Scott D. Pierce: Lost’ + ‘Lord of Flies’ + ‘Gossip Girl’ = ‘The 100’

First Published      Last Updated Mar 17 2014 10:38 am

The 100" is a post-apocalyptic drama that mixes "Lost" and "The Lord of the Flies" with a bit of "Gossip Girl" — and it's one of the more promising shows we've seen on The CW in quite some time. Really.

The premise of this new series (Wednesday, 8 p.m., Ch. 30) is about as dark as anything you'll see on network TV. It's set 97 years after a nuclear holocaust rendered Earth uninhabitable, A few thousand humans inhabit the Ark — a space station where life is harsh. If you're over the age of 18, any and all crimes are punished by death.

But the way things are going, everybody's going to be dead soon. The Ark will be out of oxygen in a few months. So 100 juvenile delinquents are sent down to the planet to see if there's any chance for the rest of the population to return to Earth.

This is The CW, so these are 100 really good-looking juvenile delinquents (played by Eliza Taylor, Thomas McDonell, Bob Morley, Marie Avgeropoulos, Devon Bostick and Christopher Larkin). And some of them are mean girls or mean boys. Which is a little bit "Gossip Girl"-y.

"I think you drop 100 teenagers somewhere and just let them go wild, they will, " Morley said.

And in "The 100," there are actual consequences.

Characters die. A lot of characters die. And not just peripheral characters.

"It shouldn't be called 'The 100.' " joked executive producer Jason Rothenberg. "By the end of Season 1, it should be called, like, 'The 50.' "

Earth offers a variety of deadly obstacles, but the focus isn't on those dangers and the cool special effects that create them.

"We made a decision early on that it was going to be about what the people do to each other moreso than what the world does to the people," said Rothenberg, who added that the cool special effects are the "icing on the cake."

The juvenile delinquents prove deadly to each other. And there's is deadly strife back on the Ark with the adults (played by Paige Turco, Isaiah Washington and Henry Ian Cusick). Unlike so many shows with teenage characters, the adults remain a big part of the narrative.

And they're all in danger.

"We wanted people to feel like anybody could die at any time." Rothenberg said, pointing to shows like "Game of Thrones" and "The Walking Dead" as templates.

"The reason that that drama, I think, resonates so much for people is that you just don't know what's going to happen," he said.

"The 100" is a science fiction show that isn't just for geeks. It's entertaining and, yes, unexpected on a dramatic level.

Yes, there's some silly soap opera in spots. But I've seen six episodes and it not only kept my attention, it left me wanting to see more. Which is high praise for any TV series.

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.