[This article contains SPOILERS from seasons 1 and 2 of The 100.]
Lately, The CW has become synonymous for producing high-octane genre-based programming with their breakout hits Arrow and The Flash. Even their more mainstream shows like the Golden Globe winning Jane the Virgin has been garnering high praise from critics and fans alike. With all of this success, why has the network's The 100 fallen so far under the radar?
Well, in terms of numbers, the series hasn't been doing poorly and was thankfully given a green-light for season 3. With all the talk of comic book franchises lately, perhaps The 100's lack of superheroes is somehow detracting from what has become one of the more entertaining shows currently running on television. So, why haven't you given this show a try?
Ok, so maybe that was a little too presumptuous of a statement to make, and perhaps you have given The 100 a fair shot. Sadly, the first couple of episodes of the series are its weakest. The characters lack any sense of chemistry and everything from the setting to the obstacles our heroes face feel contrived, or unoriginal. Through its first few hours, The 100 is not much to look at. Even the creators of the series have admitted as much; however, if you can make it past episode 4, you might be surprised by what you discover.
For those of you who are unaware, The 100 takes place 97-years after a nuclear war destroyed most of the life found on earth. The survivors from countries around the world form a larger space station from their many vessels, calling it "The Ark". The large structure housed what many thought to be the last remnants of the human race until 100 incarcerated teens were sent down to earth for the first time in almost a century. The adults in control of The Ark had no idea if the kids would live, or die.
Shortly upon their arrival, the group of misfits led by Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor) and Bellamy Blake (Bob Morely), discover they are not alone. So far, we know of two other major groups inhabiting the planet. The most prominent of the two is a group labeled simply as "the grounders". To call theses grounders primitive, would be doing a disservice to them. While they may not possess the most sophisticated weapons and technology, they are still extremely intelligent and resourceful.
As the series progresses, a few of the grounders form personal relationships with the band of teenage criminals. Recently, their lovely commander Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) has become a prominent figure. She is a fearless warrior, but behind all of that ferocity lies a desire for peace. Lexa is what you might call a "progressive grounder". Alongside Clarke and the rest of The Ark's fighters, they hope to defeat their common enemy who resides in the Mount Weather installation.
Oh yes, there are mountain people who have also survived the nuclear war; but unlike the grounders, they can only survive within the confines of their base, or else they die within minutes of any kind of exposure to the outside world. Inside the base, the doctors are performing horrific experiments, which they hope will lead to a cure, so they can live out in the open. If you decide to give this series a chance, you will learn more about Mount Weather and all of its secrets.
In terms of tone, The 100 is The CW's darkest show. Sure, Arrow can brood just as good as the next conflicted superhero, but the diverse ensemble of this dystopian future constantly wades through the muck and mire of difficult and morally ambiguous choices that can mean life or death in each episode. In a way, creator and executive producer Jason Rothenberg has beautifully crafted a show more akin to Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead than anything else the network has to offer. That comparison may be blasphemous to some, but just give the first half of season 2 a chance and surely you'll be impressed.
The CW may have a long way to go before its prestige is a high as a network like HBO or AMC, but The 100's unflinching dark-toned march towards action and adventure is deserving of more praise than it has previously received. Is this lunacy, or do you think that more series like this should be developed?
The 100 returns with 'Remember Me' on Wednesday, January 21st @9pm on The CW. Check out a preview below: