Sunday, 20 October 2013

S1x2 - The Tomorrow People: In Too Deep

Aired 16/10/13 on The CW

The Tomorrow People is this season’s new show about attractive people with powers fighting to survive in a world where other people are trying to kill them. There really is nothing special about it. It’s kind of like the powers from Heroes, meets the attractive twenty-somethings playing high schoolers from One Tree Hill, meets every other high school show about teenage angst and not fitting in. The acting is average, the script borders on unintentional comedy in parts, but despite the obvious badness of it, it still appeals to me. After watching episode two, I think I’ve worked it out: it’s so simple and formulaic that I don’t have to think about anything, just passively watch a simple show. And sometimes, that’s just what I need.

It follows Stephen as he discovers that he is actually one of The Tomorrow People, a new species of human evolution who have powers such as teleportation and telekinesis. They are being hunted by Ultra, a company who wants to eradicate their species that they deem a threat to mankind.

The pilot episode is the ‘origin story’, as Stephen found out who he really was and discovered other people like him. However, he was captured by the leader of Ultra, Jedikiah Price, and although he eventually escaped with the help of new friends John, Cara and Russell, it turns out that Jedikiah was in actual fact his uncle. He ends up working for Ultra, the obvious bad guys, so he can find his absent father, a guy who the TP consider some kind of saviour for the species. Using Ultra’s resources and the fact that he seems to be more powerful than the average Tomorrow Person, Stephen thought that everything would be fine working for the people who hunt and kill his kind, as he just wanted to find his dad and get on with living a normal life. Obviously, he was wrong.

Stephen is really na├»ve, bordering on stupid. When he goes out on a mission to find a new ‘Breakout’, a boy named Kurt who had taken to robbing banks with his newly discovered powers, he willingly helps his partner find the teenager, but then becomes horrified when a SWAT team arrives and starts shooting the place up. Er, duh!? What did you think was going to happen Stephen? That they’d all go off and settle their differences over tea? You’re working for a guy who had no problem shooting someone point blank in the head last episode.

Of course, Stephen goes rogue and asks for Cara’s help in rescuing the boy from Ultra so he can go to the TP’s safe haven, and throughout the episode he was trying to convince John that it was a good thing that he was working for Ultra. But John, who had worked there before, pretty much spoke for the audience when he was like ‘um, no it’s not.’

But just when Stephen finally works out that he’s in over his head, John realises that it is in fact the perfect opportunity to stand up and fight now that there is someone on the inside. So far, Stephen has managed to survive the telepathic interrogations and not given up the fact he’s still in contact with the TP, but as his uncle said, he’s too powerful for them to let go; they’re going to keep a sharp eye on him and not let him go for anything. He’s stuck in the position he naively put himself into, with the lives of the TP on his shoulders if he gets discovered, something which was hammered home when he saw his partners dead body after being shot for Stephen’s insubordination.

It’s actually kind of interesting that the show has gone here. If you had asked me what I thought would happen before, I would have said that he would be in the underground tube station with the TP, fighting the evil high tech company intent on killing them, with generic stories and narrow escapes each episode. Instead, Stephen is now responsible for many lives if he messes up and it has raised the stakes on a familiar premise. Of course, it’s still cheesy as hell, and you can see the storylines a mile away, but it’s watchable. If it could only stop with the voiceovers; it’s so hard to get them right, and this show definitely hasn’t.