Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pilot Review: The Tomorrow People

The Tomorrow People (The CW)
Premiered October 9 at 9pm

I’m not terribly optimistic about new offerings from the CW, and this one didn’t do much to defy my expectations. It’s a remake of a British show from the 1960s, once again showing that it’s awfully rare for shows to be truly original these days. It does represent a bit of a departure from the recent trend of reviving shows from the 90s and later, and I suppose that’s something. This premise is far from fresh, with slightly enhanced humans with special abilities struggling for survival in the midst of excessive persecution by a shadowy organization. The CW is keeping it in the family by featuring Robbie Amell, the cousin of actor Stephen Amell, the star of “Arrow,” in the lead role as the unsuspecting possessor of these powers who, not surprisingly, is actually even more talented than all the rest of his people because of his relationship to their fearless and currently missing leader. Among the cast, Peyton List, who has appeared on “Mad Men” and “Flash Forward,” is the most recognizable face, and her role doesn’t seem extraordinarily complex, and she’s surely going to fall for Stephen romantically sooner rather than later. Mark Pellegrino stands out as a far too sophisticated and talented player for this fare, and I think that he’s not even trying that hard but he’s still infinitely better than the show around him. This show seems relatively infantile, and while the concept is theoretically cool, it’s hardly executed in a worthwhile or compelling fashion.

How will it work as a series? Having a villain like Pellegrino’s haughtily-named Jedikiah means that it will be a constant, never-ending cat-and-mouse game. We’ve seen a few good examples of what Stephen and his people can do, and the teleporting might continue to be fun, but could also become tiring. The suspension of disbelief that needs to be maintained has more to do with them keeping their identities secret than the obvious supernatural nature of their abilities.
How long will it last? The CW has its own standards for success, and this one actually did alright, retaining a high percentage of its lead-in’s numbers. I don’t know if the network will want to commit to it just yet, but it’s certainly among their most successful offerings at the moment.

Pilot grade: C-

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