How bad is this new teen sci-fi? Very.
Whoa. We may just have a contender for the most Z-grade new drama of the year in The 100. No wonder Channel Nine decided to pass on this one. Check your brain at the door, turn down the sound and look at the pretty pictures. It may help to pass the hour.
The 100 is produced for the youth-skewed CW channel in the US, which has been home to a mix of hits and misses including Supernatural, Beauty & The Beast, 90210, The Vampire Diaries, Arrow, Gossip Girl, Smallville, The Carrie Diaries -are you seeing a theme yet? Their shows are invariably about putting young characters front and centre for their audience, which is fair enough.
The 100 began as a Young Adult novel by Kass Morgan and probably should have stayed there before being adapted by Jason Rothenberg. As she noted in a Huffington Post article, 11 Things You Learn When Your Book Is Turned Into A TV Show, “the show varies a lot from the book.”
The post-apocalyptic series takes place 97 years after life on Earth has been erased by nuclear war. The only survivors are aboard an international space station, also home to an inter-galactic prison where its inhabitants are all under the age of 18. Any older than 18 and they are expired, with apologies to Logan’s Run.
One of the prisoners is an attractive young woman Clarke (former Neighbours star Eliza Taylor) whose only crime seems to be being the daughter of a rebel father. When the series opens she joins 99 other young inmates jettisoned to Earth to see if it is inhabitable once again. Down in the land of gravity Earth looks like a scene from After Earth: it’s lush, green and a perfect playground for 100 random hot teens.
It’s about here that The 100 begins to resemble a kind of futuristic Spring Break. Tempers and passions flare, alpha-males lock horns (and not much else), girls strip down to the barest of threads to spontaneously dip themselves in the water. Amongst the troupe is Bellamy (another former Neighbours and Home and Away face, Bob Morley) who emerges as a team leader.
Back on the Ark spacestation, Clarke’s mother Dr. Abby Griffin (Paige Turco) is caught in a power struggle with Councillor Marcus Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) and may not survive. Isaiah Washington plays Chancellor Thelonious Jaha. He ironically tells The 100 they are getting a “second chance” which is probably what The CW told him when hiring him given was booted off Grey’s Anatomy for conduct unbecoming.
Naturally all is not right in paradise with some radiation-affected wildlife that look like they might be pals of Blinky, that three-eyed fish in The Simpsons.
So far we’ve seen all this before, but here it is morphed together with a cast more attractive than experienced (the Aussies execute themselves admirably however). The dialogue is particularly excruciating, with lines that horrendously signpost backstory. And did we mention the pointless pop choons?
In space no-one can hear you scream, which is what I felt like doing for much of this turkey.
The 100 airs Thursday September 4 at 7.30pm on FOX8.