Telepathy, teleportation and telekinesis

‘The Tomorrow People’ a remake of the British series from the 1970s

Dave Bartlett
Published on March 19, 2014
“The Tomorrow People,” are (from left) Stephen (Robbie Amell), Russell (Aaron Yoo), John (Luke Mitchell) and Cara (Peyton List). — Submitted photo.

Last week I ended my column by discussing the NBC show “Heroes,” which is set to make a comeback as a miniseries sometime next year.

I also noted that I’m getting a little tired of all the superhero shows and movies that have popped up during the last decade or so.

I like comic books and the caped-adventurer genre, but it seems every minor property is being optioned to Hollywood faster than the Flash draw doodles.

While some of these remakes and first takes have been great, others have ridden the trend’s cape-tails to various degrees of commercial and narrative success — and the two are not always in sync.

“The Tomorrow People” is another such series and one of a handful of shows I started recording in the fall, but had yet to watch. In its case, it was largely due to the name.

But I was quick to learn this weekend, when I picked the show for this week’s column, that it is actually a remake of a series from the U.K. that aired for six years in the 1970s, was revived for a handful of years in the 1990s and then turned into a series of radio plays in the 2000s.

Having no knowledge of the previous incarnations, I’ll keep my opinions to the show which premiered on CTV — and The CW network in the U.S. — this past October.

I assume the 50th anniversary of “Doctor Who” may have had something to do with this American remake.

Overall, “The Tomorrow People” is a half-decent sci-fi show with pretty good special effects and an interesting, if not terribly original, plot about the evolution of the human species into a mutated race known as homo-superior.

With that, of course, comes the fear that these new people-with-powers will turn on regular folk, so a secret government organization hunts these mutants; at least the ones that decide not to work for Uncle Sam.

I did find it amusing that the characters slag both terms — Tomorrow People and homo-superior — in the pilot, which shows the writers aren’t taking themselves too seriously.

I’m not sure if this is an update, or if the source material was also a bit tongue-in-cheek.

The plot revolves around Stephen (Robbie Amell), who keeps waking up in strange places.

He’s been diagnosed as a sleepwalker, but also shows signs of schizophrenia — something his father developed later in life.

Stephen soon learns it’s not a mental illness; that his meds are making things worse; and what his dad had — and passed on — was a genetic mutation which gave him the power of the 3 Ts: Telepathy, teleportation and telekinesis.

He’s not sleepwalking, but teleporting in his sleep as his powers begin to manifest.

One other notable symptom is these mutants are incapable of intentionally killing anybody.

Drawback or improvement you decide, but an organism that cannot defend itself in a fight to the death doesn’t sound like something Darwin would think much of. Meanwhile, the voice in Stephen’s head is another Tomorrow Person named Cara (Peyton List) who tries to guide him into an underground collection of mutants hiding from the government goon-squad known as Ultra.

The resistance is a dozen or so mutants living in an abandoned section of sewer or subway tunnel and an artificially intelligent computer named Tim. John (Luke Mitchell), the leader of the resistance, stole Tim from Ultra.

The term “shadow war” is overused in the show’s first two episodes and that’s all I needed to see to get a feel for “The Tomorrow People.”

Of course Stephen’s uncle (Mark Pellegrino) is the head of Ultra. Of course his missing father is the legendary leader of the revolution, and of course Stephen is caught in the middle.

Will he protect his family and join his uncle to hunt and kill mutants or join the underground and put the people of his past in danger to advance the new race of beings?

I don’t feel anything stated above is a spoiler, because the writers hold your hand as they guide you through an age-old plot, and don’t even try to keep secrets from the audience.

As Stephen quickly becomes a double agent for the resistance, it’s not even a secret that his uncle knows he’s a spy. And Stephen is also aware his uncle knows he’s a traitor.

Telepathy, I guess, is the ultimate spoiler.

By laying all this mystery bare, I’m not sure why anyone would be intrigued or amazed by “The Tomorrow People.”

 The cast is fine, the writing OK. The look and feel of the show works. And it is fun.

However, I have too many other great shows I’d rather watch right now.

Correspondence goes to Dave Bartlett at as he hunkers in his bomb shelter, waiting for

government goon squads to seek him out — only to realize he’s harmless.