therein lies the problem with the characters: They don’t leave the viewer with much of an impression. Amell as Stephen isn’t particularly compelling or charismatic, while the rest of the cast, which includes Mark Pellegrino (“Supernatural”) as the cryptic villain Jedikiah Price, does little to breathe life into the story. The unoriginal premise needed strong characters to make the viewer especially care, but for now, the show’s just rather bland.
That isn’t to say there’s no fun to be had. Fans of the recent flood of superhero movies will probably find something to like here. The decent special effects lead to enjoyable fight and chase scenes, while the futuristic score sets the tone well. From a plotting standpoint, the show spends its hour wisely, setting up a handful of mysteries and ending on an intriguing note. If anything, the series has faint potential.
For now, though, it’s hard to look past the unimaginative opening act. The premise and characters aren’t especially unique, and what’s worse, one could run by a checklist of popular sci-fi franchises over the past 50 years and immediately spot the multiple similarities. Granted, this show is a remake of a British TV program from the 1970’s, so some parallels can be forgiven. A remake does have the responsibility of making itself relevant again, however, and this show just hasn’t done that — at least not yet.
Until that happens, stick with the first season of “Heroes” to get your fix of superpower action and fun. “The Tomorrow People” ’s future doesn’t look very promising.