The Tomorrow People: 101 Pilot Review
Reviewed by Mark McCullough
Having read the premise for The Tomorrow People, I was really looking forward to seeing what it has it offer. The series itself is a remake of the British sci-fi series of the same name which aired on ITV in the 1970’s and was rebooted in the early 1990’s for a few years. Having no experience of the original series, I had no idea what to expect.
We are introduced to the main protagonist Stephen Jameson in the opening scenes, he is presented as a relatable teenager, coming from a middle class single family, and he is a little down on his luck having lost touch with his friends and admits his problems are only just beginning. His character is portrayed quite strongly and his relationships with his family and the turmoil of his current predicament make him a very likeable character with whom the audience can easily empathise.
Our first taste of the action occurs in the first five minutes where we see John break into a building to retrieve a file. Following his escape he is pursued by a mysterious gang of Ultra agents who (like him) have the ability to teleport. John and his associate Cara soon become acquainted with Stephen as it revealed that Cara has been the reason for Stephen’s ‘hallucinations’. Stephen is dragged into a strange new world of the Tomorrow People, here he finally gets his answers as do the audience as it is established that the Tomorrow People possess the powers of Teleportation, Telepathy and Telekinesis. The cause for these unprecedented abilities is a genetic mutation producing the species Homo Superior.
The Ultras from earlier are established as the series’ threat. The government wants to prevent the Homo Superiors so have developed a containment strategy to neutralise them. They are depicted to be brutally evil, using the captured Homo Superiors to hunt down their own species. The price of failure is death adding a sense of urgency and peril to the situation of those captured. Further revelations about the Tomorrow People are made, including their inability to kill and the fact that their leader was Stephen’s father. This leads to some emotional scenes where Stephen discusses his past and how his father left his mother alone with two young children to care for. As would be expected of anyone in the situation he is unaccepting and refuse to believe it, in turn further cementing his character as a realistic one.
Things take an unexpected twist as Stephen is abducted by Ultra who have knowledge of his father and claim to have knowledge of his death. They present a logical reason as to why the Tomorrow People pose a threat and reveal that they have a cure using DNA recombinant therapy. Ultra’s Homo Superior proof base turns out to be no match for Stephen’s powers (including having extra abilities) as he truly takes after his father and is the most powerful of the Tomorrow People.
The biggest surprise comes near the end where Jedikah the leader of the ultras is revealed to be Stephen’s uncle (his father’s human brother). Jedikah asks Stephen to help him in his goal and in turn help the Tomorrow People. Stephen is faced with an impossible choice to side with his new friends or his long lost uncle. Having not received the answers from the Tomorrow People he is unwilling to side with then and to accept that he isn’t normal. He remains as a friend to the Tomorrow people, but works with his uncle, something which will be interesting to see how it plays out in later episodes.
For a pilot episode of a series it establishes strong characters: Stephen and his family are eminently likeable and relatable to large proportions of the audience. Stephen’s friend Astrid offers a friendly face for Stephen in times of difficulty. John and Cara are mysterious, but the chemistry between is obvious.
An excellent start to what looks like it could be an enjoyable series. The pacing was spot on, setting was appropriate to the feel of the show. The real highlights though are the plot which was very strong and has left a few unresolved questions and the character are fantastic, so all else failing it looks like it could still be a strong character piece.