Delayed Impressions: CW’S The 100

I’m going to be honest: the initial reason why I picked up this show was because I’ve trooped back into the dangerous world of roleplaying on Dreamwidth blogs, and have grown intrigued by my game mates who all have muses from The 100. I received plenty of apologetic preambles to the people who pitched it to me – “Give it time, it starts out pretty bad”; “I love the series, but I’m trash”; “I JUST SHIP [insert pairing here], OKAY!!!” – which appeared to place me in the so-called proper mindset to enjoy the series. I also figured that I had gotten through the trashiest parts of Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries. If I can survive that without wanting to break things, I should be fine. (And I probably don’t have very good taste, but whatever, right?)

 

Anyway. Here we are, with me writing an article whose content can be summed up in the following words: “Please watch this series, it’s worth it.”

Initially, The 100’s growing pains are obvious and make for an awkward viewing experience. The first 3-5 episodes of the first season will have any discerning viewer wondering whether it’s trying to be a tween show that happens to be set in a science fiction universe or a serious glimpse into a post-Nuclear Armageddon scenario that suffers from the misfortune of a limited budget and bad acting. Nothing hangs together well: the drama of any given scene is lost in a mess of ham lines and canned feelings via hipster song selections, the special effects are not entirely impressive, and the “plot” leaves much to be desired. After that point, however, the show finally appears to take a stand by ditching its attempts to go for what “sells” to a young adult audience (i.e. hot actors, gratuitous sex scenes, and High School Drama™) in favor of trying to tell a really good story.

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I can offer no definitive opinion on how The 100 functions as an adaptation of the trilogy by YA author Kass Morgan, nor offer any insight on whether its deviations from the series are effective or even desirable. On its own, however, I can say that the series rapidly moved from an awkward cinematic turtle to perhaps one of the best things that happened in 2013. It’s Lord of the Flies Apocalypse TV Edition, backdropped by haunting images of an America 97 years after the last of the bombs fell and obliterated the majority of intelligent life on the planet.

Its obvious selling point for me, however, is the fact that the series focuses on how the survivor’s mentality of the men and women of the Ark determine everything for the 100 teenagers they tossed unto Earth as an experiment, and how some of these kids choose to deal. Some of them attempt to establish dominance in the power vacuum created by a world without authority figures; others try to retain their humanity, and encourage their friends to do the same regardless of how the world around them seems highly invested in making monsters out of children. Still others go off the deep end, and start fucking/killing everything in sight. All the while, the mothers and fathers who raised them look on, consistently horrified by the revelation that the apple does not, indeed, fall far from the tree.

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The 100 features a cast of actors and actresses who seem to have an impressive run on the small screen, or have built up modest careers for themselves in Hollywood. The series has also become the Time to Shine™ moments for performers like Eliza Taylor (Clarke Griffin), Thomas McDonell (Finn Collins), and Bobby Morley (Bellamy Blake), and also features some old vets from classic movies of our childhood – take, for example, Paige Turco, who played April O’Neil in two of the 90s adaptations for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We’ve also got returning talents from some of our favorite crime, horror, supernatural or fantasy hits, with my own personal mention being Alessandro Juliani from the 2004 reimagining of Battlestar Galactica. The casting’s spot on right down to minor characters, especially after producers solidified the direction that they wanted to take with it. The music selections have also vastly improved from the show’s beginnings, and the score assembled by composers Evan Frankfort, Marc Dauer and Liz Phair complements the desired mood of the show near perfectly.

As of January this year, The 100 has been renewed for a third season, which is slated for a mid-season premiere in 2016. That should leave you all plenty of time to check it out.

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Pam Punzalan
Pam Punzalan
29, female, not in Narnia about anything. Games, teaches, writes, reads, flails, smokes, occasionally drinks, loves cats. Answers to Kae, Pamela, Pam, Pam-Pam, Pammy, Pammeth. Pamera, and Pammu. Also part of the admin team of Girls Got Game, over at http://girlsgotgame.org/!
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