The 100: Season 1
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The 100: The Complete First Season (DVD)
It’s been nearly 100 years since Earth was devastated by a nuclear apocalypse, with the only survivors being the 400 inhabitants of 12 international space stations that were in orbit at the time. Three generations later, the survivors number 4,000 — and resources are running out on their dying “Ark” (the 12 stations now linked together and repurposed to keep the survivors alive). Draconian measures including capital punishment and population control are the order of the day, as the leaders of the Ark take ruthless steps to ensure their future — including secretly exiling a group of 100 juvenile prisoners to the Earth’s surface to test whether it’s habitable. No one has set foot on the planet in nearly a century — until now. For the 100 on Earth, the alien planet they’ve never known is a mysterious realm that can be magical one moment and lethal the next.]]>
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The 100 is set in a not too distant future 97 years after a nuclear apocalypse devastated the Earth and left it seemingly uninhabitable. The only people to survive were those who happened to be in space at the time, in one of a dozen space stations maintained by different countries at the time. The decision was made to bring all the individual stations together and join them into one big station complex now known as "The Ark", where some 2100 descendants of the original survivors now live. With no one left on Earth to provide supplies or support, resources on the Ark are very limited, resulting in strict rules under which all inhabitants of the Ark must live. The punishments for breaking the rules - anything from stealing food or medicine to having a second child - are draconian: imprisonment if the offender is under 18, death if they're an adult.
As the series begins, the Ark is facing a crisis that only the leadership - an elected chancellor and council - know about: the Ark's life support systems are failing. The desperate decision is made to send 100 prisoners - all kids under 18 - down to the Earth's surface in a one-way drop-ship with one mission: survive. If they survive, the Ark will know that their remaining people can return to Earth. If not, then even more desperate measures will have to be taken.
It's not really a spoiler to reveal that the 100 sent down to Earth survive. Or at least most of them do. (it would've been a very short series if they didn't). However, the number does go down as the season progresses. The survivors quickly learn two things: (1) they can survive on the Earth, but (2) they're far from alone.
Note: The 100 is based on the popular YA sci-fi series of books of the same name written by Kass Morgan. I have not read the books, but after looking up synopses of them, it appears that the TV series is at best only loosely based on the books.
And while this is supposedly a sci-fi series, it's best not to dwell on the science involved, not even for a minute. It varies from weak to bad and then to the laughably bad. It's also best not to dwell on some of the writing as it's very apparent when the writers are just all but stealing things from other TV shows and movies.
What makes The 100 work is two things. Some of the underlying ideas and plot lines are actually pretty good, though it takes a while for them to come up. And while some of the characters are little more than overused cliches, other characters - and the actors playing them - do develop in interesting ways as the season progresses.
One of the most interesting characters is Marcus Kane (Henry Ian Cusick), a councilman who seems set up at the beginning to be the show's principal villain. But at the season progresses, the character develops into quite a complex individual who more than anyone else feels the weight of responsibility that comes with the decisions he makes and increasingly puts himself at risk for the good of all. Another is Octavia Blake (Marie Avgeropoulos), one of the younger members of the 100 whose "crime" was being a forbidden second child. Octavia proves to be the most adept at adapting to life on Earth, in particular at learning about - and gaining the respect of - "the Grounders", the descendants of the people who managed to survive on Earth living out in the open after the nuclear apocalypse.
Recommended for people who like dystopic-future scifi series and are willing to stick through a weak beginning season in order to get to where things start to get a lot better.
There are tons of visuals that suck you into this world, and to its credit the world of The 100 is very creative and imaginative. The cast has a lot of chemistry, which helps connecting with the characters. Some of the reveals work really well, and the season ends on an interesting cliff hanger.
The negatives of The 100 are what will probably make or break the show for you. The character motivations are to the extreme, and at some times I was confused at how far these motivations will push these characters. Also, its a YA story so you'll find lots of meaningless hookups that doesn't do anything for the show, and quite frankly the main character can either be seen as a strong woman, or an annoying one who preaches peace.
The 100 isn't a perfect show, but going into this without any expectations I found this really fun, even though some character moments leave me confused. If you're looking for some soft science fiction goodness then I'd say give this a try, it's a good show to watch an episode before bed.
Truth be told, the pilot episode was a bit strange for me. It was exactly what I expected the show to be: a slightly corny teen drama (Finn flipping off a building... Octavia stripping off her clothes... ugh!). But I'm glad I didn't quit, because after watching the 2nd episode, I was hooked. Thankfully, the rest of the show seemed nothing like the pilot. After episode 2, each episode kept getting better and better. Something intense and exciting happens ALL THE TIME! The 'teens' (the actors aren't really teenagers, fyi) and adults in this show have to deal with some very dark, heartbreaking issues. As far as post-apocalyptic stories go, this is truly one of the best.
I've tried recommending The 100 to a few people, but I've convinced none of them to watch. I was also a skeptic at first. I wonder if they, like me, are assuming it's just another hokey teen drama. It's really not. It can hold its own against any of the best shows on television. Kudos to CW for providing some fantastic entertainment!