Saturday, March 22, 2014

Review: CW series The 100

Last night I was bored. Farting around on the internet I scrolled down my Hulu lineup to see a new sci-fi show, The 100. Goody, I thought, something that will kill an hour or so. I go into this without reading the book, written by Kass Morgan, so everything I’ve taken is from the CW series alone. Besides, I have a distinct prejudice against YA and went into this knowing not to be super impressed. As a rule YA tends to be focused on soppy, shitty teenage romance, poorly constructed plots and lots of whining. And with the unholy birth of Twilight we now have love triangles with overbearing psycho love interests and vampires. Always with the vampires.

The 100 starts with the premise that somewhere in the far, far future the world ended in a glorious apocalyptic fallout. So far so good; atomic devastation and dystopia are a staple diet for authors and is right up there with vampires and teen witches. Only slightly overdone and rarely interesting.

Everybody who wanted to live went and got themselves off of earth (which, wait what? How does that even work? There are nearly seven billion people on the planet right now, does that mean that nearly all of humanity died? How did they get up there, rent-a-rocket?)

And have been hanging out for, er…a while. Well 97 years into waiting for the earth to be habitable (which brings up another question of the nature of radiation, half lives and nuclear fallout because I feel as though 97 years isn’t even nearly enough time for radiation to come down to livable levels and I thought that when the world ended it would take like, hundreds of thousands of years before everything would be habitable again) So to figure out whether the earth is livable it’s decided that the disenfranchised criminal teens should be sent as guinea pigs and if all is cool they’ll send other people down.

So, ha, okay – the fate of humanity is now in the hands of 100 hormonal, sex crazed, petulant, criminal teenagers who have no discernible skills, no survival training, no fucking clue what they are doing and this is what the good folks of the ISS are pinning their hopes on?

They’re all gonna die.

All righty then, let’s start the show.

Meet Blondie, I’m sure she has a name but I don’t care and everybody calls her Princess anyhow. She’s a criminal locked in the Sky Box (juvie for space teenagers) wanted for a crime that has something to do with her father. Blondie is sent aboard the good ship Misspent Youth heading straight towards a possibly toxic earth.

Sitting beside her is Wells who gives off a desperate lost puppy vibe towards Blondie. He caused her father to be caught as a criminal and her father was executed because of it.

“I don’t want you to hate me!”

Too late. She hates him. Next we meet our third tier of the blossoming Love Triangle, Finn. Who honestly looks like one of those stoner kids who hangs out in a van smoking pot on the school parking lot. He’s a rebel – he’s unhooked himself from the harness to do zero gravity flips while everybody hoots and cheers. And then unwittingly causes two other imbeciles to get killed when they imitate him and the space ship has a hard landing, smashing them into the floor. Oops. I guess you can’t call it The 100 anymore.

The Evil Overlord pops up on a screen to say, “PRISONERS OF THE ARC – HEAR ME NOW” Literally, this is what he says. I really expected him to be wearing a Cape of Doom and have dramatic lighting but alas.

The Evil Overlord is Well’s father so Well is going to be super loved on earth (no. not really. Everybody is going to hate him for the foreseeable future.) The ship has landed but wait! We have two more main characters to introduce! Bellamy who is older than everyone and immediately starts bossing everybody around and Octavia. Oh God, fucking Octavia whom within thirty seconds of introduction I wanted to shove her out the airlock. So I guess it’s illegal to have more than one child given the super tight space issues aboard the space station so Octavia was born illegally and put into jail as an infant?? Like, why was she kept alive then? Wouldn’t it be easier to save space and kill her as an infant? I don’t know, the plot holes are numerous with this series.

Bellamy and Octavia are siblings and have their warm squishy moment of family love while everybody is waiting for them to open the fucking door so they can get out of the severely damaged space ship. (and possibly bury the two dead idiots? That never gets addressed, maybe they let them rot in the space ship) Earth, as it turns out, is breathable, and livable. And looks like a jungle which makes me think where in the world are they? I assumed somewhere in North America given they were looking for Mount Weather (where else in the world would you find such horrible naming skills) except apparently the continents have shifted because North America is now tropical.

Clark/Blondie is the only person in the entire group to have any sort of common sense. She’s got her map out, she’s got a plan, she knows in order to survive they have to have shelter, food, water and to get that they need to move everybody to Mount Weather. So everybody immediately recognizes the danger they are in and fall into line on a survival quest to Mount-

HA! No, just kidding. The first thing that happens is idiot teenage boys get into a fight. Yeah, Lord of the Flies, much?

Bellamy and Octavia are all, ‘I’m petulant, I’m loud and bossy, screw what your father said about humanity’s last hope for survival, we’re going to PAR-TAY!!” And from this moment forward Octavia shall be known as Bitch™ because what’s a teenage show without the selfish, stuck up cheerleader as the foil to the hard working, humble Heroine? In case you really didn’t get that this is a YA focused plot Bitch™ hisses to Blondie,

“In case you get any ideas Finn is mine!”

This single line alone drives home that the plot is following the true law of YA romance everywhere; banal romance trumps rational thought, always.

So for Reasons we now have a small group heading the way to Mount Weather while everybody else hangs back. This small group includes: Blondie, Pot Head, Bitch™ and the two Expendables who never really got a name?

We get glimpses of life in space and another rule of YA: Adults Are Useless, It Is Up To Children To Save Us. Whole lot of intrigue going on up there that doesn’t make a lot of sense. They lost communication systems with the space ship but have cuffs that track their vitals which strikes me as….rather useless. (SO much about the entire premise that just...makes little sense)

Anyway, back to our intrepid explorers. Oh, look – pretty flowers, pretty trees, everything is so pretty- OH GOD NO!! MUTANT DEER, LOOK AWAY!!

Is it wrong that I was kind of hoping it would eat them? Oh well.

Now it’s time for some gratuitous fan service butt shots of Bitch™ because Reasons. It totally makes sense to strip and dive into a body of unknown water on a planet that’s been irradiated for over a century. NOTHING BAD COULD HAPPEN.

Except she nearly gets eaten by a mutant water snake. Is it also wrong that I was severely disappointed that Octavia wasn’t eaten by the whatever-the-fuck that thing was? God, the disappointment, I was so happy that there was the possibility of her being a short term character.

Meanwhile, back at the Lord of the Flies camp Wells is unpopular. Bellamy be schemin’ and idiot teenagers are idiots. Bellamy convinces everybody to get the bracelet off and by doing so will convince everybody in space that they are all dead. Why? No, really why? If they think everybody is dead won’t that just mean they will think radiation got them and no one will be sent down as a result?

What’s the plan? Live as one with Nature until the mutant squirrels eat you? Good plan.

On that note where the hell did Bellamy get a gun? Who’s stupid enough to give him one?

And back up in space Doctor Mama gets a last second reprieve as the Evil Overlord recovers from being shot (by Bellamy? Is that how he got sent down?) and growls,

“I’ll deal with you later.”

I love the cliché lines in this show. Hilarious.

Now we are nearing the end of the first episode so you know what that means, right? CLIFFHANGER!

Our intrepid explorers have found a convenient vine that will swing them over the river and Expendable Number One gets his skinny ass on over. He’s happy! He’s found a metal sign with Mount Weather on it! He’s badass! The ladies be lookin! He’s got a huge spear sticking out of his chest!

Surprise! You’re not alone.

End of episode one. Look, I might have been facetious about the show but it is worth watching just as entertainment. It’s not a good plot, they are not good or well developed characters but it carries out the purpose of a television show, which is to entertain. I don’t know, should I continue recap the episodes? Might be worth it. Tune in next time, folks, for episode two of The 100 (which is now technically The 97)


  1. The CW is addicted to fanservice. Also, all their characters are teenagers but their actors look like thirtysomethings. It is an odd, odd way to run a network.

    (in interests of full disclosure, their awful Tomorrow People remake is a guilty addiction of mine. it's not precisely a pleasure, but I can't stop watching either.)

    I read the book of The 100, it's just like all the other current YA dystopias; enjoyable enough if you're into that kind of thing, but without any stellar ideas. I believe book and show were made simultaneously, as a multimedia entertainment thingamajig. If it succeeds, there may be a "manga" drawn by Americans! 0_0

    I like the freaky mutant deer.

  2. I like freaky mutant deer too. They should adopt it and train it to carry supplies. I used to love the CW once upon a time. Now I'm not so sure anymore. Maybe I'm focusing on the wrong things - maybe I need to get into writing crappy, short dystopian teenage romances and cash in on the train wreck that is big screen adaptations of YA

  3. You should write a YA dystopia. So should I. They're very fun, you can go off the wall with the awfulness and don't have to pay too much attention to whether that stuff would actually happen with real people. Evil governments! Monsterous mutants! Psychic powers caused by radiation! Weird courtship practices! Stick it all in a pot, drop in characters, and stir.