Every network seems to have a supernatural drama on its schedule these days, but it's been a hot minute since the world of television had a strong, hard science-fiction series with a sturdy premise right out of the gate. It's not an easy genre to break into, but The CW is definitely doing its damnedest with its new midseason drama The 100. It the show worth clearing your viewing schedule, or will some space in the corner of your DVR work just fine? Perhaps you should skip it all together? All good questions, and I'm here to answer them for you in this latest round of Yo, TV.com, What's the Deal With This Show?
Okay, so The 100... Is it "The One-Hundred" or "The Hundred"?
Glad you asked, because it's definitely the latter, and if you mispronounce it, not only will series star Isaiah Washington publicly shame you in a room full of your peers (which totally happened at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in January), but a leprechaun will appear out of nowhere, kick you in the shin, and then run off screaming. True story.
Got it. So what's the show about? A hundred what?
The 100 is a science-fiction series based on the books by Kass Morgan about the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse that wiped out nearly the entire human population. There were 400 survivors lucky enough to be orbiting Earth on 12 separate international space stations at the time, and they've since banded together to form a super-sized space spation known as the Ark. They've been able to survive for 97 years by carefully controlling the population and implementing extremely strict laws, including capital punishment for even the smallest crime. But despite these rigorous efforts, the Ark—which is now home to 4,000 people—is running out of resources. So in an effort to save the human race, 100 juvenile delinquents are sent back to Earth on a mission to determine whether the planet is hospitable again; they are "the Hundred," a bunch of attractive teenagers who will serve as the canaries in a possibly radioactive coal mine. Meanwhile, back home in space, their parents and elders will get wrapped up in their own drama.
Who are these teens, and who's calling the shots?
The 100 was adapted for television by newcomer Jason Rothenberg and is executive-produced by Elizabeth Craft, Sarah Fain, and Leslie Morgenstein (all from The Vampire Diaries) along with Gina Girolamo (The Lying Game). Eliza Taylor (Neighbours) stars as Clarke Griffin, a natural leader among her fellow exiles and the daughter of Paige Turco's (Person of Interest) chief medical officer. She's joined in her mission to save the Ark by Thomas McDonell's (Suburgatory) rebellious Finn, Devon Bostick's (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules) lighthearted Jasper, and Christopher Larkin's (Squad 85) resourceful Monty. Rounding out the younger cast are Bob Morley and Marie Avgeropoulos (50/50) as siblings Bellamy and Octavia Blake, and Eli Goree as Wells, whose father is the Chancellor of the Ark. The aforementioned Isaiah Washington (Grey's Anatomy) plays the aforementioned Chancellor, and Lost's Henry Ian Cusick portrays his shady second-in-command Kane. And I'd be a terrible sci-fi fan if I didn't also mention that Battlestar Galactica's Alessandro Juliani appears too.
When does The 100 land on our TV screens?
The 100 is taking over the post-Arrow time slot previously held by The Tomorrow People on Wednesday, March 19 at 9pm on The CW. (Meanwhile, The Tomorrow People moves to Mondays at 9pm starting March 24, now that Beauty and the Beast is on hiatus for a bit.)
Who will like The 100?
This should probably go without saying, but this show is tailor-made for fans of science-fiction and post-apocalyptic adventures—Battlestar Galactica, The Hunger Games, and the like. Yes, it's on The CW, but it isn't the slap-a-pretty-face-on-it-and-call-it-a-go standard fare that many people see when they look at the network.
What's to like about The 100?
A whole damn lot, actually. The series is surprisingly adult, not to mention brutal for being aimed at a younger demographic. It has a definite Lord of the Flies feel to it, and it isn't shy about the dangers the Hundred face on Earth. If The CW wants to move away from its typical, love-triangle-driven shows, The 100 is definitely a move in the right direction. It's a "harder" sci-fi show than its new network sibling Star-Crossed, and although the pilot hints at future romantic pairings, those potential relationships don't drive the story.
What's more, the pilot spends a fair amount of time on the Ark itself, exploring a society that's dealing with the challenges of overpopulation while literally running out of oxygen and other necessary resources. It's clear that the adults in the series will play a larger role than they have in some of The CW's other fare, which is a good thing.
All right, so then what counts against The 100?
This is me just being picky because I enjoyed The 100's pilot, but the Hundred are sent down to Earth with no food or water, which forces them to fend for themselves immediately. Sure, the Chancellor can argue that he didn't want to waste such valuable resources on teenage convicts who might've died as soon as they stepped off their ship, but he and the rest of the Ark's population are banking on these young men and women to survive and report back on whether Earth is a viable place to live. Would it have been so hard to stuff a few brown bags with PBJ sandwiches and bottles of water just to give the Hundred a tiny energy boost? After all, it's not like snack boxes were available for purchase en route. And yeah, that's about my only complaint.
So, should I watch it?
Yes... 100 percent yes.
Hey well if you're so excited about it, let's take a look at a trailer!
You got it:
The 100 premieres Wednesday, March 19 at 9pm on The CW.