"The 100" [pronounced "The Hundred"], based on the eponymous Kass Morgan novel, takes us into the future -- 97 years after a nuclear Armageddon decimated the earth, destroying civilization. The human survivors are crammed into a space station, known as the Ark, but life in space is no picnic with oxygen and other essentials of running out.
So, the decision is made to take 100 teenage criminals and send them down to earth to test the environment and see if life can once again be sustained on the planet. It becomes very Lord of the Flies as we watch the kids struggle to figure out what they want their new society to be -- some want to hold on to rules and order, while others want to go wild -- and who should be their leader. One thing for sure, they don't want the adults to follow them down, so they take steps to ensure that doesn't happen.
Before you role your eyes and say, "not another teen sci-fi drama," check it out. This one is worth tuning into. Granted it takes more than the pilot episode to pull you in, but The CW was very smart in sending out multiple episodes to critics, and each one draws you more and more into this complex world until you can't wait to see what happens next. So be prepared to give it time, but do tune in.
"The 100," with its "anybody-can-die-at-any-time" feeling -- and they do -- is more of a tip of the hat to the body count on "Game of Thrones" and "The Walking Dead" -- two of exec producer Jason Rothenberg's favorite shows -- than other CW sci-fi series, which also makes it interesting watching for grownups.
Among the 100 young exiles are Clarke (Australian newcomer Eliza Taylor), the teenage daughter of the Ark's chief medical officer; the daredevil Finn (Thomas McDonell); the brother/sister duo of Bellamy (Bob Morley) and Octavia (Marie Avgeropoulos), whose illegal sibling status has always led them to flaunt the rules; the lighthearted Jasper (Devon Bostick); and the resourceful Monty (Christopher Larkin).
But there is also an excellent adult cast, which includes Isaiah Washington, as the chancellor of the Ark, Henry Ian Cusick, who is the vice chancellor, and Paige Turco, who is a council member and mother to Clarke.
No story about teenagers would be complete without the requisite hookups, and "The 100" doesn't miss the opportunities for its beautiful cast to fall in love, but it also manages to deliver a nice balance between what is happening down on earth with the kids, and up in the Ark with the grownups, not to mention some excellent special effects as we see the effects of what happened on earth by the creatures who weren't lucky enough to have been in space.
"The 100" premieres Wednesday, March 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.