The 100 Season 1 Review (Spoiler Free)
Five Reasons You Should Watch This Show
From The Hunger Games to The Maze Runner, many young adult dystopian novels have been adapted into movies. So while it’s not unexpected for television networks to jump aboard this popular trend, it is a refreshing surprise that The 100 is totally awesome!
One of the reasons The 100 stands out is how the series puts its own spin on familiar elements from sci-fi dystopian and post-apocalyptic drama genres. The premise starts off as Lord Of The Flies meets Lost, but by the end of episode 3 The 100 goes for the gut punch and in doing so, begins to develop its own identity within the genre.
This post is a spoiler free introduction to The 100. Here are Five Reasons You Should Watch This Show:
#1. Gritty Premise Packs A Mean Punch
The 100 strikes a nice balance between high stakes adventure and a gritty survival thriller, never becoming too bleak or despairing to watch. Taking place 97 years after a nuclear apocalypse devastates Earth, the last remnants of humanity, about 2400 people, live aboard a deteriorating space station named “The Ark” where any crime committed by an adult is a capital offense.
Due to the lack of life sustaining resources on the Ark, 100 juvenile delinquents are sent down on a one way trip to Earth to determine if the planet has become habitable.
#2. Superb Pacing & Storytelling
Don’t let the fact that this series comes from the same network that brought us its share of teen melodramas prevent you from giving The 100 a chance. The first season’s format is patterned after cable tv dramas, consisting of thirteen serialized episodes. The shorter season cuts out most of the filler. Each episode picks up where the previous one left off, adding to the addictive quality of the show.
The 100 isn’t afraid to get its hands bloody. In the best possible way, the reaction at the end of many episodes is “Did that really just happen!?”. Story arcs quickly build momentum and are brought to an unconventional yet satisfying conclusion.
#3. Timeless Themes For An Adult Audience
Grown ups often take a back seat to the teenagers in Young Adult stories but that’s not quite the case here. At the same time their children on Earth wrestle with notions such as what it means to be a leader and the justification for torture to ensure their survival, the adults living on the Ark have their own compelling stories to tell.
The Ark’s Council have to make morally complex and emotionally taxing decisions. There’s an incredible gravity to their dire predicament because there are no easy, clear cut choices but always major consequences no matter which path is taken.
#4. Kick Ass Characters Continue To Evolve
The 100 does a great job at developing characters into people the audience can whole heartedly root for. Even supposedly villainous and supporting characters evolve into something much more than they were first introduced as. There are about a dozen regular cast members, here’s are a brief rundown on a few of them:
Clarke Griffin is a resourceful young woman who can be counted upon to make tough decisions. She’s a strong force to be reckoned with yet layered with an emotional vulnerability by talented actress Eliza Taylor.
Fan favourite Bellamy Blake has his own agenda. He’s starts off as an antagonist to Clarke but as the back story fleshes out his motivation he becomes more complex than on first impression. What makes him initially both a potential danger and asset to the group is that the 100 look up to him as a leader.
Octavia Blake isn’t just another pretty face or damsel in distress. She’s trying to gain control of her life from her over-protective older brother Bellamy. We find out that because of The Ark’s one-child policy, she’s had to live the first 16 years of her life hiding in confinement.
#5. Science Fiction That’s Grounded in Realism
Since Battlestar Galactica and Joss Whedon’s Firefly went off the air, there hasn’t been as many outer space live action television shows as there once was. On The 100, we get the best of both worlds; the story happening on the planet’s surface as well as on The Ark which orbits the Earth.
Although The 100 is set in the future, the space setting is more like Gravity in that it’s grounded in realism. This lends itself for a more compelling story because characters can’t technobabble their way out of impossible situations or have a transporter beam rescue them at the last second. By focussing less on space age technology, the story zeroes in on the personal drama and makes the struggle to survive more believable.
Among the many great reasons to watch the show, there are certain aspects of The 100 that are less than ideal. The location on Earth is primarily centralized in a small, lush forest area. As a result of a limited production budget, the producers smartly focus on the essentials rather than spending money on unnecessary lavish set pieces. Even though it’s realistic for hormonally charged teenagers to have feelings for one-another, the romantic entanglements aren’t a strength of the show. And whenever a new background character among the 100 is introduced it is usually to their imminent demise.
The 100 is fairly self-aware, as the show progresses the weaker elements are addressed. Executive Producer Jason Rothenberg deserves a lot of credit for developing Kass Morgan’s book series from, at first glance, another YA dystopian derivative into an especially good sci-fi adventure televisions series.
Season 1 is available on home video and streaming services. Netflix in Canada has secured exclusive first run rights so that each new episode will be available the next day after it airs on TV. Why not binge watch Season 1?