The Tomorrow People: Pilot

"All right, I get it. He's Moses."

High school student Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell, who looks like Oliver Queen with black hair) has to tie himself to his bed every night because he teleports uncontrollably while he's sleeping. He's taking drugs for his diagnosed schizophrenia that don't seem to be working because he keeps hearing a voice that no one else can hear.

The mysterious John and Cara show up and teleport Stephen to a secret underground lair under Manhattan and tell Stephen he's one of the "Tomorrow People." (They didn't choose the name for themselves, which is good because it's kind of stupid.) Stephen isn't schizophrenic; he's a genetic mutation like John and Cara and the other people in the lair, and Stephen's latent powers (teleportation, telepathy, telekinesis) are erupting uncontrollably, "breaking out" like a really bad case of acne.

Of course, there are bad guys. There is a shadow war between the Tomorrow People, who are referred to repeatedly as a new species, and a government agent called "Ultra" (I wonder if they didn't choose the name for themselves either, because it's also kind of stupid). Agents of Ultra hunt down and do horrible things to the Tomorrow People. And Stephen is appalled to learn that his absent, supposedly deadbeat dad wasn't so deadbeat -- he was the leader of the Tomorrow People, and possibly a prisoner somewhere.

Five minutes in, and I was thinking, they're not even pretending this isn't a giant X-Men ripoff. And Stephen, who is of course the strongest mutant of all almost instantly, is so Neo that he can even bullet-time. I did sort of like John, who was snarky and fun, but Cara, unfortunately, reminded me of Kristin Kreuk. (The CW suits must have a type.)

The bad guys were more interesting than the heroes, because Mark Pellegrino as Jedikiah, the head of Ultra, instantly added weight to the show -- evil, but with just the right touch of ambiguity. I'm not sure this is the property I want for Mark Pellegrino, though. And everything else was just way too predictable. The only real surprise was the ending, when Stephen went to work for Jedikiah, who turned out to be his uncle. Is Stephen infiltrating Ultra to get information about his father? Of course he is. That's a plot twist that probably should have waited a season or two.

At least they don't seem to be taking it all too seriously. That might be this show's saving grace. But when I'm writing a review and the only words that come out are flavored with snark, that's a sign that the series might not be for me.
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Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.

11 comments:

Enid said...

Billie,

I so agree with your review. I watched against my better judgement. I think pilots are strange things. They can be really good or really bad which this one fell into the latter for me. It was too much like The Matrix, Jumper, I am Number Four, and X-men. Something about it just doesn't work. I guess it was because it was a bit predictable. I knew the head Ultra was related to him. I even knew he'd show up at the house to threaten/blackmail him. I remember Peyton List (Cara) from ATWT when I watched soaps but you called it on how she looks like Kristin Kreuk.

And the other thing that bothers me is the fact there is a possibility of triangle between Cara, John, and the New Neo. In fact, part of me thinks New Neo and John are related probably cousins. I don't know if this show will make it or not but I'm taking a pass on this one.

Billie Doux said...

Yeah, Enid, I thought Mark Pellegrino's character was John's father, too. But then he shot right at him in the bullet-time sequence and it just seemed a bit harsh, you know? :)

Patrick said...

I'll freely admit this pilot wasn't anything extraordinary, but I'm giving this show a chance mostly out of nostalgia. I still have fond memories of watching reruns of the original 1970's BBC version of this show on Nickelodeon when I was a kid.

The main question I was asking when Stephen was getting the grand tour was where it all came from. Who built TIM? If they didn't pick the name Tomorrow People, who did? So far the only reason I can see is "because they were in the original show", so I'd like a little of that backstory filled in pretty soon.

I don't really see the resemblance between Peyton List & Kristin Kreuk. I mean yes they're both strikingly beautiful women with long straight hair, but that's about it. Kristin's only three inches shorter than Peyton, but reads a lot shorter on screen(maybe it's a question of footwear or co-stars, I dunno). Kristin's(30) three years older than Peyton(27), but still looks like she's in her early 20's, one of the reasons I still have a hard time believing her as a cop on Beauty & The Beast. Personally, I like Peyton List quite a bit. I've seen her in a few things, and am curious to see what she can do with a leading role like this. And for someone not known for action work, I thought she sold her hits well in the fight towards the end. Plus in a show about a bunch of telekinetics it was nice to still see some good old-fashioned fisticuffs :)

But yes, overall this pilot was incredibly predictable and did nothing on its own to make me say "holy crap I can't wait to see what happens next week!" Except that I am actually curious to see where they go with this, so until it starts actively stinking up my screen I'll probably keep watching. Heck, in the DVR age it's not like we have to make these choices right away. :)

Billie Doux said...

I never saw the original (I was vaguely aware that it existed), but it explains the names "tomorrow people" and "ultra". And I'm probaby being unfair to Peyton List, but I'm unfamiliar with her work and she does give me a Kristin Kreuk "I'm very, very pretty but cannot actually act" vibe.

Patrick said...

Actually if you remember Billie, Peyton played Lois' sister Lucy in a couple of episodes of Smallville :)

Billie Doux said...

So she did! Maybe that's where my subconscious got the comparison to Kristin Kreuk.

Enid said...

Yeah, Billie, it is harsh to shoot at your son. I guess maybe it's all the Scandal watching I'm doing with Joe Morton as Poppa Pope ; ) The other thing I forgot to mention is I wanted to like this because of Mark Pellegrino as well. I screamed out Jacob when I saw him.

@Patrick: I don't think they look exactly alike but I understood Billie's thoughts about them. Sometimes it's just two people can give off a similar vibe. Sorta like Amy Adams and Isla Fisher. To me, they don't look exactly alike but they had certain similarities which make them seem more similar than dissimilar. Maybe it's also they play two characters with four letter names too :)

Josie Kafka said...

Billie, I think you've actually seen Peyton List in a lot of things: she's in Mad Men and was in FlashForward.

I mention this only because I didn't recognize her at all, either. She's lovely but quite bland. :-)

I watched about 20 minutes of this and decided it's not for me. I loved your review, though.

Morgan India said...

It's really weird watching Luke Mitchell in a CW show, let alone with an American accent. I think my brain still sees him as Romeo from Home and Away, the show that seems to spew out successful ex-pats like Ryan Kwanten and Chris Hemsworth.

I like this show, but I can't help but feel that it may be cancelled eventually?

CrazyCris said...

Meh...

And that's pretty much my impression of the pilot! Bland, not great actors or dialogue, predictable story... I'm afraid there are too many interesting new shows on this Fall for this one to deserve much more consideration from me...

I think the CW pops out one or two +/- good new shows each year (or at least 2 that will be kept) and the others... bof! This year it's The Originals and maybe Star Crossed or the 100, but not this one (and I seriously doubt Reign starting next week!). The 100 sounds like the most promising one to me...

ChrisB said...

I enjoyed this enough. I liked Stephen a lot and thought Amell's acting was spot on. Unfortunately, the others did not quite reach his level.

Except, of course, for Mark Pellegrino who can do no wrong. He was his usual awesome self. I am in the camp that think's he is John's father, bullet or not.

This is one I can see coming back to at some point in the future when I am in bed with the flu and need something mindless to watch. It's not one I will watch every week.