Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pilot Review: The 100

The 100 (The CW)
Premiered March 19 at 9pm

There’s something objectively appealing about the premise of this CW series. Set in the future where the remaining human populace who survived a nuclear war live in a space station, this show has the promise of being able to approach Earth from a fresh angle, returning to it as an emblem of salvation. Sending 100 young criminals to the surface to test out whether it is safe to be there while debating the merits of exterminating some of the adults still aboard the space station to prolong the lives of the others is a bit more of a stretch, mainly because it involves depicting rebellious teenagers who, for the first time, truly feel free. The show has its own token dialogue, like the use of the word “floated” to describe someone being jettisoned into space as a form of execution. Following the adventures on the ground and the happenings on the space station leads to two fragmented worlds, each of which has different problems. On the ground, cries of rebellion are too fervent while Wells is a stand-in for his father and Clarke a too potent symbol of purity and righteousness. On board, Henry Ian Cusick’s Councillor Kane is too blatantly trying to garner power, while Kelly Hu’s Cece and Paige Taylor’s Abby air their blasphemous views far too publicly to have survived this long. Isaiah Washington is back on TV in his first regular role since “Grey’s Anatomy” in what’s sure to be a meaty part as the Chancellor, who is clearly less evil than Kane but still has a pretty awful reputation. This show fits in very well with the CW’s target audience, and is reminiscent of “Terra Nova” in its later episodes involved excessive adolescent drama. Like fellow CW newbie “Star-Crossed,” this one might have been good on paper, but it just doesn’t deliver.

How will it work as a series? Ending the episode by following up a triumphant accomplishment with a tragic and frightening death signifies that radiation is the least of the hundred’s worries, which should at least make their time on the ground more worthwhile than just petty popularity arguments. Eventually, things will have to progress, and I don’t see this show sustaining itself for too long, as series with similar concepts have proven when they peter out after a few episodes.
How long will it last? Possibly a while. This premiere was a ratings success for the CW, besting lead-in “Arrow” that night and equaling the debut of “The Tomorrow People” this past fall. I won’t be following too closely, but I think this one might just survive.

Pilot grade: C-

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