As I watched The Tomorrow People, I found myself amazed by how predictable it was. The show offers absolutely nothing you haven’t seen before; there’s the reluctant hero, the ragtag group of super-powered misfits, the shady government conspiracy, the wise leader, the painfully obvious love interest, and of course — the school bully who gets to experience our hero’s budding powers firsthand. It feels like a tired mishmash of Spiderman, X-Men, The Matrix, and pretty much every other sci-fi/adventure creation on the planet. And yet, amidst everything, I never really lost interest.
The show intrigues for one very simple reason: its pedigree. The Tomorrow People is run by Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries) and Greg Berlanti (Arrow). Both exceptional writers managed to turn their predictable shows into fantastic television. And now that the basics and the origin story have been covered, I’m hoping the show can start exploring some unexpected routes starting with its second episode (or let’s be honest and assume it will hit the ground running by episodes four or five).
The cast is fine, but no one really stands out. Robbie Amell (Stephen Amell’s cousin) does a serviceable job in a cliche role, while Mark Pellegrino tries his best as the baddie. I’m most excited to see Peyton List as Cara. She was so gorgeously memorable on Mad Men, and I’m ecstatic that she’s been given such a prominent role. Plus, she proved herself a great asskicker in the pilot, and it makes me wonder how much cooler the show could have been if she were the lead. Oh well.
Thankfully, Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be a highly-serialized affair. The mythology so far: super-powered beings (called The Tomorrow People) live in the subway system and evade capture from Ultra, a containment program that employs captured/turned Tomorrow People. Their powers include the tree Ts: telepathy, telekinesis and teleportation, while Steven possess an added ability (and potentially many others). Also, his dad is something remarkably special, and the Tomorrow People are hellbent on tracking him down.
The pilot is salvaged by an admittedly unexpected twist: Steven decides to join his uncle (the show’s big bad) in the episode’s final moments. Whether he tries to bring Ultra down from the inside or not, it’s a brave move to end your generic pilot with your protagonist hopping on board with the villains. Hmm, there just might be hope for the show yet.
While it’s undoubtedly predictable, this pilot is saved by an unorthodox ending. Let’s see how it fares in the coming weeks.