When Kyle touched Jessi, sparks flew — literally. The moment the Kyle XY (Mondays, 8 pm/ET, ABC Family) costars embraced for a scene in an upcoming episode, real-life thunderbolts crashed and lightning flashed so fiercely that crew members on the Vancouver rooftop fled "like little girls," according to star Matt Dallas. "It would have been amazing if we had been able to shoot that."
If that kind of explosive moment between Dallas and Jaimie Alexander can be duplicated on screen, the teen superhero show might surge beyond its current cult-hit status.
Like Smallville in its early years, Kyle XY blends high-school tribulations — cliques, proms and infidelity — with sci-fi intrigue full of power-hungry villains, life-threatening missions and, naturally, superpowers. "One of the cool things about this show," says Dallas, who plays genetically engineered phenom Kyle, "is that we get to see this boy struggle with how he can fulfill his destiny and, at the same time, try to live a normal life."
Describing her lead character as an "evolving superhero of the soul," supervising producer Julie Plec promises that upcoming episodes "really start laying the foundation for how Kyle will take his extraordinary physical and mental abilities and use them in a very human way to help people. The central question for Kyle is, 'Now that I know who I am, who can I become?'"
It's a question that also torments Jessi XX, Kyle's female counterpart. "She's a tortured teenaged girl who doesn't know where she fits in and, unlike Kyle, she wants to show off [her powers] to the world," Plec says. Unfortunately for Kyle, Jessi's stunts — like walking on water and leaping from very high places — can only bring them both the wrong kind of attention.
"We're not sure what Jessi's capable of," Alexander says of her troubled (and troublemaking) character. "She's very competitive with Kyle and she wants to be stronger and smarter and faster than him." She also craves love and the only person she believes will give it to her is her newly discovered biological father, Brian Taylor (Martin Cummins). "He'll tell her to jump and she'll ask, 'How high?'" Alexander says. "It's pretty sad."
That need for affection drives Jessi to search for her genetic mother, whom she believes is a woman named Sarah she's only seen in a photo. (The role will be played by ex-Brat Packer Ally Sheedy later in the season.)
Jessi's demands on Kyle's time will complicate his relationships with his girlfriend Amanda (Kirsten Prout) and his supportive adopted family, the Tragers. But that's not his only problem. There's the Latnok Society, the mysterious think tank that created the two biologically superior kids. (Fun fact: "Latnok" means "the prophet" in Hungarian.) Although Adam Baylin (J. Eddie Peck), Kyle's genetic dad — who's currently in a vegetative state — described Latnok as "a benevolent society of great scientists," the group "has big plans for Jessi and Kyle," warns Dallas. "We're the prototype for a new way of human life." And we all know where playing god usually leads.
Fans who want their hero to harness his powers and kick Latnok butt, however, will have to wait a bit longer. "They went really sci-fi in the first half of the season [last summer], and now they're focusing on Kyle's relationships, which the writers describe as 'Kyle finding the extraordinary in the ordinary,'" says an admittedly disappointed Dallas. "It's a little lighter, not so much the situations of a superhero. I hope that next season they start playing more with the big picture — what Kyle's destiny is. Right now Jessi's storyline is the darkest, most sci-fi part of the show."
Not to mention the part with the most action. "They took it all away from me and they gave it to Jessi," Dallas good-naturedly complains. "Trust me, I've been very sad about it. Give me my action and my fighting sequences and all my cool stunts back!"
The next time the superteens meet on a rain-slicked rooftop, maybe they'll keep the cameras running — and lightning will strike twice.
Watch superpowerful Kyle XY clips in our Online Video Guide.
Get the Ultimate 2008 Sci-Fi Preview in the new issue of TV Guide, on newsstands now. Plus: More on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Try four risk-free issues of TV Guide now!
Send your comments on this feature to email@example.com.