A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Tomorrow People is an angsty teen drama with paranormal flair in much the same vein as CW's other offerings like Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries. Similarly it's yet another series that tries to pass off stunningly beautiful adults as everyday teens. Violence is prevalent, including lots of fighting and some deaths (they're not shown, but you see a man firing a gun at a victim, for instance), but there's little blood or gore. There is a fair dose of salty language ("bitch" and "hell," mostly) and a heap of characters whose motives are uncertain, including, to some degree, the main character's. On the flip side, though, his efforts to reconcile the two sides of his identity and find his unique place in the grand scheme can inspire thoughtful conversations with your teens about self-esteem and individuality.
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What's the story?
THE TOMORROW PEOPLE follows Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell), a teen troubled by symptoms of schizophrenia and a mysterious sleep disorder that causes him to wake up in unfamiliar places with no recollection of how he got there. As the voice in his head grows louder, Stephen follows its directions to meet Cara (Peyton List), who tells him he belongs to the Tomorrow People, a highly evolved race with powers of telekinesis, teleporting, and telepathy. Before Stephen can fully process Cara's news, he's abducted by a government agency called Ultra that's tasked with rounding up the Tomorrow People to neutralize their threat. Suddenly Stephen is thrust into a tug-of-war between Cara's group and Ultra's leader, Dr. Jedikiah Price (Mark Pellegrino), who turns out to be Stephen's absentee uncle. With his world crashing down, Stephen must decide between the Tomorrow People and Ultra's cause, all the while searching for clues to how his long-lost father fits into the picture.
Is it any good?
The concept of people with supernatural powers is no stranger to the TV screen. Even taking classic supers like Superman out of the equation, it's been done in shows like Heroes and The 4400 with varying degrees of success. Enter The Tomorrow People, a teen-geared drama centered on a conflicted main character on a quest to uncover secrets from his past and to determine a path for his future. In basic terms like these, he's little different from most other teens, and his journey to find his niche is somewhat reminiscent of your teens' efforts to carve their own paths in life.
The show isn't entirely soapy frills or gripping drama, but it does entertain enough to raise your curiosity about what might happen next. Even better (at least for teens), it revolves around a cast of young adults of considerable physical attraction, which is bound to help its chances with this demographic. One has to consider what this is saying to the teens tuning in, though: If you're casting gorgeous twentysomethings to play supposedly run-of-the-mill high schoolers, doesn't it send impractical messages about how regular teens should look and act? The Tomorrow People certainly isn't alone on this issue, but it is something to ponder.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the concept of the paranormal. Teens: What evidence, if any, exists to support the idea of paranormal activity or powers? Is a shortage of evidence enough to dismiss the possibility entirely?
Teens: Is the issue of body image something you notice in TV shows or movies? How attainable are the appearances of screen stars? Do you ever see people of larger sizes or with other seeming "imperfections" in the shows you watch? Are the expectations different for boys and girls?
What factors contribute to a TV show's success? Does it always have to do with the quality of the concept and writing? Are you less likely to watch something with a cast that's entirely unfamiliar to you?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love sci-fi
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