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24 October 2013 @ 04:38 pm
The Hoard Potato: Don't Hate Me Because I'm Mutie-ful  
This morning, leonard_arlotte said:

So I've seen commercials for Tomorrow People, but ain't watched it. I am left with a nagging question.

What's the difference between this show and Alphas?

I did see the commercial and think, "Oh look, another show about pretty people with super powers" ...



That's a pretty glib dismissal ... but it's not wrong.

I watched the first episode, and really, the big difference between the two shows is that I didn't want to immediately smack everybody in Alphas, protagonist and antagonist alike.

The big conflict in this show is "OH NOES NORMALS HATE US BECAUSE WE'RE BEAUTIFUL WE HAVE POWERS!!1!"

... just like every other Pretty People With Powers series in the last decade. Heroes, the 4400, Alphas ... even the X-Movies. Show after show after show, and it's all Maintaining the Masquerade so the Mundanes don't Molest the Metahumans. The protagonists only deal with two kinds of adversaries: Dark Conspiracies Who Want To Herd Them All Into Labs and/or "Cure" Them, and Bad People With Powers That Have The Exact Same Origin As Ours.

Assuming you can tell the protagonists from the antagonists, of course.

Moreover ... every single one of these shows characterizes the Pretty People With Powers as "The Next Evolutionary Step" that will "Drive Humanity To Extinction". It's not always just the paranoid norms who think so, either.*

I, for one, am bored with this. It's ... metahuman masturbation, is what it is. All the conflict centers around The Powers, and if you take The Powers away (as several interchangeable adversaries want to do), all the conflict vanishes.

It's like they think viewers aren't smart enough to handle a world that has more than one crazy thing going on at a time.

The sad part is that The Tomorrow People is a remake of a classic BBC series from the 1970s, the era that gave us Blake's 7, and Pertwee and Baker as Doctor Who.**

By contrast, take a look at what they threw at the original 1970s version of Tomorrow People. Aliens! Robots! Alien Robots!

Think the new series is going to touch that subplot where the Tomorrow People are in touch with the "Galactic Federation", who shepherd developing telepathic races as they "break out"?

I don't.

And that's a pity.


* To give Alphas its due, Professor X Dr. Rosen at least paid lip service to the idea that the Alphas were just exceptional humans at the skinny end of the bell curve ... but he was about the only person in the show who did, and even he didn't seem to buy it completely.
** Don't get pedantic with me. That's how they're listed in the credits.
 
 
 
Pakapaka on October 25th, 2013 11:12 pm (UTC)
Heh. A little like how I love how the X-films explore the interaction of humans and mutants and whatever but would it kill them that they should just maybe have the Mojoverse and Sir Patrick Stewart floating around in the Shi'ar chair?
The Mystery of the Supranational Rabbit: by Endeporsupah on October 26th, 2013 02:37 pm (UTC)
But then, such scenarios are allegories for discrimination we do face. One could say that if only everyone were white, racism would vanish - indeed it would, but that's self-fulfilling. The cynic could observe that other bigotry would arise in its place - but then, the nature of such isn't based in logic, but dark, inherent inclinations to seek out similar, and all too often, isolate or destroy the different.

The observation in The Tomorrow People isn't novel, certainly, but no less valid. Were Heroes to play out IRL, or the X-Men, I can quite accept there would indeed be as broad a range of responses as depicted - plenty of surprise, some excitement, some fear.

For all that, I'd love to see world-changing events like the arrival of extraterrestrial intelligence we can relate to, or simply the development of technology to permit recrafting of one's existing body into any anthro form one chose. Turmoil is no reason to shy away from such, after all. Enough people are understanding enough to drive things forward. ^_^
Your Obedient Serpent: Captain America 01athelind on October 26th, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
One could say that if only everyone were white, racism would vanish - indeed it would, but that's self-fulfilling.

Yes, just look at New York in the 1890s, when the Irish, the Italians, the WASPs and all those other white folks got along swimmingly.

Certainly, the "Persecuted People With Powers" trope can be a powerful and effective commentary on bigotry. Where it often fails is in those stories that insist that, now that you are "different", being "different" defines every aspect of your existence. You can never have a life outside of that; every interaction you have with anyone, "different" or (by implication) "normal", will center around your "different" status and the misunderstandings it engenders. Any desire to lead a life that doesn't involve fighting "normal" oppressors or other "different" people just like you is horribly, horribly misguided.

Everything about you as a person and an individual takes a far back seat to being "different".

My complaint about The Tomorrow People is that, more than any of these other franchises about Persecuted Pretty People With Powers, all of the characters, whether they have powers or not, embrace the attitude of "this a war, it's Bloody Evolution, one side is going to drive the other to extinction."

If this is an allegory about racism and intolerance, it doesn't show any signs of questioning it. All indications are that it wholly advocates that "us vs. them" mentality.

Is that really a message we need to encourage and propagate?