Review: ‘Tomorrow People’ evolved from many yesterdays past

If the time ever does come when the world is revealed to be full of super-powerful mutants, it is going to be no big deal, so accustomed have we become to the idea.

“The Tomorrow People,” which premieres Wednesday on the CW, is just the latest of many television series to feature seemingly ordinary people whose DNA, from natural evolution or scientific alteration, has got that extra-special something: “Heroes,” “Alphas,” “The 400,” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Indeed, “The Tomorrow People” is itself a fancy reboot —- a mutation, if you will — of a cheesy British 1970s kids’ show that has already been revived once, in an “international” version that ran on Nickelodeon in the ‘90s.

Perhaps you watched then and are excited now. Or are wondering why anyone would have bothered to bring it back — again.

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Who bothered are Greg Berlanti of “Arrow,” Julie Plec of “The Vampire Diaries” and Phil Klemmer from “Chuck.” Among them, they have a pretty good idea how to make a show like this, and they have made it.


The new “Tomorrow People” resembles the first “Tomorrow People” more than it does the second. Here as there, a small band of young “homo superiors” (cf. Bowie, David, “Oh! You Pretty Things,” 1971: “Gotta make way/ For the homo superior”) have gathered together for mutual support in an abandoned subway tunnel. Here as there, they have a talking computer named Tim.

As before, they call themselves the Tomorrow People (“We didn’t choose the name, I swear,” one swears, in a bit of meta-humor) and refer to the homo sapiens as “saps.” They study the “three Ts”: teleportation, telepathy and telekinesis. They are genetically powerless to kill.

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Prominent in this scrappy band are John (Luke Mitchell), who has attitude; Cara (Peyton List), who has sense; and Russell (Aaron Yoo), who is semi-comical. New to their midst is Stephen (Robbie Amell), potentially the Neo in this matrix. (There is a fight on a subway platform. I am just saying.)

“Lately strange things have been happening to me,” Stephen says, “and they’re only about to get stranger.” It is all a giant metaphor for puberty, of course: “Your latent powers are starting to appear,” Cara tells Stephen, adding, as if addressing every adolescent ever, “You think you’re a freak — you’re not.”

Of course, where the actors in the original series were actually teenagers, here they are the sort of TV “teens” who look as if they’re in their 20s, because they’re in their 20s.

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The pilot also introduces Madeleine Mantock as Joseph’s “normal” friend and Mark Pellegrino (Jacob on “Lost”) as government mutant-hunter Jedikiah — there is a “shadow war” going on between the supes and the saps.

Although predictable in predictable ways, there are enough twists and turns and, relatively speaking, complexities of character to keep things interesting, and a pivot at the end that I did not see coming. Which bodes well.


‘The Tomorrow People’

Where: KTLA

When: 9 p.m. Wednesday

Rating: TV-PG-DLV (may be unsuitable for young children with advisories for suggestive dialogue, coarse language and violence)