The 100

8.2 / 10
43 min
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" gives "The 100 - Season 1" a 7.5."
Written by on 17 July 2014.
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The 100 - Season 1

'The 100' is the surprise of the season. With full speed ahead the show plows through its compelling story deeming every second relevant. Meanwhile it doesn't shy away from its teendrama origin by using the group of young protagonists as an allegory for mankind. A hundred years after a nucleair war wiped out planet earth, the survivors send out a spaceship with hundred criminals under the age of eighteen to see if earth is survivable again. All that's left of humanity is one large station in space, called the Ark. Here, the leaders and parents watch how a band of misfits are the first humans to set foot on land in a century.

The first season splits its time between the adults in the Ark and the teenagers on the ground. That makes 'The 100' exceedingly self-aware. This isn't Gossip Girl or 90210, which use a similar separation between generations only to fumble on the logistics of it. Now, the teens literally inhabit a different world where their own rules apply. Not only does this up the ante in terms of drama, but it also offers conflict as the foundations of any functioning society are tested. Amidst this confrontation we find Clarke (Eliza Taylor, 'Nikita'), a confident young lady who quickly takes on a leading role. She seems to be the polar opposite of Bellamy (Bob Morley, 'Neighbours'), an aggressive and mysterious young man. In a compelling twist, the series exhausts both Clarke and Bellamy's takes on society, explores their interesting backstory which formulates their motivations, resulting in understandable opinions that somehow still clash at every turn. It makes Lord of the Flies look like a vacation.

'The 100' loves to embrace the cliches. Of course there's a steamy romance between the two pretty leads, Clarke and Finn (Thomas McDonnell, 'Fun Size'). Of course there are two interchangable nerds, Jasper (Devon Bostick, 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid') and Monty (Christopher Larkin, 'Squad 85'), who mostly serve as sidekick commenters. There's even a token black kid named Wells (Eli Goree, 'Godzilla') who's obviously in love with Clarke but doesn't stand a chance due to their complicated history. With all of this in tow, the show still likes to throw the audience off. For example, the designated helpless maiden, Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos, '50/50') is anything but helpless. By the end of the pilot one of the aforementioned lives hangs in the balance. How the show continues is too exciting and surprising to discuss here.

A weakness the show can't escape is the adult world. They too have political issues, but reduce the scope of the series significantly, to the point of boredom. In example: the leader, Jaha (Isaiah Washington, 'Grey's Anatomy') is woefully unprepared to lead anything. Thirteen episodes in, it's still unclear what exactly Kane (Henry Ian Cusick, 'Lost') is doing. Even Clarke's mother, Abby (Paige Turco, 'NCIS'), despite driving much of the Ark's story, feels dispensable. Out of all of mankind's survivors, the Americans are overrepresented. They also all seem to know each other pretty well, despite all having criminal children. Thankfully, the events on the Ark do have major repercussions for the kids on earth, causing the two separate stories to overlap every now and then.

To say 'The 100' is just a teen show is a waste. It's by far the most compelling sciencefiction series on broadcast television since Lost. Where unnecessary big themed shows like FlashForward and The Event failed, 'The 100', probably due to the novel by Kass Moragan it sprung from, focuses on its characters. Clarke is immediately reprehensible as queen of moral, but she quickly makes mistakes, exemplifying her youth and humanity and making her far more intriguing. The character of John (Richard Harmon) is fantastic and really messes up the clean cut lines of good and evil. Add some bunkers, mysterious "others" and fights for survival and you have a party. The special effects look astonishing for such a small show. The nature on location is riveting in its contrast to the claustrofobic spaceship. In every way 'The 100' exceeds expectations and proves to be far better than a "sciencefictionshow with teens" has any right to be.
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