Fall TV First Impression: The Tomorrow People
The broadcast networks have almost 30 shows debuting this fall, including new sitcoms from Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes, a futuristic tale from the Fringe team and Marvel-ous adventures for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.
Next up on our list….
THE SHOW | The CW’s The Tomorrow People (Wednesdays at 9/8c; premieres Oct. 9)
THE COMPETITION | CBS’ Criminal Minds, ABC’s Modern Family/Super Fun Night (new), Fox’s The X Factor and NBC’s Law & Order: SVU
THE CAST | Robbie Amell (Revenge), Peyton List (Mad Men), Mark Pellegrino (as seen in pretty much everything that’s cool), Luke Mitchell (Home and Away), Aaron Yoo (Disturbia) and Madeleine Mantock
THE SET-UP | This update of the 1970s British sci-fi series stars Amell — aka the cousin of Arrow himself — as Stephen Jameson, a standard-issue teen save for his tendency to wake up in other people’s beds, no matter how securely you shackle him down. Stephen soon learns he is one of the “Tomorrow People,” a super-secret, supernaturally enabled race fronted by Cara and John (played by List and Mitchell). Their adversary is Ultra, an organization of paramilitary scientists led by Dr. Jedikiah Price (Pellegrino).
THE FIRST IMPRESSION | This is a fastball down the middle for The CW, pairing a handsome cast with a high-concept premise. The set-up is slightly sloggy, as Stephen’s mom (24‘s Sarah Clarke) labors to help him diagnose his “differences,” but the narrative engine revs up once supercool Cara and her crew bust out their bag of tricks. Is Amell, who over the years has guested on this, that and the other thing, ready to shoulder his own series? We shall see. In the meantime, List (as a duster-clad Trinity of sorts) and Mitchell do the heavy lifting, Yoo offers comic relief as a geeked-out Tomorrow Peep, Mantock plays Stephen’s African-American gal pal Astrid (too soon?) and Pellegrino… well, it’s hard to accept the fact that he’s not swinging by for a genre-TV guest spot but in fact is a keeper. (Suffice to say, Jedikiah is a force to be reckoned with.)
The pilot ends in a way I did not see coming, and perhaps the best thing going for the series, which boasts Greg Berlanti (Arrow) and Phil Klemmer (Chuck) as its showrunners, is it doesn’t take itself too seriously, as evidenced when Cara and John let loose with the mythology dump. (For one, they are not fans of the “Tomorrow People” name.) Also, the teleportation effect is kinda whiz-bang cool.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Though The Tomorrow People is an apt companion piece for Arrow (a chiseled Amell struggles to use his special skills for the greater good!), The CW is making a small gamble betting a whole night on two relatively new shows. If retaining most of its lead-in will qualify as a “success,” though, there’s no reason to bet against this new kid.