There have been plenty of shows where the execution seems muddled and the production value’s pretty low, but I still watched them anyway. The Tomorrow People (the 90’s version) is exactly that show. Much like Power Rangers before it, as I watched, I knew something was off, but I couldn’t quite articulate it. But, what is The Tomorrow People?
Teenagers one day find themselves with powers that include telekinesis, some other stuff probably, and teleporting. Their powers come from aliens, maybe, I’m not too sure. While dealing with a potential extraterrestrial threat and shadowy organizations who want to capture them, these kids help others in need, or something. I’m not entirely clear on a much of this, circling back to what I alluded to early.
This was originally a UK show, airing in series blocks of 2 -4 episodes from 1973 until 1979. Throwing out everything that came before, the show was brought back in 1992 for syndication, airing on Nickelodeon in the States. The cast featured a diverse group of kids, which amounted to white boys who spoke different kinds of English (UK, US, Aussy), and a black girl to help make the show easier to sell overseas.
Now, what made this show different? For starters, it was produced in the UK, which means it was filmed on the same grainy VHS camera the entire country has used to film everything since 1971. With the exception of Sherlock, every BBC/UK show I’ve ever watched has a grainy quality, mixed with an odd frames per second (FPS) count not standard in the US that makes them difficult to watch. Honestly, when watching The Tomorrow People in 1992, I thought it was a decade old.
After the first season, creator Roger Price left, handing writing duties off to someone else. Two of the main characters from the first season, Kevin and Lisa, were dropped without reason. Absent an episode guide, I thought I’d missed something, though the show went on with nary a mention of these two. Don’t fret, more multicultural pals were added. Naomie Harris of Skyfall fame joined the cast as the token black character and female. That’s a two-fer.
What stuck out most of all, aside from the lackluster writing, was that no one could act. I mean like wow. At the tender young age of REDACTED, I didn’t know such a thing existed. I thought everyone on TV could act. Why else would they be their? Watch the video clip of the intro, summarizing some of the events. Tell me I’m wrong, about any of the points I’ve made.
Back? Good. Whatever taste that left in your mouth is what I’ve thought of The Tomorrow People for the last 20 years (I’ve had time to mull it over). This is why when the CW announced a new show based on the property, I was perplexed. Having seen a handful of episodes, I can tell you the 90’s version was better, but at least it has an excuse why it’s bad.
The Tomorrow People is an interesting footnote not worth remembering, or writing about… now I feel like I’ve wasted my time. If you’re really into people telporting, read Jumper, it’s better (and nothing like the movie).
Remember this version of the The Tomorrow People? Confused by it as I was? Comment below!
Not going to lie, really wished I had their powers when I was a kid.