ADVERTISEMENT

As if high school weren’t tough enough, Stephen Jameson is convinced, with good reason, that he is going crazy.

He hears voices no one else does. Yet in Stephen’s strange new life the voices are real. He’s a superior creature, a “homo superior,” as he discovers on the compelling “The Tomorrow People,” premiering at 9 tonight on CW.

Stephen is a good guy, said Robbie Amell (“1600 Penn”), who plays the student. He earns good grades and is a devoted son, but his life unravels.

“In the past year things have gone to hell for him,” Amell said. “If you were hearing voices in your head that weren’t your own, that would be horrifying. He is finding out that there isn’t anything wrong.”

Not if you are a genetically mutated superhuman, there isn’t. In addition to hearing voices, he teleports in his sleep, a habit that does not endear him to neighbors when he wakes up in between a husband and wife.

He can move incredibly fast, punch hard, leap and do it all at seemingly the speed of light. Usually such abilities come with a cape and rubber jumpsuit with built-in muscles.

“For people who know nothing about it, it’s ‘X-Men’ meets ‘The Matrix,’ ” said Luke Mitchell (“H2O: Just Add Water”), who plays John, one of the Tomorrow People. “It has the government agency aspect of ‘Matrix’ with the superpower elements of ‘X-Men.’ “

John is a leader of the Tomorrow People, and involved with Cara (Peyton List, “Mad Men”). The Tomorrow People, which also include Russell (Aaron Yoo, “Disturbia”), are endangered. Since they are evolved, they can’t kill, and that’s a distinct disadvantage.

The paramilitary Ultra, a group of renegade scientists, hunts the Tomorrow People. Ultra considers the Tomorrow People, a species living among us, a threat.

The pilot does a solid job of explaining the mythology of the show, which developed a cult following after being a hit in the U.K. in the 1970s.

The CW version is set in New York. Sometimes the Tomorrow People ride the subway, though if one can teleport, one avoids subways. Their hiding place is an abandoned subway station, where they hone their skills: telepathy, telekinesis and teleportation. They fight as if they’re in a martial arts film.

“It is a genre show,” List said. “It is a sci-fi show. There are superpowers. But we keep it set in reality as much as possible. For the most part, it is based in reality, with regular life conflicts, with loves and love lost. When it is just robots, that just feels hard to relate to.”

Cara reaches out to Stephen; it’s her voice he hears, saying, “You are not crazy.”

He is in chemistry class at the time, and when he yells, “Shut up!” the teacher is not amused.

“Cara is very strong, and she is very secure in her choices,” List said. “She believes in what she is doing.”

Cara and John explain to Stephen who and what he is. This helps him understand why he has astounding strength. Stephen’s powers are far greater than the others.