Perhaps one of television’s most highly underrated shows, The 100 has proven to be the stuff of brilliance on a network that is often overlooked for its content. Yet not-so-surprisingly the dystopian series based on the book by Kass Morgan comes from The CW, once known for its teenage dramas like Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries is now known for its darker, mature and superhero-y dramas like Arrow, The Flash and The 100.
Since The 100 first premiered in January 2014, there was a hype surrounding the Young Adult-based show that elicited an eager response from both young and old, women and men alike. And that’s the appeal of the show in a nutshell. Is that despite it being based on a YA novel or focused mostly on a group of teenagers, it has a universal appeal because of the story, incredibly strong characters and amazing visual effects.
Say what you want about the network the show resides on, but The 100 has some of the most compelling storytelling on television. While the first season was captivating from the pilot, the second season in just nine episodes is proving to be a game changer in every aspect of the word. You know the term sophomore slump? Yeah, well, The 100 is beating that shit out of that term with everything that it has.
The possibilities are endless in this dystopian world and yet week after week the writers are able to one-up themselves with their storytelling. The general premise – a group of humans from space are sent to a dystopian Earth – doesn’t exactly scream compelling. But it’s the storylines that the writers take with the general premise that makes this show and its story so captivating.
While The 100 has a general strong cast of characters it’s the female characters that truly shine. More often than not female characters take a back seat to the male protagonists, but on The 100 the female characters aren’t just front and center but they’re – simply put – badasses. Just look at the Grounders, who are a group of people that have survived on the ground (easy right). They’re leaders are women. They are respected, they are admired, they are feared.
But it’s not just the Grounders who exhibit strong women. The Sky People – the name describing our main cast of characters who came from space – are filled with strong females most notably our protagonist Clarke. Like most of the women, Clarke doesn’t start out physically tough. No, it’s her emotional strength – like the others – that gets her through what she experiences on the ground. Yeah, she picks up some physical prowess – which is to be expected when you’re fighting for your life every day – but that’s not what defines her toughness. What define the strong female characters of The 100 are their actions.
While the show might have started with our characters from space it has grown to encompass a world that exists of three groups: Sky People (our space cast), Grounders and Mountain Men. The general focus is still on Clarke and co. but the more we become exposed to the other groups the more we learn about this world and why these groups have done and continue to do what they do to survive. Everyone’s intentions are good – as the leaders of all are looking out for their people – but the question of whether these groups can ever find peace looms in every episode.
One of the most stunning things about The 100 comes in a visual form. The show has some of the most beautiful visual effects on television from its shots from space to the ground to the new opening credits that run before episodes in season two. The world that Jason Rothenberg has created is beautifully exhibited by Zoic Studios as it shows us a world that used to be our world but doesn’t resemble it at all. And that’s pretty impressive. Don’t believe us. But do believe the show’s Emmy nomination for outstanding visual effects.
Raising the Stakes
There’s a sort of unwritten rule on most shows that your main characters are nearly untouchable in terms of death. Well, The 100 doesn’t employ that rule. Just as the world the characters inhabit is dangerous and unforgiving so are its writers in terms of safety. There’s no death that’s too big, as evidenced by the tragic end of a major character in the midseason finale.
The writers have not created a set of rules for the characters to live by but they write by those set of rules, as well. There are consequences for wrongdoings. It doesn’t matter how major a character is. No one is safe. Ever. And it’s that fear that keeps our eyes glued to our television screens and our hands grasping tissues and a bottle of alcohol every week.
Now more than ever is the perfect time to start watching The 100 before it returns from its midseason break. It has all the makings of a compelling television show: a captivating story, strong characters, high stakes and, because it’s The CW, it has a gorgeous cast that you can oogle over. Trust us, The 100 is one show that you won’t regret watching. In fact, you’ll be wondering what took you so long to finally start watching it.
The 100 returns Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 9/8c on The CW.