Are teenagers really an entirely different species? The cast and crew of The Tomorrow People talk about the franchise's long history as a metaphor for youth culture and why they feel it's a more grounded version of the X-Men.
While talking to members of the press during Comic-Con, executive producer Danny Cannon mentioned that he watched the 1970s version of The Tomorrow People as a kid and instantly connected with it as something familiar:
I was amazed when I went back and watched it, because in my head it was much more accomplished. But when you're a kid, it's not the production value. When you're a kid, I think you look at how you relate to it. It was about kids from a normal neighborhood that I recognized and accents that I recognized, and how they were feeling alienated and really different, a little bit invisible and left in the shadows, and how they are told that they are actually special. And that David Bowie song, "Oh! You Pretty Things" — the original writer [of The Tomorrow People], Roger Price, saw a shift in the mid-'70s of people changing after the '60s, that the youth were feeling empowered. And how not cutting your hair and going into the army and doing what Mom and Dad says, that nuclear family thing is gone. How everybody was experimenting and moving forward and there was a freedom. And I guess I relate to that.
Fellow producer and series writer Phil Klemmer agreed:
I believe that every generation gets to be defiant or feel defiant, redefine themselves. I think as a metaphor, being a new species is really cool. I'm sure that my kids don't think that they're the same species that I am.
Cannon says that he believes that many viewers will connect with The Tomorrow People as a low-key superhero show, sans the spandex:
Superhero films right now are big, and that's cool, and the X-Men franchise was awesome—is awesome. I just think this is a more grounded way to do that. Rather than costumes and acrobatics and explosions and things like that, this is much more like, "What if there were something in the DNA that would change them." The show could be any kid on any block on any street in any country. And I think it's a super easy show to relate to in that way and I really like the feet-on-the-ground approach to the show.
You can watch the trailer and our read our first impressions of the show here. (It's a fun show if heavy on the wish-fulfillment fantasies.) We're especially excited about the presence of Mark Pellegrino, who plays Jedikiah, an evolutionary biologist intent on destroying the Tomorrow People, who also happens to be the uncle of Stephen, the show's main character. Pellegrino suggests that there may be more to Jedikiah than his fanaticism:
There's definitely something up, and I'm not sure yet what is going on under the surface, because there are things that in the next couple episodes that make me feel, "Where am I coming from?" Because I do seem a devoted, fanatical person intent on one mission. And yet there are elements of compassion in there that make me think something else is brewing and I'm not sure what they're going to do with that yet.
He's also looking forward to delving into Jedikiah's past:
You know, there are such sticky relationships, being the uncle and having a brother with these powers that I didn't grow up with. There feels like Cain and Abel elements to this that need to be explored. Not everything is noble in Jedikiah. There's something underneath the fanaticism that needs to be explored. And something human, I think something fractured that we could touch, I hope, at some point. You don't get that mad without being broken in some way.