By Nicole Fiorica
At a glance:
Avg. Episode Length: 42 minutes
Available on: Netflix
What it’s about:
In the indeterminate future, 100 years after a nuclear war left the world (supposedly) uninhabitable, the last of humanity is running out of resources. In an effort to see if they can return to Earth, the space station’s leaders send 100 juvenile delinquents to the ground. Their task is simple: survive. The teens arrive to find that the planet’s radiation is no longer deadly, but are quickly forced to contend with both the volatile forces that remain and, of course, one another. If this sounds like the plot of a dystopian novel, that’s because the show is based off one.
Why it’s so good:
The easiest way to describe this show is like “Lost,” but with more teens. It has the unknown terrain and the enigmatic enemies that come with it — the reluctant leaders, redeemable anti-heroes and of course, the secrets that everyone seems to be hiding. Not to mention “Lost’s” very own Henry Ian Cusack (also known as the beloved Desmond Hume who stars in the series). On its surface, “The 100” may seem like another run-of-the-mill post-apocalyptic scenario. However, it’s actually wrought with intelligent commentary on the lengths humanity will go to survive and whether or not the ends justify the means.
Why you should binge it:
The plot of “The 100” snowballs pretty quickly from the first few minutes and when our lovable cast of delinquents crash-lands on Earth, their lives never quite seem to get easier. The finale of season one is enough to make you glad you decided to watch on streaming, because frankly, it’s a hard show to stop once you get started. Season three returns to the CW in January, which means you can easily catch up during winter break and be ready for another promising season.
A majority of the show’s teen delinquents are fresh faces, who nevertheless do a good job carrying the show. Keep an eye out for the initially naïve Octavia Blake (Marie Avgeropoulos, Cult, 50/50), whose character development over the course of the first two seasons probably takes the biggest leap. Meanwhile, the adults (still up in space, trying to buy as much time for their people as possible) include some impressive names that lend more complexity show. Think Isaiah Washington (“Grey’s Anatomy”) as the morally conflicted Chancellor Jaha, whose advisors (Cusack and Paige Turco, Person of Interest) give opposing council on how best not to destroy the human race.
This is the post-apocalyptic genre compounded with a lot of young-adult dystopian influences and it’s on the CW, so you can expect a fair amount of clichés. Also, lots of love triangles, even a few love squares. Arguably, there is a reason why these tropes are so popular, and the show’s creators make them work, but you can definitely foresee some eye rolling as a group of kids take charge and essentially lead a war. As one character boasts to an adult in season 2, “You may be the chancellor, but I’m in charge.”