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Marina Antunes [Cathode Ray Mission 08.25.15] post apocalyptic scifi action drama adventure



While AMC is wowing record breaking TV crowds with a post apocalyptic zombie drama, another TV network has slowly been building momentum on their own PA drama. The deal with "The 100" is this: if you've seen more than two episodes, you're probably a fan otherwise, you've probably never heard of it never much seen an episode. There don't seem to be any casual fans of "The 100;" it seems to be an all or nothing crowd.


Many, myself included, turned our noses up at the show when it originally premiered. It's on The CW, a network with a target demographic of women 18 – 34 and one that does an excellent job of appealing to that, and pretty much only that, demographic and on the surface, "The 100" seems like another cog in that wheel.

I mean, just look at this cast:



It's like a group of supermodels spent a few hours in the bush.

Based on a series of novels by Kass Morgan, the story picks up 97 years after the nuclear apocalypse. The last remnants of civilization live aboard the Ark, a collection of space stations that were united shortly after the apocalypse and have been patiently waiting for the opportunity to return to Earth. Thing is, the Ark is failing. There isn't enough oxygen for everyone on board and matters are not getting any better. As a last resort, the governing body agrees to send 100 young offenders to the surface figuring that if they manage to survive for any extended period of time, the ground is safe for re-occupation. Otherwise? Well, bye by humanity.


What happens when you send a bunch of teenagers somewhere to do their own thing? They party until they can't party anymore. And the thing is, the trailer for the show highlighted this and very little else.



I didn't get past the 3 minute mark. A bunch of good looking kids "roughing" it on Earth is not particularly appealing so you can imagine my surprise when I gave the show a go last week and then found myself binge watching all 29 episodes.



It takes four episodes to find its momentum but once it gets there "The 100" is not only solidly entertaining but downright good. The problem for the casual viewer is that without the wider context of the events that unfold as the season progresses, the choices of the first few episodes seem ridiculous and as a friend who only watched the first episode put it: hard to buy into the premise.


That's one sign that the show is doing something right. It's not that the writing is spectacular or that the show is doing something completely unexpected but there's certainly a clear indication that showrunner Jason Rothenberg knew where the story was going and how it was going to get there and stuck to it pretty closely. It certainly helps to have the books as a guide though how closely the show is keeping to the source material is of little interest. Bottom line: Rothenberg doesn't seem to care about providing more information than is absolutely necessary and as a result, the show doesn't work as a casual view. You're either committed or not. It's a bit of a leap of faith Rothenberg and the studio's part but one that pays off.



As the universe expands, "The 100" goes beyond simply survival drama and delves head first into interesting world building, action, strategy, great character development and explores themes of group and family dynamics, morality, age and even sexuality. That last one shouldn't come as too much of a surprise as this is still a CW show, and that's my only gripe about the show: it occasionally reverts to teen drama for the sake of drama complete with relationship triangles and complicated sexual relationships. For the most part it works within the context of the story (and as a consumer of more than one CW show, it works for me) but it's not as organic and seamless as some of the show's other aspects.


It may not be the best PA show on television and it's definitely not re-inventing the wheel of post apocalyptic drama but it's taking great concepts and working them into an interesting package. I love that it often seems on the verge of being unwieldy but always manages to pull back just enough to stay on course. "The 100" is a total surprise, a show that far surpasses its marketing and one that deserves a first and even second look.

Seasons 1 and 2 of "The 100" are available on home video and streaming. In Canada, both seasons are streaming on Netflix. Season 3 premieres in early 2016.

Recommended Release: The 100 Season 1


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pleeg3 (2 years ago) Reply

I feel better now that I can admit I enjoy it. I don't fall into the demographics and I waited to watch. It is nice to know how good looking you can be after the Apocalypse. Obviously many hair and make up specialist will survive the fall of man.
I actually thought it wasn't coming back. Does this mean I'm actually 18-34 years old?

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Marina (2 years ago) Reply

Embrace your enjoyment!

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Lenny (2 years ago) Reply

Loved this show from ep 1 when it premiered. It's been great but I kinda hope we can get back to some space fairing someday. Here's to many happy seasons!

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donc48 (2 years ago) Reply

I started watching this from the start but lost interest. I couldn't get beyond everybody being so good looking, then the black kid dies. I see on Netflix and Hulu and I'm temped. I'll ponder giving it a second look I am curious how some of the political plotting pans out.

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Winb (2 years ago) Reply

I finished season 1 back when it aired. I liked the space and scifi stuff. Then after what happened to the station and they found the mountain people I lost interest. Never got around to watching season 2.
It's in my list on Netflix. Maybe I'll find time to try to get back into it.

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Marina (2 years ago) Reply

You totally should. It's great but the second half of s2 is particularly good

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Speedy (2 years ago) Reply

I watched until the little girl knifed the black kid.
There were hints of "others" out there. The biggest thing that stopped me bothering was the fact I can not handle stupid people doing stupid things. If you need to check if the planet is safe, you send a trained team to check it out. You do not put your lives in the hands of a bunch of kids you were happy to space. The kids (In the eps I watched), never seemed to realise that they were in the real world. They were toooo freaking stupid.

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donc48 (2 years ago) Reply

Agreed.

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Marina (2 years ago) Reply

There is certainly some truth to that. Especially considering how limited resources are, and if you can’t get past that, the rest of the show really isn’t going to work because so much of it rests on the fact that the kids are better equipped to deal with the situation on the ground than the adults are.

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Captain Marlow (2 years ago) Reply

Rubbish for kids. One of the worst tv shows together with "Under the Dome" and 'Zoo'

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donc48 (2 years ago) Reply

I have to agree with you to a point about Zoo. The premise is interesting, the execution sucks.

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Mark (2 years ago) Reply

Loved the 10,000 foot peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains!


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