Review - The 100 : Pilot Episode

by - 3/22/2014

Surprisingly many networks are coming out with new shows this late in the season like CW with its futuristic young-adult filled offer, "The 100". Now CW is a channel my remote is certainly not familiar with since I normally associate it with the words "young", "beautiful" and most importantly, "dumb". What I can't deny is that while overall I was unimpressed by this latest CW offering, I still had a good time watching the pilot. Read my reasons below.

Here’s the synopsis for those of you who didn't watch the pilot -

97 years ago, nuclear war destroyed Earth. Survivors fled to the space stations orbiting Earth. Now, only one overcrowded space station, the Ark, remains and even that is dying. So, the desperate adults in charge (including their own parents in many cases), send 100 young criminals (I use that word loosely as everything from murder to mild disobedience is labeled as criminal onboard the Ark) back to Earth for a dual purpose - one, to save precious resources, and second, to use these young adults as a test case to see if radiation levels on Earth will allow for their return. Once down in what looks like an idyllic and lush green forest, the young men and women break off into various groups in a Lord of the Flies kind of situation. Leading the good guys is Clarke, the bright teenage daughter of the Ark's chief medical officer; Wells, son of the Ark’s Chancellor and the daredevil Finn. Leading the bad guys/rebels is the brother/sister duo of Bellamy and Octavia, who have every reason to hate the adults who condemned them and want nothing more than to be left alone, even it's on an irradiated planet.

From here, the story goes in two directions. Clarke's sensible advice to go and find supplies falls on deaf years as Bellamy gets busy encouraging the formerly incarcerated teens to take off their medical wrist cuffs (which is the only thing that lets the adults on the spaceship know if they're alive and how their bodies are reacting to the atmosphere on Earth), and do their own thing with his mantra of "whatever the hell we want", which naturally proves more popular. Clarke and 4 others leave to get supplies and on their way encounter - a mutated deer, then a gigantic fish/snake like thing that almost kills Octavia when she provocatively strips and jumps into a lake that’s not on any map, glow-in-the-dark vegetation and finally (and this is the most interesting part), after swinging across on a vine Tarzan-style, Jasper gets a spear hurled through his chest. Apparently, they’re not alone on Earth.

What worked for me – this Lord of the Flies kind of situation set in a futuristic, yet back-to-the-basics kind of way is very intriguing. The problems facing the kids on Earth and those of the adults onboard the space station are very different, yet eerily similar. Lots of good looking people provide plenty of eye candy, both young and mature. Oh, and the most interesting part of the story came towards the end, when it became clear that Clarke and the others are not the only humans on Earth.
What I didn’t like - To watch this series, one thing to keep foremost in mind is – don’t think about the science. Because if you do, you’ll realize how ridiculous the entire thing is. Like adults in space stations who are willing to send 100 kids down to a radiation-contaminated planet in a spaceship and yet haven’t ever in 97 years sent a machine down to check on the radiation levels - ? Nothing is explained about the past. No reason is given why they expect these kids to survive without any training or guidance whatsoever. I do hope they can fill in the potholes in the plot, otherwise the series will just fall into one and remain there forever.
Overall – The possibilities are endless and I hope the show can walk the tightrope between fluff and science, and actually come up with something that will sustain the audience’s interest.
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