Just as audiences have been told for ages not to judges books by their covers, Tomorrow People executive producer Phil Klemmer is hoping people don’t judge his new show by others’ perceptions.
“I think that you know there’s a couple of things that makes this different than pretty people with powers,” he says, before quipping, “There will be ugly people with powers, and there will be evil people with powers.”
Jokes aside, Klemmer says the series, based on the British show of the same name, is a world layered with complex questions, and he hopes audiences pick up on that. “For me, it’s more a story about a generation that could be any generation who feels like they’re innovating on whatever their parents did and their teachers did, and it’s a story about struggle between generations,” he says. “It’s like a coming of age story in one sense but then the backdrop is huge – there’s nothing larger or more dramatic than the notion of where we’re headed as a species.”
On the show, Robbie Amell (cousin of Arrow’s Stephen) plays a young man who comes into awareness of his powers, and is quickly sought out by an agency called Ultra that seeks to wipe out his kind. His road to escape the group brings him in contact with a group of others who have talents similar to his own – teleportation, telekinesis and the sort. The series will highlight the struggles between Ultra and the Tomorrow People. “I think that’s really interesting because, as a human, I feel like we’re f–king so much up, that like part of me fantasizes that there will be some sort of quantum leap in our DNA that will lift us out of [the] federal government shutdown and God knows how many wars and crapping up the planet,” Klemmer says. “If the Tomorrow People came along and said like, ‘You screwed up, humans. We’re the future,’ I don’t know, I think I’d have to get out of the way. Like, ‘What are your ideas, guys?’ How can we get rid of this deadlock in Congress?”
Getting all of that across in a pilot is a tough task, Klemmer admits, but hopes people stick with it long enough to get a sense of the meaty backstories and themes. “[We] create characters who, by definition, are mysterious and try to hide who they are and where they’re coming from and…have sort of severed their ties with the human world,” he says, “but what we get to do in every episode when we explore who they were as human beings is sort of you get to elucidate another life that they had. There’s incredible surprises and incredible poignancy, and it’s just it’s really cool because we’re letting each of our actors play two characters.”
The third episode, for example, will delve into Cara’s (Peyton List) backstory and later, Jason Dohring will guest in an episode that will highlight John (Luke Mitchell). “Whereas the [main] Tomorrow People are content to sort of live on their own, there are other Tomorrow People who take a more aggressive stance and think that humans have overstayed their welcome on the planet,” teases Klemmer of Dohring’s character. “They are willing to sort of go to nose-to-nose with us to make room on the planet.”
Tomorrow People premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.