The CW is going all-in with sci-fi/fantasy shows as is evident from the network’s fall TV lineup, and the biggest sure-to-be hit is futuristic series “The Tomorrow People.”
The drama stars “Arrow” star Stephen Amell‘s younger cousin Robbie Amell as Stephen Jameson (that’s not confusing at all, right?), a troubled teen who discovers he’s not troubled at all … he’s gifted. He represents the next stage of evolution: a person who can control the three T’s (teleportation, telekinesis, and telepathy). Instead of harping on and on about whether or not Stephen will accept his new lot in life, he grabs the bull by the horns, takes the new discovery in stride, and doesn’t look back. This won’t be a show focusing on teenage angst, which is a healthy breath of fresh air from a network that capitalizes on brooding male protagonists.
Sure, there is emotional baggage that comes with Stephen’s new responsibilities: he finds out that his dead-beat dad was actually the Tomorrow People’s leader, and Stephen wrestles with this new knowledge and what it means about his family and his past. But he doesn’t have long to dwell, as shady government organization Ultra soon learns of Stephen’s existence and powers.
Run by Dr. Jedikiah Price (Mark Pellegrino, “Lost,” “Supernatural”), Ultra seeks to eradicate all of the Tomorrow People for good reason: people with powers like that pose a huge national security threat. However, the ways Ultra goes about rounding up and killing the Tomorrow People isn’t exactly the best way to handle the situation. The series poses an interesting question: who is in the right, the Tomorrow People or Ultra? Both sides have valid points, but the means in which they go about enacting their agendas is questionable. There is no clear right and wrong (except, you know, killing is bad), and Stephen further blurs those lines by playing both sides of the coin to find out more about his past and his powers, which sets up an intriguing premise for the series. Complicating matters further is Stephen’s shocking connection to Dr. Price, giving him yet another personal reason to fully dive in to this secret war.
And what would a sci-fi show be without its special effects? “The Tomorrow People” uses seamless effects to show teleportation in a way that furthers the story along without being clunky or overzealous. The special effects take a back seat to the plot, which is a difficult thing to achieve on a show that’s about people with special powers. It would have been easy (and lazy) to make the show all about the powers the Tomorrow People have, but they also learn to fight in normal ways to give us well-executed fight scenes. They don’t just rely on their powers to get the job done, and neither does the series.
One major aspect the pilot lacks is character development, as the fast-paced action and plot dominate the first hour to set up the series. Hopefully as the season progresses we will get to know the characters better, especially Stephen’s best friend, Astrid, who refuses to believe Stephen’s story about gifted heroes lurking under the streets of New York in abandoned subway stations. That complicated friendship will add a dose of normal human issues for Stephen to contend with, along with a battle for the future of his species.
“The Tomorrow People” premieres Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. on The CW.