Is it possible to embrace change or allow it to lead to your undoing? Can someone be able to live in two worlds and not get them confused? What happens when your family and friend learn about your secrets? That’s part of the premise behind the CW’s “The Tomorrow People,” which followed a group of gifted teenagers on the run from a group eager to destroy them. Sure, the show has been done before in various degrees, but it has managed to find its stride now and the twists just keep on coming each week.
“The Tomorrow People” followed Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell) who thought that he was slowly going insane through an extreme form of sleepwalking. His mother Marla (Sarah Clarke) was having a hard time keeping a job and getting a grasp on her son’s condition, while his younger brother Luca (Jacob Kogan) hid below the radar. It turned out that there was more to Stephen’s illness than he thought. He met John Young (Luke Mitchell) who was the leader of a group of supernaturally gifted individuals, such as himself, known as the Tomorrow People. This group of young teenagers could teleport from one place to another, read thoughts, move things and even stop time. The only thing that they can’t do is kill people. Stephen grew to realize that he actually one of them, which he inherited from his long absent father Roger (Jeffrey Pierce) who left his family to protect them from a group of people out to destroy them. This group of people formed a company called Ultra that was run by Stephen’s uncle Jedikiah Price (Mark Pellegrino) who was eager to win by any means necessary. Jedikiah and John were once allies when John worked as an Ultra agent that Jedikiah had experimented on in order to turn John into a killer, which allowed John to carry out his assignment to kill Stephen’s father. Due to John’s duplicity, his girlfriend Cara Coburn (Peyton List) became the new leader of the Tomorrow People and ended up having a one night stand with Stephen. The encounter was a mistake for Cara, but Stephen developed real feelings for her. Stephen also had to contend with his only human friend Astrid Finch (Madeleine Mantock) who knew Stephen’s secret, which made her a target for Ultra. Can Stephen keep his loved ones safe without exposing everything else in the process?
In terms of questions, the show posed a few big ones, but the biggest one turned out to be whether it would return for a second season. The show’s fate is currently still being decided at this time, because “The Tomorrow People” has some stiff competition in its Wednesday night timeslot. Okay, the show did get off to a rocky start in its earlier episodes, but the season has managed to find its stride just before the fall finale and has gotten better since. The reveal that Stephen’s mother was a tomorrow person was rather unexpected because the show had given no indication of her hidden abilities; even though the plot twist managed to explain why Stephen’s powers were stronger than most Tomorrow People. The show’s earlier episode tended to focus on Stephen’s high school and supernatural worlds, which followed on too much teen drama that has already been done before on other CW programs. The writers were wise to make Stephen’s main focus was balancing between his life as an Ultra agent and a member of the Tomorrow People. The plot change gave Amell the opportunity for the still young Stephen to grow up and realize that there was more to life than being a normal high school student. Amell also got the chance to develop a potential friendship/rivalry between Mitchell’s John that has gotten more complex now with the reveal that John killed Stephen’s father. The show’s only weak spots involved the love triangle with Stephen/Cara/John and the dynamic between various members of Stephen’s family for very different reasons. The love triangle plot had the potential to be a strong plot, but the writers have seemed to drop it for the time being, even though the story seemed to always be on the horizon. The storylines involving Stephen’s family could use some work developing them, or finding ways to blend them into his Tomorrow People life. Recent episodes have indicated that the latter option is the more likely one of the two for now.
As for breakout performances, Amell, Mitchell and List led the pack as the three main cast members who drove most of the show’s main stories. Amell’s Stephen has developed from being a confused teenager into a morally complex character forced to declare allegiance to two different species. He embodied the character with a sense of right and wrong that often put him in complete danger, such as becoming temporarily dead to get in touch with his father. Stephen’s loyalty to Astrid ended up exposing him to Ultra and made him a target with his ruthless uncle. Amell’s strongest scene came in a recent episode that balance his character’s serious and playful sides as he tried to give newly crowned leader Cara some sound advice after a disappointing loss against Ultra. Mitchell’s John was the show’s resident anti-hero who wanted to do the right thing after making so many mistakes that included murder among them. He embodied John with a level of grit and boyish vulnerability that made viewers realize that there was more to the story. Mitchell’s strongest scenes involved John overcoming his many demons, such as his tainted loyalty to Jedikiah, and examined his past as a neglected foster kid. His most memorable moment came in a recent episode where he tried to help a damaged young girl who was experimented on by Ultra for a long period of time. In a calm reassuring voice, Mitchell’s John allowed the girl to find her strength and start to overcome her past with Ultra. List’s Cara, on the other hand, had the challenging task of being the show’s resident wild card because viewers never knew what she was going to do from one episode to the next. List made Cara a tough girl who cared about her fellow Tomorrow People who became the only family she wanted to have. The character made some large mistakes that were always for the right reasons. Her strongest scene came in a recent episode where she struggled with being a new leader as she dealt with her first defeat from Ultra. List allowed Cara’s anger and disappointment seep into the scene as she searched for reassurance that she deserved to be a leader. Only time will tell if that’s the case.
"The Tomorrow People" premiered on October 9th and airs Wednesdays at 9:00 PM on the CW. New episodes are slated to air starting on February 26th.
Verdict: Amell, List and Mitchell proved to be dynamic leads that kept viewers interested, even when the story material needed a little improvement.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)