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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Tomorrow People: Set 3
The Tomorrow People: Set 3
A&E Video // Unrated // May 30, 2006
List Price: $59.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted May 15, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

With the release of The Tomorrow People Set Three, A&E has completed the original run of the show.  Containing seasons six, seven, and eight, this four disc set has the last seven adventures of the teens who are mankind's next step in evolution.  Unfortunately, with these shows the series takes a noticeable dip in quality.  While this was never an outstanding series, the earliest seasons had a certain charm to them.  This final set is filled with cheesy stories, sub-par acting, and special effects that are even worse than viewers have come to expect.  Though the biggest fans of the show will be glad to see these last stories, most casual viewers will want to pass on them.

With the ability to read minds, levitate object, and teleport themselves, the Tomorrow People are the next stage in human evolution.  Led by the serious and stoic John, the group also consists of the Mike, the rebellious teen who doesn't like following John's orders, the sensible Elizabeth (who doesn't appear in the sixth season), and the inscrutable oriental Hsui Tai who often gets to stay behind and watch the base.  These youths live in their secret base in London and are mentored by the supercomputer TIM.  Together they protect the world from alien invasion, shape-shifting monsters, travel through space, and basically have a lot of amazing adventures.

This show was ITV's answer to Dr. Who, and it shares a lot of the good doctor's trappings: multi-episode storylines, cliff-hanging endings, and super-intelligence winning out over brute force.   However The Tomorrow People doesn't have the same charm that Dr. Who has or the interesting stories, it comes across as a cheesy take-off that doesn't measure up to the original.

There were some good episodes in the previous two sets, but with this collection, the series just runs out of steam.  The stories are significantly more inane than they were previously, and the dialog, never a strong suit of the show, becomes more unrealistic and absurd.  It seems as if Roger Price, who created the series and wrote all of the shows in this set just ran out of ideas.  He starts to repeat himself using the same ideas, albeit slightly differently, in different episodes.   In both Hitler's Last Secret and The Living Skins for example, a new fashion craze is actually the start of an evil plan by aliens.  Aliens invade fairly often too, with five of the seven stories in this set revolving around extraterrestrial menaces.

This series is also plauged with plot holes and things that are never explained.  The change of secret bases is a good example.  Up through season five the Tomorrow People has a base in a disused London Underground tunnel.  Starting with season six though, they had a new, brighter and more comfortable base.  They never explained the change, something that could have made for an interesting episode.  Instead fans are just left scratching their heads.  (In reality a fire destroyed the old set and a lot of the props, making the change necessary.)

Several of the plots in these show are also laughably bad (or just embarrassing is you're a fan of the show.)  In this set the Tomorrow People have to deal with several threats to the planet including a revived Hitler, who has been frozen in a bunker along with other Nazi's since the end of the war.  (Hitler is an alien, of course, who is able to control everyone under the age of 30 through genetic engineering.  I know, it makes no sense.  Neither does the fact that every time they show the alien's true appearance, his right eye falls out.)  Other menaces included giant balloons that invade the Earth and human sized salt and pepper shakers that threaten the peace of the galaxy.  Add into it some horrid costumes (especially in the final story line) and a puppet equipped with an aluminum foil beard, and you have a series that has run its course.

Seasons six and seven consist of three stories of only two episodes each and season eight consists of a single four episode story.  The move to two episode stories, which they did in season five, was actually a step in the right direction.  These two part episodes are tighter and while they don't have the scope of the earlier multi-part stories, they get rid of a lot of the padding that frequently found its way into the middle chapters of longer arcs.  Apparently the were hoping for more episodes to be made at some point, because the last story does not wrap up the series.

The DVD:


This four disc set includes all 16 episodes from seasons 6-8 which encompass seven complete stories.  The fourth disc is reserved for extras.  The DVDs come in four keepcases that are contained in a thin board slipcase that matches the other two sets.

Audio:

The two channel audio was a little less than average.  The main problem was that the audio levels were uneven.  In some scenes the background sounds would drown out the dialog.  This happened frequently in the temple scenes in The Lost Gods story.  In addition to that, there wasn't a lot of dynamic range, and sometimes the dialog sounded a little hollow.  The sound effects were sometimes mixed too high, and while it was a bit annoying, that's not a flaw with the DVDs.   There was a little bit of tape hiss in the background, and a dropout of two, but these weren't significant.  There are no subtitles, which is too bad because it was often hard to understand what Husi Tai is saying.  Her accent is very strong and her voice is rather weak.

Video:

The full frame video wasn't that great I'm sorry to say.  The image was very soft with the lines being slightly blurry and the image being slightly indistinct.  The level of detail in the background was also pretty poor.  Just as bad were the digital defects.  Aliasing was prevalent throughout and parallel lines shimmered and moved with a life of their own.  This was quite distracting especially since a lot of outfits have thin stripes that dance around whenever someone moves.  Cross coloration was another problem, with false colors appearing every now and then.  There was several sections that had a large amount of edge enhancement.  This set is still watchable, but it doesn't look very good.

Extras:

The fourth disc in this set is given over to a nice set of extras.  The highlight is an hour long documentary from 1997, Beyond Tomorrow.  It features interviews with actors Nicholas Young (John), Peter Vaughan-Clarke (Stephen), Sammie Winmill (Carol), Elizabeth Adare (Elizabeth), Dean Lawrence (Tyso), Mike Holoway (Michael), Philip Gilbert (Voice of TIM), who reminisces about the show, their characters, and the other actors.  They also talk about some of the politics that went on behind the scenes.  This was fun to watch, although there are no clips from the show included.  There is one big omission, and that is that creator/writer Roger Price isn't included in this documentary.  That's too bad since his comments would have been very interesting are revealing.

There are also separate interviews with Nicholas Young (John) and Nigel Rhodes (Andrew) that are each nearly half an hour long, as well as a shorter interview with TP expert Jackie Clark.  A very nice set of bonus features.

Final Thoughts:

This set is the weakest of the three Tomorrow People releases.  The stories are particularly bad in this group and have weak plots and some really poor dialog.  The special effects are very primitive even for the mid 70's, and the costumes are laughable.  This show has not aged well, and only the most hard core TP fans will want to see these.  Skip it.

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