The 100 documents the lives of 100 teenagers sent to recolonize the Earth after many years in space, due to a nuclear apocalypse which took place a long time ago. The 100 teenagers in question were underage convicts on the Ark, the international space station that houses the survivors. The show follows the actions of both those on the ground and those in space as they overcome the many challenges of trying to survive in ever trickier conditions.
The 100 certainly suffers from many of the problems that blight all American dramas portraying people in their teenage years. One of these common problems is that all the actors paying these roles are between the ages 21-30 and look suspiciously similar in age to the adults on the Ark. This is combined with some shaky acting in parts and some highly predictable storytelling at times, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for the series.
The 100 certainly suffers from many of the problems that blight all American dramas portraying people in their teenage years.
However, there is a ‘but’, and it’s a big one. The show makes for very enjoyable viewing: I’m hooked, and cannot stop watching. For every substandard acting performance, there are three good ones to compensate. The same can also be said about the predictability in the plot: the unpredictable moments are the ones that matter most.
The show is loaded with twists and turns and strikes a good balance between killing characters off and keeping them alive. It has even surprised me at times by pulling on my uncharacteristically malleable heartstrings and giving me a rarely found sense of empathy for many of the characters. This is where it begins to really set itself apart from many of the teen drama’s pervading American T.V culture at the moment. Normally the only emotion I harbour for characters of these creations is of passionate dislike, yet somehow The 100 really makes me re-consider my staunch prejudices.
Normally the only emotion I harbour for characters of these creations is of passionate dislike, yet somehow The 100 really makes me re-consider my staunch prejudices.
It really stands out from many of its bland and frankly uninteresting competitors in many ways. The show can be really quite brutal at times. For instance, due to limited supplies on the Ark, if you are over 18 and break a single law once, you are to be “floated” – a barbaric method of execution which sees people thrown into space via an airlock. The show certainly isn’t afraid to involve its teenagers in darker storylines or even kill them off all together. Whilst this is becoming increasingly common with series such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones which hold little to no love for main characters, it is all the more striking when such things centre on characters younger than me.
The first series consists of 13 episodes and the pacing of the series is generally good; there’s definitely the feeling of a crescendo towards the end with a frenetic season finale that sets up the second season nicely. Each episode will usually have a sting in the tail and it’s important that the efforts of the actors in the cast on the Ark don’t go unmentioned. They’re effectively a supporting cast but their story and the chemistry of the whole group makes them just as interesting as the teenagers on the ground. This exemplifies the pleasing balance the show has achieved.
For reasons already mentioned, The 100 is not all positive: the casting and acting can, at times, be very flaky. This is especially a problem for the female lead, Clarke (Eliza Taylor). It’s a shame that a show which focuses on so many characters got the casting 95 per cent right and then seemed to flounder with one of the most important roles of all. Don’t let this put you off too much as it’s not a deal breaker – just don’t expect any Oscars to be awarded Taylor’s way anytime soon. There’s also the de rigeur forced romance that only makes a small portion of sense but again it’s just about plausible and the writers work it better than most.
The 100 is something worth trying at the very least. There is a distinct possibility that it may not be your cup of tea but the chances are just as favourable that it probably will be. Whilst it’s not a world beater it has enough slightly dodgy sci-fi charm (a la Firefly or Farscape) to carry it through. For me, the show scores 8/10: not quite a classic, but the first series has left me impatient to find out what happens next.