RHIANNON POPE investigates the ongoing success of post-apocalyptic TV series The 100 and prepares you for the new season, which has just started again on CW.
*WARNING: Minor plot spoiler alert
The 100 is an American post apocalyptic dystopian television series that follows a group of one hundred (hence the title) underage criminals struggling to survive. With the fourth season about to air you start to wonder what makes this show popular? There have been plenty of quality shows that were cancelled. Firefly, Dollhouse and Selfie were great shows that were cancelled. So why does the 100 get a fourth season?
The basic premise for The 100 is a hundred criminal teenagers are sent to a possibly deadly radiation soaked earth about one hundred years after the planet was destroyed by a nuclear apocalypse. They are sent by because the space station they lived on (The Ark) was running out of life support and the leaders of the ark deemed them expendable. The show follows 17 year old Clarke Griffin and her friends in their struggles to survive. If you google post apocalyptic tv shows at least 35 other shows come up. It’s not like it’s a new thing. sure the characters are criminal teenagers and that’s cool but criminals are very popular in post apocalyptic stories and so are teenagers. What makes a great show isn’t the plot line or the special effects because while those are important if the show doesn’t have characters that the viewers connect to the show won’t do well.
Out of the 100 criminals (which the fandom has named the delinquents) there are about five main characters Clarke, Octavia, Murphy, Jasper and Finn plus another six characters who aren’t delinquents Abby, Marcus, Bellamy, Raven, Lincoln and Lexa. All of which have differing personalities and stories the viewer can sympathise with. Each character tends to find themselves in situations that make the viewer worry about them and so they watch the next episode and the next season and so here we are with season four almost here and the end of the world coming again. So what led to the apocalypse?
In The first season these hundred delinquents, and the adults on The Ark are struggling to survive. The citizens of The Ark need to know if earth is survivable and the delinquents need to survive earth. Technically they should be helping each other but when 100 criminals are sent off to die they aren’t in any hurry to help the people who deemed them expendable. So while the Ark is dying so are the Delinquents who are being murdered by Grounders (humans who survived the first apocalypse), acid fog and each other.
The second season follows straight after season one and the Ark has been sent to the ground and the 48 remaining delinquents (minus about 7) have been kidnapped by random people in radiation suits. Turns out there are people who survived the bombs by hiding in a heavily secure mountain. however they can’t go outside because the leftover radiation will kill them. Spending a hundred years in a mountain tends to bring out the crazy in people so they’re willing to do anything to go outside. Thus this season gets it’s antagonists. The delinquents and Ark residents need to work together with the grounders to beat these “mountain men” which brings in badass warrior woman love interest for the main character Clarke.
Season three continues a few months after season two and a computer AI named A.L.I.E that originally destroyed the world is trying to turn everyone into her puppets, a racist ark citizen is on a grounder killing spree and Clarke is struggling to make peace with the grounders. When the AI is defeated the characters find out that there are a whole lot of leftover bombs that are about to go off. Welcome to the apocalypse 2.0.
So what can we expect for the end of the world take 2? Clarke and Bellamy are on the same team which is always good and everyone is working together to just survive. Unlike in the previous seasons the thing they’re fighting isn’t a person or even a robot it’s not something that can be reasoned with or something they can distract. They aren’t fighting anything. They’re trying to survive the apocalypse.
One of the best parts of the 100 is that every decision made has lasting consequences. Something that happened in season one could still affect the story in season four. Different characters different storylines are seemingly unrelated all tie together and that makes a great show. Television shows have the tendency to completely disregard all previous seasons character growth or plot points to get to where they want to go and for the main part the 100 avoids this. Is it perfect? Definitely not but what show is. The third season has its struggles. Killing off the only lesbian just adds to the irritating trope and changing one of the main character’s (Bellamy) personality to fit a plot point is an obvious sign that the writers were suffering from writer’s block. After two great years they can get away with a few stumbles and with season four on the way the writers have every opportunity to redeem themselves.