The Tomorrow People Series Premiere Review “Pilot”

It’s really dangerous to get as excited for a show as I’ve been for The Tomorrow People because you build your expectations up so high that the show could never actually meet them. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case with this show. It met, and in some cases even exceeded, my expectations.

A series premiere always has a lot of heavy lifting to do in that it has to establish who the characters are, lay out some of their relationship beats, and set the stage for the season-long character arcs. That is no easy task to accomplish in roughly forty-two minutes, but The Tomorrow People did it pretty well. The episode opens by introducing us to Stephen Jamison. He’s a pretty normal kid until all of a sudden strange things start happening to him. Among them, he hears a woman’s sultry voice in his head and he sleepwalks. On several occasions he’s found himself in his neighbor’s house and woke up in their bed. Awkward.

As it turns out though, Stephen wasn’t sleepwalking. He was teleporting. After the leaders of the tomorrow people (they didn’t pick the name) Kara and John found Stephen, they explained what was happening to him and why Ultra is hunting them. Apparently, Ultra is the not-so-secret quasi-governmental agency tasked with hunting down and killing tomorrow people. Ultra is lead by the extremely ruthless Jedikiah Price who also happens to be Stephen’s long lost uncle. Or so he claims. I’m not convinced he was telling the truth about that, but only time will tell. After Jedikiah realized how powerful Stephen is, he basically forced Stephen to work for him by threatening his family. Stephen figures he can take the agency down from the inside, but I’m not entirely sure how well that plan is going to work. I don’t think Jedikiah is really going to trust him, and I should point out that Jedikiah is a man who seems to be missing a conscience. Good luck, Stephen.

The themes evident in The Tomorrow People aren’t new, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a reason stories like X-Men have stood the test of time. The desire to belong, the desire to do something meaningful, the desire to do what’s right, and the desire for basic survival are timeless. Furthermore, the idea of Us versus Them is a story that plays out over and over again in science fiction stories. The tale is generally the same. Somehow or other, a person or group of people develops powers or abilities that scare the crap out of another group of people. The only solution the scared people can come up with is to exterminate the people with abilities, whether they’re actually a threat or not. It’s not original, but it does provide the opportunity for some really good drama and even better action.

Jedikiah poses an interesting problem. On the one hand, he believes himself to be on a righteous mission to save humanity. He believes the mutants (and let’s face it, that’s what they are) pose a very real and imminent threat to the world as we know it. If he doesn’t stop them, the world will end. On the other hand, Jedikiah is a cold-blooded killer. He straight up murdered the tomorrow person that he was forcing to work for him, and he would’ve murdered Stephen and his friends too if Stephen hadn’t been able to get everyone out of the facility. Furthermore, Jedikiah’s motives don’t seem completely pure to me. He’s got issues with his brother and those issues, whatever they are, seem to be a big part of the driving force behind his quest to rid the world of tomorrow people. No one does misunderstood righteous man the way Mark Pellegrino does. I first noticed it in his sympathetic portrayal of Lucifer on Supernatural and Bishop on Being Human. There were times, especially while watching him as Lucifer, that I found myself empathizing with his character’s plight and wishing that the other characters would just try to understand where he was coming from. That was due to the writing certainly, but mostly it was due to Pellegrino’s wonderful performance. The same is true of Jedikiah. He plays the villain in such a way that, at times, it feels like he’s not a villain at all. He’s just a guy trying to do what he thinks is right even if most other sane people would say he’s evil. Pellegrino brings an element of compassion and sincerity to Jedikiah that I actually found kind of unsettling when you consider some of the horrible things Jedikiah did.

I would say that The Tomorrow People is well on its way to becoming an interesting, layered story. They’ve already laid out a few directions the story could go, but I’m hoping they don’t go the obvious route. The powers that be have the opportunity to step outside of the box in their storytelling, and I hope they take it. But as pilots go, this was a good one. It kept me engaged for the entire hour and made me interested to find out what happens next. Even more than that; I actually care about the characters. That, above all, is really what matters. The powers that be have assembled a likeable hero; solid supporting players; and a ruthless and intimidating villain. They have all the ingredients for a great show. Please don’t mess it up guys. So what did y’all think of The Tomorrow People premiere?

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