Teenagers with special skills in a school is a proven recipe for success.
But don’t think that Cartoon Network’s new live-action series “Tower Prep” is just a rehash of “Harry Potter” or “X-Men.”
The show — targeted for teenagers but with the all-ages appeal of Mr. Potter — follows Ian Archer (Drew Van Acker), who is mysteriously whisked away to Tower Prep where all the students have powers.
Conceived by Paul Dini, who is best known for “Batman: The Animated Series” and “Lost,” “Prep” is an immersive mystery that will intrigue viewers through its 13-episode first season.
amNewYork spoke with Dini, 53, about the show.
What inspired the series?
Just life, you know? I remember what it was like my first year at prep school, and I’ve been talking to Cartoon Network about new programming. They wanted to move into live-action adventure drama shows for kids, and that first year of prep school was probably one of the most emotionally charged times that I’d ever gone through.
What are the differences between producing a live-action show and a cartoon?
I feel like “Tower Prep” could’ve been an animated series. I felt like if it had [been] animated, it would’ve been more fantastic and a bit more visual and a bit more out there.
Did you purposefully stick to powers that are very grounded?
Yes. I didn’t even think of them as powers, it’s more like abilities or little edges that somebody would want in an uncomfortable social situation.
Whose ability would you like the most?
Gabe’s [is] probably the ability that I would want most. The ability to just … talk yourself into anything, and in and out of trouble very easily.
Are you going to branch out into comic adaptations, web episodes and so on?
It’s hard to say at this point. We got the 13 episodes finished and we’re just waiting to see how the show does after we premiere. It would be great if “Tower Prep” has a life beyond the series and it ... does lead to a comic book or a video game or, ideally, just a second season.
‘Tower Prep’ Roll call
• Ian Archer (Drew Van Acker) — He can see things before they happen.
• C.J. Ward (Elise Gatien) — She’s is able to analyze people to determie how they feel or what’s on their mind.
• Gabe Forrest (Ryan Pinkston) — Using only his voice, he’s able to get people to do whatever he wants.
• Suki Sato (Dyana Liu) — She can mimic anybody’s voice after she hears it.
On TV: “Tower Prep” airs on Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Cartoon Network.