When The 100 aired on CW on Wednesday we watched with trepidation. We’ve been let down by too many shows in recent years to think we could hope for some science fiction worth watching. But, still, we watched. After all, even people who play the lottery pick the right numbers once in awhile. After shows we’d thought would be great had stabbed us in the pre-frontal cortex, however, we were still skeptical.
Other science fiction shows had let us down.
Take Terra Nova, for instance. It was going to take us back in time and show us how advanced modern man could barely get by on a primal Earth. It floundered. It promised us fantastic dinosaurs. It lied. It promised us a great plot twist or fifty. It was a waste of broadband.
Then there was Revolution. Some people still like that show. We fall asleep or get bored and go clean toilets when it comes on. There is such a thing as playing the mystery card too many times. And it would help if you at least came close to getting your science straight.
Then, who can forget Defiance? It started out strong. It really did. It was a great show. And then it wasn’t. Based off of the video game, Defiance eventually felt like it was being written by the beta testers. We got bored. Our toilets are very clean now.
So, it’s kinda painful that we liked what we saw in The 100 pilot.
We expected it to be just another post-apocalypse show mashed up with just another teenage-angst show. In this house we call that a “smooshy”. Teen angst mixed with anything is a smooshy.
But, we were very pleased and surprised! It had a plot! There was actually a scientifically and morally valid reason for sending 100 teenagers to the surface of a potentially radioactive nightmare planet. Before seeing the pilot we were trying to figure out how in the galaxy they were going to come up with a good reason to send 100 adults-in-training to the surface only 100 years after a nuclear apocalypse. We all agreed that it would probably end up being a school bus crash or something along those lines. 3 generations of geeks agreed on this.
Not so, however.
The kids were sent there on purpose, and the reason makes sense.
In a world like The 100, with the remnants of humanity subsisting on the last few space stations, all duct-taped together as one, population is bound to be a problem. So are resources. All crimes committed by an adult, no matter how small, would be a capitol offense. So, the only “criminals” are kids under 18. And again, it doesn’t matter how small your crime was (like being a second child in a community that only allows one per couple) your sentence is “until you turn 18“. Not that you’re released at 18. Instead you’re “reviewed”. They didn’t go too much into that, but the assumption is, “if you’ve learned your lesson you go free. If not you get a short trip out an airlock”... like every other adult.
But, when the resources begin to run out and machines begin breaking down that may or may not be able to be repaired, what do you do? The leaders of The Ark realize that they have to reduce the population somehow, and do it soon. So, is it air locks for everyone? Thankfully, no. The leaders decide to start with their criminal population, but give them a fighting chance by sending them down to the planet instead of out an airlock.
This actually serves two purposes. First, it’s more humane than simply shoving 100 kids out into space. Second, it allows those on The Ark to see if it’s safe to go back down to the planet yet or not.
But, the 100 teenagers sent down don’t play fair.
They’re teenagers. What do you except? A few will be rock steady. The rest will build a bonfire, take off their clothes, and do everything you told them not to do. Which, in the case of The 100, is take off their wrist-bands, which transmit their vital signs back to The Ark, giving the appearance that they are all dying. Hmmmm, must be too dangerous to send anyone else down!
After all, how else do you keep the adults from crashing your potentially radioactive party?
Some kids have brains and know how to use them, however.
When you first see the two hot young chicks the natural assumption is “Oh joy. It’s a cat-fight show.” But, instead of being written in as cliches (at least from the get-go) they end up getting along pretty well. Yes, there is a cute guy involved. But the girls don’t seem to be so shallow as to care only about looks.
In fact, the rebel brunette, who actually put “dibs” on the cute guy early on, found herself liking brave nerd instead... until he was impaled by a long-spear at the end of the episode. In the next episode we’re looking forward to seeing how she handles that, as we’ll find out who threw the spear.
After all, there aren’t supposed to be any other people on the planet.
The 100 airs on the CW on Wednesday nights at 9/8 central. Check your local listing for exact times.