The Tomorrow People

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

1970s British Speculative Fiction series created by Roger Damon Price (who also created You Can't Do That on Television). The Tomorrow People followed the adventures of a group of Homo Superior, the next stage in human evolution. The titular Tomorrow People were an Ensembles of three to five children and young adults born with special powers, primarily telepathy and the ability to teleport or "jaunt". Using these abilities, the Tomorrow People fought to protect earth from home-grown and extraterrestrial menaces, while keeping their own existence secret from world governments that would misuse their powers, awaiting the day when they could (very politely and bloodlessly) take control of the world away from the "saps" (a diminutive of homo sapiens).

It is almost impossible to discuss The Tomorrow People without comparing it to Doctor Who, to which it (more precisely, the classic series) was, essentially, ITV's answer.[1]

Starting in the third season, the team often traveled to other worlds (played by the BBC Quarry through a sepia filter) on missions for the Galactic Federation, an interstellar alliance of telepathic species.

The Tomorrow People was revived in the mid 90s with the help of Nickelodeon for three seasons. More recently, Big Finish produced a series of The Tomorrow People audio dramas, reuniting many of the original cast members.

Tropes used in The Tomorrow People include:
  • Adults Are Useless: Not just useless: an inferior species. In the Revival, they are also pastiche moronic-adult caricatures as well.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Hold on... Since when was Hsui Tai a Japanese name?
  • BBC Quarry
  • Bloodless Carnage: "The Revenge of Jedekiah".
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Homo Superior are biologically unable to kill people, so they arm themselves with stun guns.
  • Funny Background Event: In the 90s series an old man is frequently seen taking his tortoise for a (leisurely) walk down the pavement. This is never commented on.
  • Hand Wave: In the second series, it's stated that John found a way to jaunt without giving off the flashy light show. It leads to Fridge Logic when Elizabeth jaunts in an identical manner while she's breaking out.
  • Hollywood Science: In sufficient quantity that Dr. Chris Evans should really have thought twice about having his name listed as "Scientific Advisor" in the credits.
  • Ho Yay: The original series is quite blatantly one of the most homoerotic shows ever. The story The Doomsday Men features a group of athletic teenagers being trained to become a fascist military unit in Scotland. There are scenes showing them in kilts, stripped to the waist, and being menacingly caressed with a whip by their commanding officer as part of their "discipline". The later story A Much-Needed Holiday includes a gang of pretty young blond slave-boys being freed by the TPs. These lads are frequently seen in skimpy loin cloths and chains, and some fans of the show have re-titled this adventure "Planet Of The Buggery Boys".
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Pretty much inherent in the series concept. Us Saps need to be replaced by the much nicer TP, doncherknow?
  • Identical Stranger: The Galactic Federation's diplomatic corps consists mostly of clones of the actor who also provided the voice for TIM.
  • In Medias Res: As a result, the seemingly much more interesting origin story is only ever presented in Expospeak info-dumps.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: Years before the Doctor Who revival did it, the 90s remake had an immortal Egyptian villain hide his power-nexus pyramid in the middle of London... as the top of the Canary Wharf Tower.
  • The Nth Doctor: Jedikiah was played by Francis de Wolff in two out of three appearances, but in a weird move, Roger Bizley played Jedikiah for "The Medusa Strain", which took place right after the end of "The Slaves of Jedikiah".
  • Psychic Powers
  • Revival
  • Robot Buddy: TIM, a bio-electronic computer, who later became a mobile trash bin.
  • Space Clothes: Very tacky belts worn to enhance jaunting abilities, as well as a low-budget, not-at-all-bulky space suit. If they jaunted directly into hyperspace, the suit would keep them in one piece.
  • Shout-Out: In "The Doomsday Men", the Tomorrow People and Chris jaunt a van out into orbit. John makes reference to keeping an eye out for a blue Police Box.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Many cast members were replaced over the years.
  • Teen Genius: John.
  • Telepathic Spacemen: The Galactic Federation.
  • Teleporters and Transporters
  • Twofer Token Minority
  • We Didn't Start the Fuhrer
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Telepathy and Teleportation are both fascinating when used in ensemble pieces, but in the context of the show, every member of the Super Team has these exact same powers. When used in eclectic groups like the X-Men, these powers are useful, but ancillary. If asked to demonstrate their supposed superiority, the Tomorrow People would likely come up with secondary powers, such as the ability to punch someone in the face and run away, or to know the most ethnic slurs. Further demonstrated in that the Telepathy aspect in the Nickelodeon redux usually fails to be of any help.
  • You Can Say That Again: Occurs on a few occasions, each time with someone "saying that again".
  1. Primeval being their weapon against the new Doctor Who series.