The CW adds a new group of telegenic super-powered heroes to its lineup with The Tomorrow People‘s debut tonight at 9/8c.
But what sets this series apart from both its UK predecessor and the myriad other Hollywood takes about normal folks with extraordinary abilities (see also: Heroes, X Men, etc)?
Below, the executive producers and stars sound off on that burning question. Plus: Is Mark Pellegrino’s baddie really that evil? Which trio is going to form a love triangle? And when’s Jason Dohring showing up?
TAKING INSPIRATION | Although the new CW drama is based on the UK program of the same name about young people who possess powers of telekinesis, teleportation and telepathy, executive producer Danny Cannon maintains, “Our version of it is very different. It takes the premise of ordinary people with exceptional abilities and then we run with it a little further.” As for what distinguishes this show from the original series, Cannon believes it’s “the stakes. We’re a little less sci-fi. We’re a little more grounded. But it’s a larger show with a larger scope.”
DO NO HARM | The show’s hero, high schooler-turned-super human Stephen, and his kind can inflict some serious damage, but they’re genetically unable to destroy their enemies. “It’s very cool,” says star Robbie Amell (Revenge, Pretty Little Liars). “I think it separates it from most other superhero stories. You find out some really interesting information about the gene within us that stops us from killing.” Perhaps they should try to find a cure for that because while Stephen is “definitely honing in on [his] abilities,” he still needs all the help he can get. “I’ve spent most of the first nine episodes getting the crap kicked out of me,” reveals Amell.
THREE’S A CROWD | What’s a CW show without a love triangle? Look for Stephen to grow close to fellow Tomorrow People member Cara (Mad Men‘s Peyton List), a development that won’t sit well with her boyfriend (and group leader), John (Home and Away‘s Luke Mitchell). “As Cara’s point of view gets more and more human [and] grounded in humanity as a result of Stephen’s heroism, John is going to notice the bond between them and maybe not like it so much,” previews exec producer Julie Plec, who hints that the triangle could evolve into a quadrangle with the arrival of Stephen’s pal, Astrid.
“Astrid is that person that you have in your life that you want to be able to be open with and tell everything to, like the Joey to his Dawson,” describes Plec, referencing the early days of Dawson’s Creek when the characters would just “lay on the bed and open up and tell [their] whole life stories before things even turn sexual or romantic.” Unfortunately for the besties, “the first thing [Stephen has] got to start doing is telling [Astrid] lies, blowing her off and missing their hangout dates.”
BAD GUY, GOOD INTENTIONS | The Tomorrow People’s biggest foe is Dr. Jedikiah Price, the head of the government organization Ultra, which hunts super men and women. But his portrayer, go-to antagonistic Mark Pellegrino (Lost), is praying that you won’t judge his character too harshly. “Jedikiah’s got a dirty business, unfortunately,” says the actor. “He’s got to do dirty things to do a great thing in the end. Saving the human race is not something for the faint of heart. It’s not for somebody who’s not rather fanatical about what they think. I hope [viewers] can see past that passion and into the human thing that motivates him.”
BACK TO THE PAST | The Tomorrow People can’t time travel, but the show will regularly use flashbacks to explore the characters’ origins. Episode 4, for example, shines a spotlight on John’s story and features guest star and Veronica Mars fave Jason Dohring.Follow @VladaGelman