Lately there have been many attempts to perfect movie adaptions several times. First, it started with Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series (we all remember City of Bones, right? Now there’s Shadowhunters). And now, we’re seeing new hands taking over John Marsden’s well-known Tomorrow series.
For those of you who don’t know, the Tomorrow series is about a war invasion on Australia. When 7 teenagers go on a camping holiday to Hell, a stunning location in the middle of nowhere, they return to find their hometown to not be in the same condition as they had left it. For starters, the place is deserted and their families aren’t at home like they should be. There are dead chickens, cars left in the middle of the road, food left untouched on dining tables. The 7 teenagers discover their country is at war.
The TV show starts off with the characters getting ready to depart for Hell. They’re all climbing into the car and saying goodbye to their parents. There’s no lead into the story and there is no background. Straight away we’re dumped into the middle of it and for those who haven’t read the book or seen the original movie, this pacing could be a bit too fast. I mean, we’re introduced to a bunch of characters, but we also sort of aren’t. We’re only briefly given names which can be easily forgotten in a few short moments and we’re never told who they are. This doesn’t allow for us to develop an attachment to any of the characters.
Because of this pacing, I found it skipped over a lot of sensitivity. I guess they’ll go back over it and get into the sensitivity later but I felt like a lot of vital parts were missing. Two of the biggest character develops are Lee (played by Jon Prasida) and Robyn (played by Fantine Banulski). Lee has his sensitivity regarding his family and his passions, while Robyn has it with her religious beliefs. Both of these characters have to develop and get over their weaknesses but the first episode hasn’t introduced these flaws so at the moment it seems no character can develop any further.
Speaking of Robyn and Lee, I’m a little confused as to what is happening between them. It’s so clearly obvious Robyn has a thing for Lee. But my question is, why? I really don’t understand this extra addition to the story. And everyone who has seen the movie or read the book knows Lee and Ellie (played by Molly Daniels) are meant to have the thing, not Robyn and Lee. So what happens when the love interest between Lee and Ellie wants to start? I guess the only thing to do would be to leave the main story line of Australia being invaded, to turn the camera attention onto jealousy between characters.
After the teenagers had left their hometown, we explore the wild and beautiful surroundings of Hell. For the majority of the episode, we sit there, watching the friends enjoy the surroundings. While this happens, we can sit back and just stare at the beautiful valley. I bet even people who hate camping would want to go there!
But, here is another spot where the pacing gets a little bit weird. We were plunged into the story line, straight away almost, only to be left in the bush for half an hour. It isn’t until almost the end of the episode that we see the first beginnings of the invasion.
To me, this seemed like a logical place to end the episode. You know, we see war planes screaming above houses and then KA-BOOM!, one erupts in blazing flames and then comes a ‘woooooooooow’ factor from the audience as we quickly check for more episodes and come up disappointingly empty-handed. But instead of it ending, we continue along the story line, pushing through the discovery of who is invading the country and what is happening to the rest of the population, coming to a point where Ellie is now fighting back. To be honest, I don’t even remember how it finished or whether there is an urgent need for me to watch the next episode…
Another issue was acting choices. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the original many times (yes, I was one of those rare people who loved the movie. And yes, I went through a phase of only watching TWTWB, don’t judge me! *hides*). I kept picturing the original casting choices in my head for the main characters and these new actors didn’t meet my preferred images (to no fault of their own).
While I didn’t absolutely love the episode, I didn’t hate it either. And, well, I’ve already promised to watch the next episode just to see where it will go next, so it mustn’t have been too bad, right? Maybe I will just have to watch the episode again before Saturday night, or at least just the ending, just so I remember where it finished.
I rate the new Tomorrow When The War Began series 3 stars.
Did you watch the new Tomorrow TV series? What were your thoughts? Discuss below!