The 100 Review: Part Hunger Games, Part Battlestar Galactica

The 100 Review: Part Hunger Games, Part Battlestar Galactica

The 100 on The CW brings a Hunger Games like world to a Battlestar Galactica universe.

Okay, so I know I’m more than a week behind on getting a review up of this series, but for some reason, it didn’t make it into my Hulu Q right away. I read about it at one point and thought, “That sounds pretty good,” but I guess I forgot about it. Fortunately, one of the show’s writers, Akela Cooper (who also hails from little hometown), has been tweeting about it and reminded me to watch.

So I checked out the pilot episode. I’ll admit that for me, shows on The CW or often hit or miss. Some I end up adoring, in spite of myself (like Reign) and others I’m merely only “meh” about and never even bother watching. I’m glad I finally got around to seeing this pilot, though, because it’s actually good. In fact, it’s better than that and I really enjoyed it.

On The 100, the Earth has been blasted with radiation, thanks to nuclear war (it was bound to happen, right?). It’s been 97 years since the planet has been habitable and humans live in space stations in orbit above it. Martial law rules and criminals either get death, if they’re over 18, or they get incarcerated until they’re 18.  Population is strictly controlled and there’s no margin for gray areas. But things are getting rough on the space station and the problem is that they don’t have much life support left to sustain their way of life and time is running out. So 100 juvenile delinquents get sent down to the planet’s surface to see if it’s habitable again.

First, you have to get past the pretty teen faces. This is The CW, after all, and the actors and actresses playing the teen characters are all beautiful. This is to be expected. Fortunately, they don’t seem to be bad actors and turn in some pretty decent performances. It’s hard to see where each character arc is going just from one episode, but I found myself freaking out over certain things that happen to a few of them. I especially like Eliza Taylor as Clarke. Her character is obviously the Katniss of the bunch: strong, brave and smart.

And that’s where my Hunger Games references comes in. Because this series isn’t pretty teens trying to survive on a hospitable planet. Planet Earth is anything but hospitable and it doesn’t look like everyone is going to survive. I won’t go into more than that due to spoilers, but I think that maybe I need to practice my stoic Game Of Thrones face and prepare for lots of people to die. But I like that, because it feels real and not like a teen show (The Vampire Diaries, I’m looking at you – where NO ONE EVER DIES EVER).

But there’s more to this story than the teens on Earth. There is also drama happening up on the space station. Henry Ian Cusack plays the wanna-be chancellor, who I feel is going to be pretty evil in episodes to come. The adult cast is solid, with some other familiar faces, particularly Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Kelly Hu (Warehouse 13), Isaiah Washington and Paige Turco (Person of Interest). There’s political intrigue, along with a battle between what is right and what is law going on there that I think is going to be just as interesting as what’s happening on Earth.

So you end up with a show that has something for teens, a la Hunger Games, and adults, a la Battlestar Galactica, something we really haven’t seen before. I also like that it isn’t tech-heavy as one thing that annoys me more than anything is a show that features tech written by people who are clueless (Almost Human) about such things. The tech and science included in the show is believable, though, although it’s still fiction and requires some suspension of disbelief. For me, it’s often hard to get past things like that because my day job is as a science/tech journalist, but if the science and tech doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb, I’m thinking the writers did a good job.

Finally, I recommend watching this series because the show’s lead is a strong, smart and independent young woman. And considering how rare that is on television, we need to support The CW’s efforts in bringing that to us.

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