** Minimal Spoilers for this one, promise.
You may not have heard of The 100 yet. That’s ok. It only has two seasons so far (season 3 starts early next year), it’s based on a Young Adult book trilogy by Kass Morgan, and it airs on the CW (Young Adult and CW together make me cringe, mainly because I loathe The Vampire Diaries with the fire of 1000 suns).Because of this, I did not have high hopes for it. While it definitely looked like my kind of show, it also looked like it would be an awkward teen show full of love triangles and feelings and other gross things.
Boy was I wrong.
I decided to give it a try anyway. I watched the first episode, and then I watched the second, and soon enough I had marathoned the whole first season in one sitting.
The 100 is so good.
Set 90 years after a nuclear war wiped out all life on Earth, 2000 survivors are living in a space station called The Ark orbiting the Earth. Due to limited resources and an attempt to keep peace, all crimes are punishable by death, unless the offender is underage. Then they are imprisoned to await trial. With oxygen levels depleting, and resources as scarce as they are, The Ark sends all 100 underage prisoners to Earth to investigate if the radiation soaked planet is able to sustain human life yet.
Our main character is Clarke Griffin, a 17 year old intelligent strategist with medical training (her mum is The Ark’s head doctor). Clarke, in my opinion, is one of the best characters in television in a long time. A natural leader, Clarke attempts to organise The 100 into finding food, and water so they can survive. Since The 100 are a group of underage criminals, she finds this understandably difficult.
Challenging her for leadership of The 100 is Bellamy Blake, a guard from the Ark who stowed away on board the dropship to come to Earth to protect his younger sister Octavia (due to limited resources, families are restricted to only having one child. Octavia’s birth was illegal which is why she is part of The 100). Bellamy, resentful towards everything The Ark stands for, for locking his baby sister up, and for killing his mother, becomes a charismatic leader for those in The 100 who see this new life on Earth as a way to escape The Ark forever. In this sense, The 100 has a Lord of the Flies vibe to it; these children are sent away from authority and have to govern themselves, or let anarchy reign.
There are also some great references and discussion of colonialism, with The 100 discovering that they are not the only people here. There are survivors living on Earth, dubbed Grounders, and they are not impressed with the people from the sky who come with guns and firepower.
It is also incredibly interesting to see how innovative these kids can be when put under pressure to survive in this kill or be killed environment: building a smokehouse for the meat, and rewiring radios so they can talk to The Ark which is still floating out in space (they also manage to make their own moonshine).
In addition to this amazing world The 100 presents, it also continues to deliver with its characters. I can’t give too much away without spoiling it for you, but even just in the first half of the season there is some of the best character development on TV in a long time. I’m not sure if that is a result of the extreme situations The 100 find themselves in, or just an extremely talented team of writers, but either way the show only gets stronger as it goes on.
If you’re a fan of shows like Battlestar Galactica and The Walking Dead, then you should definitely check this one out. A word of warning though: you will get way too attached to all of these characters. Brace yourself.