It turns out that my list is longer than I thought. Today I add The Tomorrow People, Once Upon A Time In Wonderland and The Walking Dead to my Fall TV Roundup List of Possible Watchables, following on from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow and other various offerings that involve angst and unsparkly vampires, which you can read all about here if you’re into masochism.
Below is my review and breakdown of some of the returning and new shows. If you haven’t yet seen a specific entry and intend to, skip it and read on by, because there will be SPOILERS.
The Tomorrow People
I had heard absolutely nothing about this latest offering from the CW until I happened upon a comment made by Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen of Arrow fame) about a new show his younger cousin, Robbie Amell, was set to star in. Having watched it, I can see the family resemblance.
Originally The Tomorrow People was a British program, aired in the 1970’s and spanning eight seasons. Normally accompanying this news there would be clanging alarm bells in my noodle, but I decided to watch the pilot and withhold judgment until then, as there is a bit of a mutant-esque super-powered super-humans sized hole left in my soul since Heroes ended and Alphas got the chop.
As always with pilots, writers and creators rush to provide you with all of the information you might need in order to effectively grasp the premise of the show and build up a slight rapport with one or more of the characters. This is hard to do within forty-two minutes of average running time, and The Tomorrow People succeeds in this regard more than it fails. The cast seem to be solid, although Amell was a new one for me (despite him having been in the likes of Revenge, it was obviously a forgettable performance/character). Joining him is Peyton List (Mad Men, FlashForward), former Aussie soap star Luke Mitchell (Home and Away, Neighbours) and Mark Pellegrino (Being Human, Supernatural, Lost) is adept at creating an ominously malevolent presence within his role of resident baddie.
The “powers” themselves manifest in their entirety (telekinesis, teleportation and telepathy) within each one of the Tomorrow People, with the exception of main character Stephen (Robbie Amell), who appears to be much more powerful than his peers and hesitantly accepting the new “saviour” status they bestow upon him.
Aside from the name being really stupid, I have one other issue that particularly irked me. Amell plays a high school student, who I am assuming, at the most, is supposed to be seventeen. This guy has expression lines on his forehead the size of chasms. I looked him up, he’s twenty-five in real life. I don’t get why a grown ass man playing a baggy-trousered post-pubescent seventeen year old high school student would be appealing, or believable, to anyone. I get that his powers manifest at a certain period in his life, but come on. Cast an actual teen, or at least have him in college. That way you don’t have to deal with getting around pesky parents, little brothers or the fact that you’re not allowed to stay out passed 10pm because saving the world can wait until tomorrow when it’s a school night. This is a serious pet peeve of mine, but I digress.
Having only seen the pilot it is hard to judge if there is any potential here, but I will be giving it a chance.
Once Upon A Time In Wonderland
One word: disappoint. Well I have more words than that, but it pretty much sums this first episode of this brand new spin-off series up for me. I’m not sure exactly what it was I was expecting from this; perhaps I was hopeful for a return to the wonderful magic that the first season of Once Upon A Time had given me. That didn’t happen, instead I got a hodge-podge hot mess of poor writing, awful CGI and an unforeseen crossover of fairy tales.
That’s not to say it was all bad. I was intrigued by the opening; Alice, now a young woman, is in the loony bin, trying to convince the ebil dome doctors that she’s perfectly sane. It’s rather a dark scene, and already I’m impressed with Sophie Lowe as Alice. I like the direction this is going and I think to myself, “Ooh, this could be juicy.” Throughout this scene we’re bombarded with quick, concise flashbacks as the doctor interviewing her lists off her litany of delusions. We see her thirty second love affair with a genie in a bottle, his proposal and then his supposed demise by the hands of the Red Queen. Who is not the original Red Queen, by the way, not sure how they plan on explaining that one. Anyway, after signing a portion of her brain away and giving permission to be lobotomised (I’m pretty sure that’s what they were getting at), Alice is “rescued” by the Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha of Being Human and This Is England fame) and The White Rabbit (voiced by the wonderful John Lithgow) and she falls down a rabbit hole and lands back in Wonderland, where it all just goes to poop.
I’ll kick things off with what I liked. As soon as Alice was snapped out of her funk, she seemed to be a capable and resourceful young woman, who was well able to throw a punch and a kick. I liked the cast, however misused they were, the new Red Queen (Emma Rigby) just looked delicious and there was a subtle chemistry between Lowe and Socha. Jafar (Naveen Andrews) force-chocking the Queen was a lulzy moment.
And now for what I didn’t like. The CGI was terrible. In the original Once Upon A Time the sub-par CGI was part of its charm for me, I didn’t need it, they didn’t have to use it all that often (you can film the Enchanted Forest in a regular old forest, for example), but in Wonderland for the sake of visuals you really do need to bring in the big guns. The corny five minute love story bugged me to no end, too. Yes, yes I know that fairytale land is rife with them, but this felt the most ridiculous of them all.
Unfortunately I won’t be adding Once Upon A Time In Wonderland to my must watch list. It just wasn’t good.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead‘s return gave me plenty to feel optimistic about. As you could have probably guessed by now, I’m a fan of the show and I’ve been waiting ever so (im)patiently for its return. The last we saw the gang they were bringing in the zombie-fodder survivors having liberated them from Governor Pirate’s regime, and after a time jump of several months Season 4 shows us how they’ve integrated and the extent to which they’ve set up shop in the prison.
We see our original group in positions of authority, the majority of whom have even established a “council”, according to Hershell, which denotes obvious strives toward reclaiming some former semblance of normality in a still very dangerous dystopian society. The introductions to the new folks come quick and fast, but efficiently too, as we succeed in getting to know the bare bones of some of our new additions, and concurrently realise that their newfound confidence in their situation is completely misplaced. Complacence will get you killed and I’ve no doubt it is a lesson these people will have to learn repeatedly. I’m looking forward to what could be a new season full of intricate and interesting character development for our core group, as well as some mass Red Shirt deaths in the coming episodes.
For some great recaps be sure to mosey on over to Sidekick Reviews, which is probably where I’ll be doing the majority of my TWD discussions.
I have one or two other recommendations to get through, but that’s pretty much me done and dusted for now. What are you lovely people watching? Anything good? Hit me with it!