| Jay Benedict reporter |
“The 100” is CW’s attempt to cash in on the current dystopian young adult trend that’s currently dominating film and literature.
The newest offering comes from the network that was once known for its high school soap operas, but the CW also has shows like “Smallville,” “Arrow” and “Supernatural” in its catalog.
“The 100” is not without cheesy teen drama, but it channels more of the darker and action-oriented traits that make many of its other series strong.
It does this by combining elements of “The Hunger Games,” Will Smith’s “After Earth” and “Lord of the Flies.” The series is set 97 years after a nuclear war forced humans off Earth and into an orbiting space station called The Ark.
Generations have come and gone in the tight quarters. There is a zero-tolerance policy toward crime of any kind on The Ark. Crimes are punishable by death, unless the offender is under the age of 18; juveniles get a nice, long prison sentence. So, stealing a pack of gum could either get you killed or a lifetime behind bars.
Because of these strict rules, nearly everyone has been affected in some way. The show focuses on the 100 teenage delinquents who are selected to be dropped back on Earth to see if it’s habitable again.
The characters come from all walks of life and social classes. Once on the planet, the group must figure out how to survive, who to follow and whether or not to stay loyal to the government that dropped them there, because it considers the kids expendable.
The setup gives the writers plenty of plot lines to explore while creating new heroes and heroines this genre relies and thrives on.
“The 100” follows Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor). Clarke is the daughter of the Ark’s chief doctor. She was incarcerated for some past event, which also caused her father to be executed. She’s sent down to Earth with the misfit group of “criminals.”
Her first instincts are to secure food and shelter. That’s quickly overshadowed by prisoners who are reveling in their newfound freedom and attempting to release themselves from the tracking bracelets they’ve been fitted with.
Tensions quickly rise in the camp and with the officials in orbit, who are juggling struggles within their ranks and monitoring the situation on the ground.
The locations they’ve chosen to film the surface portions are beautiful. They also serve as an excellent contrast to the dark tight quarters on the Ark. If there’s one thing that the dystopian future has going for it, it’s that the scenery is beautiful.
Overall, it was fairly solid for a pilot. The acting was serviceable. Devon Bostick is a highlight as Jasper. He gives a certain endearing innocence to his character that makes him stand out in this large cast of teenagers.
It was lighter on exposition than the audience needed to fully understand the universe, but that kept the action moving. This approach ensures that the audience comes back for more episodes if they want to know more.
I’m going to give this series a couple more episodes before passing judgment on it, but it has piqued my interest. The CW is known for rough starts, but the network develops solid series over time.
This genre isn’t for everyone, but it is very popular at the moment. For those seeking to fill the hole between “Hunger Games” releases, I’d suggest giving “The 100” a look.