So, I made a terrible, stupid, horrible, terrible, no-good, stupid mistake this week, and watched the series premiere of The Tomorrow People.
Back in the day, like 1984 back in the day, I used to watch the BBC version of The Tomorrow People on Nickelodeon. (Though the show itself is as old as I am.) It was great, in that kinda-cheesy, liked-it-as-a-kid, not-sure-if-I-would-now kind of way.
Fast forward to 2013, and someone somewhere is remaking it as another generic supernatural pile of crap.
The actors fall right into the Pretty, Pretty Valley, which is the next-door neighbor to the Uncanny Valley. In Pretty, Pretty Valley all the actors are hot adults, playing teens, but adults who’ve never grown up, who’ve never had it hard, who’ve developed no character. Pretty (even the boys) but bland adults, in other words. You can tell you’re in Pretty, Pretty Valley when the tough guys all have stubble. (Or you’re watching something on the CW. Including, yes, The Tomorrow People.)
It used to be that tough guys didn’t need stubble. See Patton, or Shane, or Double Indemnity. Nowadays, tough guys need stubble, otherwise they look like GQ cover models; they’re about as manly and rugged as a box of taffeta hair-ribbons. Stubble butches them up, at least somewhat.
So, the entire pretty, pretty cast (even the boys) comes from Pretty, Pretty Valley and a typical scene looks like a cover shoot for some random tween magazine. Which doesn’t mean it’s a bad show.
One of my favorite shows — Supernatural — takes place nearly entirely in the Pretty, Pretty Valley, but it’s great. Of course, Supernatural back-stops its male model actors with such esoteric techniques as characterization, wit, charm, and compelling villains.
By the way, The Tomorrow People has none of that. Not a bit.
What it does have is piles of cliches. It takes some psi powers from Jumper, some from Push, some from I Am Number Four. It’s almost a remake of previous Pretty, Pretty Valley TV shows Mutant X and Alphas. And while both of those shows were better, more imaginative, and more interesting than this iteration of The Tomorrow People, I still couldn’t watch them.
There’s nothing original here, is the idea I’m trying to get across. How bad is it? There’s an e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-evil corporation. A teenage love triangle. A missing father, who’s the head of the psychic rebels. A single mother, working long hours to support her sons. A total stranger turns out to be related to the main character. And the main character is — get this — The Chosen One.
No, that’s not a shorthand description. They actually use the phrase “The Chosen One”. As in “You’re the Chosen One, bland-but-pretty male lead!”
Now, that plot point isn’t necessarily the kiss of death for an artistic work (though it blighted the Star Wars prequels), but you’ve got to use it subtly and artfully, and they didn’t.
So, pretty, pretty cast (even the boys). Unimaginative iteration of concepts better done elsewhere (going all the way back to 1973, at least). And loads of cliches.
Yup, this show sucked. And watching it was a terrible, stupid, horrible, terrible, no-good, stupid mistake.