This review contains spoilers.
1.2 In Too Deep
From the very beginning of this week’s episode of The Tomorrow People, the programme assumes that the viewership isn’t smart enough to remember the rules of the world they’re recreating from one week to the next. Not only do we get an opening voice-over which goes into detail about what the Tomorrow People are, what Ultra’s mission is, and just what the Tomorrow People can do that makes them so special and dangerous, we also get a catch-up “previously on” montage after the opening credit sequence, as well as the occasional reminder explanation of the three T’s during the middle of the episode (telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation). That’s a whole lot of refresher information, and a whole lot more voice-over.
For whatever reason, the show leans heavily on voice-over and ADR, particularly as a set-up and cool-down method. After the cold opening, which was pretty good, we flash back three days previous to that and we get Stephen mentally narrating his own life. Whenever he gets in trouble, we get more voice-over as he reaches out to Cara, or Cara reaches out to John. Whenever he’s with other Ultra agents, there’s more voice-over as Stephen talks to his handler Vaughan (Carter MacIntyre). I get that you need some kind of catch-up segment in your show, and a well-done one can really help keep a show together when things get crazy and plots get thick, but multiple catch-ups seem a bit excessive.
Say what you want to about the relative age of the original version of The Tomorrow People, but the general plot of a teenager with special powers is something that’s pretty familiar to modern audiences. After all, every other movie put out by Hollywood features powerful teenagers, and the trope of the social misfit who discovers he’s secretly some sort of magical saviour is a really old one (and it was old when The Tomorrow People was new). The concept shouldn’t be unfamiliar to CW viewers, what with the show’s lead-in being Arrow. Still, the programme takes multiple chances to remind us of what the show’s all about, when it’s not showing people throw CGI at one another.
Like last week, this week’s episode wasn’t terribly visually engaging. The cold opening worked well as a way to catch some interest in the show, and it was framed and executed pretty well, but some of the other chase and fights in the show didn’t work, particularly the scene where Stephen and Vaughan chased rogue breakout Kyle through some sort of construction site. The set looks as though they simply used the same background three times and pretended to teleport through various roughed-in rooms. Despite everyone running around, it felt really static. The sparring session between Cara and John was more lively, but it was a little too close, a little too jumpy for my taste. However, director Danny Cannon seems to be getting a handle on how to portray the teleportation and its various uses in fights, which is a positive sign.
The more interesting moment was the way Kyle executed his crimes, using other people via telekinesis to hold up the bank, but the bulk of the “we have to help” versus “helping will get us all killed” dialogue from writers Phil Klemmer and Jeff Rake just didn’t help the fact that I just didn’t really care about Kyle’s fate, be he killed by Ultra or taken in by the Tomorrow People. “Breakout Of The Week” won’t be the format that gets this show over; concentrating on stronger characters like Jedikiah (who is a one of the few elements they’ve used really well thus far) and developing the core cast more will help.
Still, thus far, The Tomorrow People has been a disappointment. It’s not as if it’s a taxing show intellectually, but it’s not as clever or as visually attractive as, for example, Teen Wolf is. The two shows share a basic core premise, yet Teen Wolf had a distinctive look and feel from the very first episode with well-defined characters from the outset, while The Tomorrow People continues to feel like a pilot episode in need of sweetening. Simply recycling old ideas isn’t enough.
Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, Pilot, here.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan thinks that the three T’s would be awesome powers to have, except for perhaps the telepathy part. He doesn’t need to know what others are thinking, because he has a hard enough time with his own thoughts. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.