The Tomorrow People has some amazing action sequences and really great super-powers. It has more of an edge than supernatural shows like Charmed or The Vampire Diaries. And yet, it doesn’t have the same resonance as Vampire Diaries or even The Carrie Diaries. One problem is the main cast is a crew of sexy robots. The series is lucky because there is a lower ratings threshold to stay on the air, but, can the show make the important changes to actually build a following?
Here are some helpful changes the series can make to improve their following.
Veronica Mars star Jason Dohring and Carly Pope are some great guest stars. Shameless star Laura Wiggins would also be a great addition to the regular cast as nerdy Irene. The three leads are super hot but the show needs more compelling actors. Robbie Amell, Peyton List, and Luke Mitchell would be just as interesting standing around in their underwear saying nothing. Unlike Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder they are all sizzle and no steak. It’s sad that they recently killed off Ultra agent Darcy (Meta Golding) because she was proving to be an interesting character.
It’s great that The CW likes to cast new actors and make their own celebrities. However, science-fiction fans have tons of cult-favorite actors that aren’t working right now. Heroes capitalized on Star Trek fandom by casting actors like George Takei and Nichelle Nichols. Why not cast actors from cult faves like The 4400, Firefly, or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer?
Play Up The Double Agent Angle...Intelligently
Part of the appeal of the pilot was that it promised an Alias-style tension as high school student Stephen (Amell) does double duty as secret agent and second coming to the underground community of Tomorrow People. However, Stephen keeps getting caught and a blind person could see that he’s not to be trusted. It would be great if Stephen was actually at risk of getting caught.
Stephen and Cara (List) finally consummating their flirtation is nice because it added much needed tension to the show. It was clear to everyone that they were going to knock boots so why not just cut to the chase already.
Don’t Save Mysteries for Later
So far we don’t know much about The Tomorrow People or their history. Waiting too long to reveal secrets might be a little risky. Let’s face it there might not be more than one season so why not just put the pedal to the metal and actually have some super-powered fun.
Inject Some Humor, Stat
The series needs a little levity and humor. It’s enough to suspend belief that people can have super powers or that a teenager can be a secret agent. However, it’s impossible to believe that a bunch of people with no sense of humor could end up on television. The series could afford to be a little more tongue-in-cheek and stop taking itself so seriously.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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