Pilot Preview: The CW's Lord of the Flies-ian The 100

By Tim Surette

Aug 09, 2013

Hey you! This isn't a review, it's a PREview. Huge difference. Most notably, the "P." Also, these PREviews are based on early cuts of pilots that might change drastically by the time they officially hit the air, so we can't properly review them. But we CAN give you an idea of what to expect. In this series of early looks at the new shows of fall 2013, there's no contemplating, no deep analysis; just super-duper quick thoughts on what we just watched that we're passing on to you. We'll revisit each previewed show in the fall with the hyper-intellectual breakdowns and fart jokes you're used to from us goons here at TV.com. 



The 100 – Midseason on The CW

STARRING AND CREATED BY: The 100 has a two-sided cast; half are familiar adult faces and half are somewhat newcomer youngsters. You should recognize Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), Page Turco (Person of Interest), and Isaiah Washington (Grey's Anatomy). As for the hot teens, you'll get acquainted with Eliza Taylor (Australia's Neighbours), Marie Avgeropoulos (Cult), and Thomas McDonnell (Suburgatory). The series is based on the first book of an upcoming novel series from author Kass Morgan. Jason Rothenberg is executive-producing and handling the adaptation.


THE GIST: The whole series is set in the near(ish) future. Humans couldn't stand each other and waged full-on nuclear war. Earth's surface got blown to bits, rendering it uninhabitable. To keep the species alive, everybody left the planet for a massive space station called the Ark, where they lived under a pretty strict Draconian mini-government that had a no-tolerance policy against unruly teenage behavior. So when it came time to give living on Earth another shot, the powers-that-be decided to send 100 teenage delinquents down to the surface to determine whether the air was breathable and the mutant animals were friendly. The pilot covers their departure from the Ark, and from there, the series has an upstairs/downstairs feel as we follow the power struggle among adults on Ark and the unsupervised teens trying to survive on post-apocalyptic Earth.


SNAP JUDGMENT: Thank you, The Hunger Games, for making it okay to kill teens! The 100 has a surprisingly brutal and survivalist feel to it, continuing The CW's shift away from high-school hookups and toward legitimate science-fiction. The influences are clear: You'll see familiar notes from Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and Lord of the Flies, and that's a good thing. The side-by-side duality of the Ark's bleakness and Earth's lushness provides a great foundation for a fascinating premise that asks all sorts of great sci-fi questions. Yes, there are sexy young actors stripping to their skivvies and starting love triangles, but they're additions to the overall story and not the focus. I was very impressed with the pilot; it's fun.


PILOTITIS DIAGNOSIS: Quick, clunky voiceover catch-up is front-loaded in the first few minutes, leaving plenty of time for the rest of the episode to get down to business. Which means shooting teens out of a spaceship and violent politics on the Ark. Given the complexity of the concept, the exposition is forgivable.


FACES TO LOOK OUT FOR: Ladies! Get ready for McDonnell as the rebellious hunk Finn. His face should be plastered all over high school lockers by next summer. Taylor and Avgeropoulos are also fresh faces to keep an eye on.


RANDOM THOUGHTS: VERY IMPORTANT! It's THE HUNDRED, not "the one hundred." Even though it's numerically laid out as the one hundred because of that giant 1.


EXCITEMENT LEVEL: Pretty high, actually! Every year there seems to be one CW pilot with the potential to be really fun. However, I have to point out that last year I thought Cult had a ton of potential, so I fully realize The 100 could stink. Still, I'm slapping a 7 out of 10 on this baby and, based on the pilot and the impossible-to-measure potential, placing it higher in the Power Rankings than I probably should.



PILOT PREVIEW POWER RANKINGS:
(Where we rank the fall season's pilots based on very early impressions)


DRAMA

1. Almost Human - J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman's robotic buddy-cop drama

2. The 100 - Teens have fun (and die) on post-apocalyptic Earth while the adults fight each other in a big tin can orbiting the planet

3. Intelligence - Josh Holloway stars as a Cyber Command agent who has Wi-Fi in his brain

4. The Blacklist - James Spader is a master criminal who turns himself in to the FBI on one condition: He only works with the pretty new FBI agent

5. Dracula - Jonathan Rhys Meyers is the fanged one in this re-imagining of the classic story of an undead guy chasing his old girlfriend

6. Lucky 7 - A group of gas-station employees win the lottery, for better or worse


COMEDY

1. Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Andy Samberg and a bunch of buffoons are cops in Brooklyn

2. Trophy Wife - Malin Akerman marries into a big family and ends up with two ex-wives and three stepchildren in the process 

3. The Crazy Ones - Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar are a father-daughter team in the advertising business

4. Enlisted - Geoff Stults goes to army reject camp with his two brothers 

5. About a Boy - Jason Katims' TV adaptation of the film adaption of Nick Hornby's novel about a man-boy friendship

  • Comments (56)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • bkyle2429 Mar 30, 2014

    Star-Crossed is way better than the 100

  • dark_harpy Oct 03, 2013

    After the huge disappointment that was Revolution (had to look it up, had forgotten its name xD), I hope this show won't go the same road. I like the premise a lot, I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic scenarios, so I hope they execute the idea well this time.

  • MarieLaureDep Aug 17, 2013

    Looks good, but I have trouble hanging on to dystopian shows like this (or Revolution, etc), I feel like they all ressemble each other. It's a big "why not" for me.

  • Whedonrules Aug 13, 2013

    Why is 'Crazy Ones' so high? I haven't seen anything about that show that even hints that it is any good. Its preview ads that have been running all summer, instead of showing any funny bits, simply 'insist' that its a good show but never even allude to whether or not it's funny. Those awful 'Sometimes a show comes together....' ads. It looks like the same BROAD COMEDY crap CBS usually serves up. Unfunny joke, laugh track, broad joke that misses the barn, laugh track... Just like 'How I Met Your Mother' and 'The Big Bang Theory', etc etc etc. Unless Robin Williams has returned to his 'Mork and Mindy' habit of high on coke through shooting all the time - it isn't going to be any good.

  • OlwynDoyle Aug 11, 2013

    This is the CW show that I am most looking forward to and is probable in my top 5 new shows that I want to watch list.

  • TrevPlatt Aug 11, 2013

    This sounds like a classic 4 episode test show. I'm actually looking forward to this.

  • AndreaMcCooey Aug 11, 2013

    I'll give it a whirl. Looks interesting and it's got Desmond! Which is the CW pilot with Skyler Samuels? Its not this is it? Or did it not get picked up?

  • TrevPlatt Aug 11, 2013

    According to IMDb it's a show produced by NBC called 'Bloodlines'. First I've heard of it! Hope it's the one you were thinking of.

  • MaryAnnMc Aug 17, 2013

    Bloodlines was not picked up. A show with a very similar premise WAS picked up.

  • TrevPlatt Aug 17, 2013

    You got any more details on what that show was?

  • AndreaMcCooey Aug 12, 2013

    Oh yeah, that sounds familiar. Dunno why I thought it was on the CW. Cheers!

  • current Aug 11, 2013

    Be strange if this falls on it's arse because it's another gen pop tv tastic lightweight.

  • Unkewlx Aug 11, 2013

    Props , first instance of your postings that I don't end up with the urge to kill something after reading. Good job on the preview

  • Aesandil Aug 10, 2013

    Sounds like it could be considerably better than I'd initially thought. I was especially worried that Henry Ian Cusick would be wasted on this.

    Let's hope that Tim is right about the adult, darkly influences it might follow and that the teen soap elements will be kept to a bare minimum.

  • See More Comments (21)