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New on the Tube: ‘The Tomorrow People’

New on the Tube is a series devoted to reviewing relatively new television shows and determining how they may (or may not) appeal to their intended audiences, where the shows are going, and what can be done to make them better.

Show Premise: 

A new off-shoot species of humanity is starting to assert themselves in world affairs, and the son of their most prominent leader is thrown into the fray when he starts to exhibit his latent abilities.  Caught between his loyalty to his family and the need to understand more about who and what he is, Stephen explores the new world set before him while trying to maintain ties to what he thought was a normal life.  The show airs on Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. (Eastern) on The CW.


Previously on The Tomorrow People: Covering episodes #1 - #4

Believing that he has schizophrenia like his father, Stephen Jameson finds himself hearing voices and ending up in weird places that he has no recollection of.  Meanwhile, men and women who have experienced the same things are on the run from a shadow government agency and decide to enlist his help for their own needs.  Seeing him as a savior for their cause, they show him that he—and his father—are part of an off-shoot from the human species, the same as them, and that they need him to lead them to his father, their greatest leader and most vocal supporter.  Not sure that he completely believes their intentions, Stephen decides to work for the shadow agency to get to know more about them from the inside.  Not long after, he decides to work as a double-agent, infiltrating the agency to help his fellow Tomorrow People while still maintaining a close connection to his family and only friend Astrid, though the different aspects of his life tend to collide often.

Main Characters

Stephen Jameson: The son of the leader of the Tomorrow People, Stephen becomes involved in the ongoing struggle between the resistance and Ultra.  Unsure of who or what to believe, he plays both sides against one another while trying to maintain some semblance of normality.

John Young: A former Ultra agent who decided to work for the resistance, John rails against the walls that society has placed on his species.  Considered to be a talented teleporter, he uses his abilities to strike against his former allies in the hopes of repenting for his past mistakes.

Cara Coburn: Born deaf and an outcast in her own family, Cara found acceptance with the Tomorrow People and especially John.  A talented telepath, she often guides Stephen in his double-agent duties while at times being the voice of reason for the resistance.

Russell Kwon: A member of the Tomorrow People, Russell often supports Cara or John in their undertakings.  Quiet for the most part, he is very friendly to the rest of his species, but has a cold shoulder to humanity.

Astrid Finch: Stephen’s best friend and classmate, Astrid remains the only close connection to his former life before he started exhibiting his latent powers.  Quiet and unassuming, she is Stephen’s center in an otherwise insane situation.

Dr. Jedikiah Price: Stephen’s uncle and head of the Ultra organization, Jedikiah is a complicated individual hiding behind his desire to save humanity.  Spouting a love of his family, he claims to only want the best for Stephen and the rest of the Tomorrow People.

What Works

The ability to see a new species, a subset of humanity, evolve in a shadow war against the rest of the world is certainly an interesting idea, and one that hasn’t really been explored much in a television series—at least that I know of.  It also takes the concepts of possible discrimination and hatred to a new level in a fiction environment, where members of the Tomorrow People are capable of blending in with the rest of the world, but once their abilities are seen and recognized, they can be seen as being a hindrance, even a danger, to the wellbeing of everyone around them.  I would like to think that this could be seen as a contemporary to LGBT issues, where those who don’t flaunt their “differences” from the norm can easily blend in with society, and I can see a lot of potential stories resulting in the rights of the Tomorrow People and their stance in society.

What Doesn’t

While they do a good job of explaining just why the inability to kill is part of the genetic makeup of the Tomorrow People, it really doesn’t make much sense from an evolutionary standpoint.  A species develops in a survival instinct, and while modern humans are more advanced than their evolutionary ancestors, they still maintain some very obviously throwbacks to their initial forms. One would think that a subset of humanity, a new evolutionary path, would still have a need for survival instincts. So, just how does this inability to kill do that?  While I see it as the obvious plot point that it is, I just don’t see how it is believable; it makes no real sense, and I don’t think it could stand up in the long run.

There are so many similarities to the mutants of Marvel Comics, including a few inside jokes to not referring themselves as homo-superior, that it is very evident to me that a lot of the ideas were taken from the various X-Men comics and their spinoffs.  While I don’t have a problem with using an already established concept as a creative idea, there’s just too much related to each other that it gives the impression of the show being copied from Marvel outright.  Having never seen the original British version, I’m not sure how much in common it has with the U.S. version, but if it is much the same as this one, then both are guilty of taking their ideas to an extreme level of copycatting.

The Future

The show certainly has some great possibilities for it, although it seems to so far be dispelling the same type of situation on repeat.  In order to really move forward, the show needs to progress to a more confrontational aspect between the two sides, but even if they were to do that, there’s the added issue of a likely lawsuit or injunction filed from Marvel Comics over intellectual property.  Having not really infringed upon any actual copyrights, I doubt Marvel would actually win in a legal battle, but being the comics giant that they are, as well as now being backed by the mega-empire of Disney, I still think they’d try to pull the court battle as a scare tactic.  Hopefully, the creators and The CW will be tough enough to stand up to the legalese hurricane that might befall them.

Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 16:20

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