E4 has been the channel of choice in my house for some time now. In the uni house it would be on for hours at a time thanks to The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and, towards the end of our degree, Rules of Engagement. We had the damn channel on so much we came to love programs we originally hated. I’m still not sure if thats a good thing or a bad thing.
Last week was the first episode of their newest series, The 100 (pronounced The Hundred). It’s the latest sci-if instalment from the states and the advertising push on it has been large and prominent on the channel since The Tomorrow People finished a few weeks back. The Bearded One and I presumed that this was the replacement series for that so were keen and eager to catch the first instalment.
It was a bit of a shaky start. For me, as a writer, I find myself dissecting scripts whenever I watch a show these days. Not always a bad thing, but it put me on an immediate negative for this one. Straight away you were bombarded with backstory and context. It’s set in your post-nuclear apocalypse universe where the remnants of the human race live in spaceship orbiting Earh until the planet becomes *ahem* survivable. Not my word, theirs. What kind of a word even is that? So that was the first of my peeves – too much too quickly with an awful word to boot.
Next we learn that the 100 young offenders imprisoned on the ship are being sent down to the Earth. This is where we also find out that every crime is now a capital offence and the young offenders are being detained until they turn eighteen where they will be reviewed. Except these 100 are being sent on a mission to Earth to see how the planet fares. Hmm, we said, seems a little dodgy to us. Conviniently, our protagonist’s mother happens to be chief science officer (or whatever their equivalent title is).
So they get sent to Earth, and they land with minimal casualties. Meantime we get more backstory in that protagonist’s father was killed because of the best friend and we get introduced to a whole load of bad boy characters. And one bad ass girl who was imprisoned purely for being born – we learn she is the second child of a family and her mother kept her hidden for 16 years. Still not sure how. So they land, there is much joy at their freedom before protagonist realises they’ve been dropped 40 miles from their supplies. Cue minor skirmish and power struggle.
Meanwhile on board the ship we find out there is a major problem with life support. Engineering need six months to fix it but they only have three months of life support. Hence their reasoning for getting rid of the 100, less people means more time. So the catch for realeasing all these teenage reprobates is explained.
Even more than that happened – it was, after all, the first episode – but I couldn’t help feeling absolutely bombarded with information. We met so many characters with some pretty confusing relationships to each other. Back on the subject of the script it was cheesy and clumsily written at several points – to the extent that the Bearded One even commented on it. Relieved I wasn’t being overly picky, I did begin to wonder who actually wrote the script. The series is based on the book series by Kass Morgan and I’m unsure how much involvement she had in the story. With a bunch of teenage protagonists it’s obvious it was originally aimed at the young adult market, but I hope that doesn’t mean the whole series will end up diluted and bland.
They did manage to end on a fairly impressive cliff hanger, though the final line was one that was in the series trailer. As was the big reveal on the planet and some scenes that we definitely haven’t seen yet. I know they need to get interest but showing some of your key plot points in the trailers isn’t the way forward. I hope they do take it up a notch – though based on young adult books the episodes air at 10pm so it’s obviously a different market for the show.
We will tune in again and give this as much of a chance as we can. Hopefully we will be pleasantly surprised as the series unfolds. I hope this isn’t another book conversion fail.
The 100 is on E4 Mondays at 10pm.