Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2013
In the US: Wednesdays, 9pm/8c, The CW
In the UK: Acquired by E4 to air in 2014
Three episodes into The CW’s The Tomorrow People – a blander but still mightily improved version of ITV’s 1970s sci-fi kids show – and we’ve just had our first genuinely decent episode.
Now, all things are relative, of course. The first episode, which saw the teleporting, telekinetic, telepathic next step in human evolution get given the American ‘family’ treatment, was a decent cross between the original show, Smallville and Arrow, with thankfully no aliens, robots or anything that would ping Operation Yewtree’s radar. It suffered the usual flaws of such shows, with minimal attempts to give anyone except the two central white male characters much to do and a reliance on CGI and efficient but hollow martial arts scenes, but it was decently done for what it was.
Episode two was… episode one again. Same plot, pretty much the same conclusion, just with a smaller budget.
But episode three was a much improved affair, developing the show in new directions, giving the female TP a combination of the interesting (pre-break out deafness) and the boringly typical (someone tried to rape her) for a backstory. We also got some of the show’s almost unique traits: a willingness to discuss human evolution and how it works, with signs that the TP’s powers are variable in quality, not entirely perfect and vulnerable to other factors. It’s a near-original touch for a show that could simply have been Mutant X all over again.
Yet, it’s still not a strong sell. John, Stephen and Jedikiah are just not that interesting as characters, none of the cast apart from Mark Pellegrino has an ounce of charisma, the action is only above average, and there’s nothing truly compelling about the story that sets it out from any other shows in which a group of goodies have to escape baddies in black suits.
And, it has to be said, compared to the original’s title sequence, the new title sequence is just a bit limp (despite the head nod here and there):
Barrometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Unless it does something to lift itself out of ordinary – please not aliens though – it’s going to be dead by the end of its first season