Why You Should Watch The 100

Once upon a time, a wide-eyed blogger went to BEA and got a whole stack of books. One of those books was a slender, white volume about criminal kids in space sent to explore a radioactive Earth. The blogger did not like the book. Fast-forward a year and some change, and the book is now a TV show. All of Twitter has gone mental over said TV show. The wide-eyed blogger was confused and wary. She gave into peer pressure. She watched the show. And now she’s going to school y’all on why you need The 100 in your life.

Seriously, I’m kind of obsessed with this show. I blame Gillian and her Bellarke tweets. (I’ll explain what a Bellarke is later.) The very brief synopsis is that Earth was destroyed by a nuclear war and the survivors fled to space and have orbited around Earth in a massive space station called the Ark. Now, decades later, the Ark is running out of air, so the Council has jettisoned 100 teenage criminals to the ground as guinea pigs to see if Earth is survivable. There are so many exciting twists and turns and plot threads that spin out of that basic concept, and I don’t want to ruin them all for you, but here are just a few reasons why I love this show.

1. Refreshing lack of bossy old white men

Seriously, it’s fantastic. Too many futuristic shows show a society dominated by old, white men. So much for imagining a better tomorrow. But The 100 isn’t like that. Of all the leaders in all the different factions both in space and on the ground, only one (ONE) is a white guy, and he’s highly suspect from the moment he enters the story. Everyone else is either a) female or b) not white.

For instance, the Chancellor of the Arc, Thelonious Jaha? Black.

His two most trusted advisors? One’s a half-Peruvian guy named Marcus Kane, and the other’s a female doctor named Abby Griffin.

On the ground, the teenagers eventually form their own power structure and follow the commands of a half-Filipino guy (Bellamy Blake) and the other is the daughter of the female doctor (Clarke Griffin.)

Early on (like, in the pilot episode) the kids learn that people actually survived the nuclear war and still live on Earth. They call this group the Grounders. I don’t want to talk too much about who their leaders are, but they’re run primarily by stone-cold chicks who are completely awesome. Too often, TV shows and movies will throw in one, maybe two girls for their female viewers and say “These two are the people you can identify with. Boys, here are TEN for you!” As a girl, I love that I get an entire show of smart, calculating, kind, kick-butt characters to choose from. (This gifset is one of my faves.)

The supporting characters are a blessed mix of races and genders, as varied and casually diverse as any you would see in real life. (As opposed to a Hollywoodized group where the majority are white and male with a sprinkling of other faces thrown in.) And the best thing? NO ONE MAKES A BIG DEAL ABOUT IT. No one’s promoting Finn to a leadership role just because he’s a white guy or giving Raven a hard time because she happens to be a mechanic and a Hispanic female. On the ground, all that matters is that you get the job done, so when a character proves that they have what it takes to Do The Thing, all of the other characters support that character regardless of race or gender.

(Note: Annnnnd later there’s a character with a disability that isn’t magically healed, but that’s a spoiler so shhhh.)

2. Character arcs

Dude. Duuuuude. You don’t even know.

Okay, so, when I first started watching The 100, I live-tweeted my thoughts, which provided great entertainment for everyone, especially when it came to how I felt about certain characters. Take this Bellamy guy, for example. In the beginning, he’s a total jerk, the kind you root to be killed quickly and violently, if we’re being honest. He makes horrible decisions. But as the series progresses, he learns. He grows. Instead of being a violent, nihilistic dictator, he transforms into a protective, loyal, selfless leader who still makes mistakes but does the best he can for the sake of his people. His sister Octavia was also someone I gleefully would have pushed off a cliff, but over time she turns into this… this freaking Sky Warrior. You learn more about her heart and her drive to survive, and it’s incredible.

Actually, my favorite character of all time is a dear pet of a character I call Murder Puppy. He’s awful. He’s a bully and a murderer and just the all-around worst. But WOW, do they do some intense character development on this guy. Not only do you get his backstory, but you can track through the episodes why he makes the decisions that he does, and the show is very good at keeping him three-dimensional. (They’re good about that for everyone, really, except for maybe Lincoln.)

Basically, if you enjoy character-driven stories, The 100 is a gold mine. Good characters do bad things and seemingly bad characters do good things and everyone’s fighting to stay alive and protect what matters most to them.

3. Adventure

The Earth is a scary place. There’s freaky weather phenomena, mutant creatures, deadly plagues, and people who’d as soon impale you with a spear as look at you. After a season and a half, I can’t remember ever being bored by an episode. Between the failing Ark in space and the perils of Earth living on the ground, someone’s always trying to cheat death.

If you want a soft, peaceful show where the characters sit around in their tweed knickers and discuss polo matches or something, this is not the show for you. But if you want to join in on an adrenaline-pumping, pulse-pounding, kamikaze-mission of an adventure, you have found your place.

4. Dirt and gore

I’m not one for graphic details, but I do like realism. Shows where the female leads end every episode with perfect hair and makeup are just not for me. During the pilot, I grumbled a lot about Clarke’s monster curls, Octavia’s shimmering waterfall of a mane, and how a certain mutant alligator gar “river eel” left a certain character with a wimpy scratch on her leg after an attack, and I was assured that life on Earth was going to get real awfully quick.

THEY WERE RIGHT. Guys, this show gets The Blacklist-level gross in spots. There are battle wounds, deaths, illnesses, backstabbings, animal attacks, horrific accidents, and all of the other gruesome things that you could expect when crash-landing on an untamed, radioactive planet inhabited by a hostile people group. You go from a river eel love nibble to an onscreen mercy killing by a knife to the neck.

Also, in certain episodes, the characters go from this:

 

to this:

When you’re running for your life, personal hygiene isn’t high on the priority list, AND THIS IS AS IT SHOULD BE.

5. THAT SHIP

If you’ve heard about The 100 before, then you’ll know that the main ship (romantic relationship) on the show is between Bellamy Blake and Clarke Griffin (aka, Bellarke). Not that they’ve done anything. Heck, they didn’t even hug for the first time until a couple episodes ago. (AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.)

These two are the epitome of both hate-to-love romance and slow-burn romance. They loathe each other for the longest time and then slowly start to respect and then trust each other. There are other ships to sail, to be sure, but for me, this is The Ship, my The 100 OTP.

6. Heart

As in “This show has heart” and “OH MY HEART.” Remember how under character arcs I talked about characters with depth? Well, with characters with depth come relationships with depth and owwwww. This point is especially for the people out there who roll their eyes at the Bellarke fanatics. Yes, the primary (from the view of the fans) romantic relationship is wonderful, but the multitude of platonic relationships in this show are just as wonderful.

I don’t even know where to begin. There’s the relationship between Bellamy and his little sister Octavia, the relationship between best buds Monty and Jasper, the way Monty 100% trusts and looks up to Clarke, the platonic, totally solid and trustworthy aspect of Bellamy and Clarke’s relationship, the oft troubled but fascinating dynamic between Jaha, Abby, and Kane, the relationship between Clarke and the various Grounder soldiers and Commander, the twisty thing that is Bellamy and Murphy, the relationship between Murphy and Clarke (NO I AM NOT IMAGINING IT THIS IS A REAL THING), the squeeworthy banter between Raven and Wick, the professional ties between Abby and Jackson, the blossoming galmance of mutual respect and admiration between Raven and Clarke…

Gosh, so many. SO. MANY. The kids especially are becoming the most precious of found families even as they struggle for their very survival, and I can’t deal with them.

And that only deals with specific, interpersonal moments between named characters. That doesn’t even cover the moments of intense bravery and sacrifice on the part of both named and unnamed characters for the good of the people. There’s this one scene with a character I only know as Ginger Daddy that just… I need a minute.

7. Cliffhangers

I think this is where you most clearly see the show’s origin as a book. In most TV shows, the episodes are treated as individual stories. Yes, there are overarching season arcs, carried character development, and even a couple two-part episodes, but a murder that starts on Episode One of a crime show will most likely be solved within that episode and have little to no impact on the following episode.

Not with The 100. In this show, each episode is more like a chapter. Smaller subplots are solved within each episode, but the big pieces carry on. And even when a bigger question is laid to rest, an episode never ends with a sense of completion. Instead of a peaceful moment or a sly joke, each episode is treated like a season finale. There’s always a cliffhanger waiting to make you gasp, scream, and beg for the next episode in the same way each chapter in a book should entice you to read “just one more page.”

8. We’re all insane

Every last one of us. Completely, 100%, certifiably, head-over-heels insane for this show. If you get hooked, you will never be without support. No matter which ship you ship, which character you adore, which subplot you jones for, there will be someone there to moan, “I knowwwww, right?” I mean, I totally volunteer to be a listening ear and cackling know-it-all for whichever of you get sucked in by this post, but I know others will as well. It’s a well-written, exciting, engaging show, and we’re here to support it. And honestly, just based on the reactions of the people I flailed with when I was catching up on the last season, enjoying it through someone else’s first time experience is just as fun as experiencing it for the first time yourself.

WE ARE HERE FOR YOU.

—*—

So there you have it. Eight rather long-winded reasons why you should watch The 100 now, now, NOW.

Let me note clearly that this is a CW show. The bit about the gore? Yeah, there’s totally gore. People make awful, reprehensible choices (and don’t get away without consequences, but still). There are sex scenes (that I totally fast-forwarded.) This is not a sit-down-with-the-preschoolers-and-enjoy type of show. Educate yourself and know what you’re getting into so that you can enjoy the experience without any unpleasant surprises.

The 100 is one of the very few cases where I advocate forgetting the original text entirely and just enjoying the show for the show’s sake. If any of the above points interest you in the slightest, check it out and thank me later.

Are you tempted and have questions? Ask me! Are you a fan? Drop the newbies some encouragement in the comments!

15 Responses to Why You Should Watch The 100

  1. Angie January 21, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    YES YES YES YES

    also hehe murder puppy
    Angie recently posted…DNF Review: The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus SedgwickMy Profile

    • Shae January 21, 2015 at 8:13 pm #

      Puppyyyyyyyy

  2. Paula Stokes January 21, 2015 at 11:53 am #

    Okay, so part of me was hoping that when I clicked on the link the post would be nothing but images of Bellamy and Marcus Kane (yes, this show provides fictional boyfriend material for all age groups :D), but yeah, I concur with everything you said. Well, unless that was a subtle dig at Lincoln. I LOVE LINCOLN.

    I tried to read the book but I saw an episode of the show first, and the book is just too different.
    Paula Stokes recently posted…Introduction: Finding happiness as a writer…My Profile

    • Shae January 21, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

      Haha, I don’t DISLIKE Lincoln, but he does nothing for me. Phrased another way, I’m never “YAAASSS LICNOLN!” At best, I’m “Oh. It’s Lincoln.” I have a greater emotional connection with Nyko, for heaven’s sake.

      Yeah, the book was meh. (And I’m STILL irritated that the show persists with the delusion that floating people into space makes sense. HAS NO ONE SEEN THE HORROR SHOW THAT WAS GRAVITY?!)

  3. Lina January 21, 2015 at 11:45 pm #

    1. The female characters I just so awesome and kick-ass! But I guess I never really noticed quite how diverse the cast is, just that’s they’re all beautiful, haha. I guess that a credit to the show on how naturally diversity is incorporated.

    2. My favorite books/TV shows always seem to be character-driven, and the arcs on the show really are amazing!! I seriously did hate Bellamy in the beginning, along with Murphy, but now I’m a hardcore Bellarke shipper and was horrified when **SPOILER** Raven wanted to use Murphy as bait.

    4. Gotta love how realistic the show is, I’ve never seen TV characters so dirty! Sometimes I just want to give them a towel, haha. I feel like Clarke and Bellamy get the dirtiest.

    5. BELLARKE. I’ve been on this ship since so long ago. Them together as leaders just gives me the warm fuzzes — when they’re arguing, when they have each others’ backs, when they’re supporting each other *squee!* I like how slow they relationship has been going, but I just honestly don’t get why **SPOILER** she every supposedly loved Finn. I just don’t get it. I thought she made it clear a while back to him that she didn’t feel the same way and I thought that was truly how she felt. Ugh….

    Great post, I devoured it haha!
    Lina recently posted…Bookish Musings: Has Blogging Improved My Choice in Books?My Profile

    • Shae January 22, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

      1. I honestly can’t think of a single female character I DON’T want to be, you know? … Wait. Maia. I don’t want to be Maia.

      2. I KNOW MY POOR MURDER PUPPY.

      4. I’m still waiting for the girls to be like, “What are we doing? We’re filthy, and it’s hot. PIXIE CUTS FOR ALL.”

  4. Alexa S. January 22, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

    I’m admittedly VERY curious about The 100! Since I do have a fondness for CW shows, that’s already a point in its favor for me. But I loved reading your eight reasons I should check it out – I just might (and will potentially not say a word till I catch up to where it’s at now). Glad you enjoyed it!
    Alexa S. recently posted…The Bronze Horseman – Paullina SimonsMy Profile

    • Shae January 23, 2015 at 9:24 am #

      *squirms* If/when you DO catch up, we need to talk characters. I have so many thoughts.

  5. Kay @ It's a Book Life January 23, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    I’m going to be honest. I watched the first two episodes of this show when it first aired, and I didn’t like it. I thought the kids were all idiots and I couldn’t stand them…. Even the couple I did like were not enough to keep me watching.

    After reading your post I’m thinking maybe I should give it another try. At least for a couple more episodes, especially since there is actual character development. Plus, I have heard a lot of good things about this show. Maybe I was just too critical of those first two episodes. I don’t know. We shall see.
    Kay @ It’s a Book Life recently posted…I Feel Like Gabbing Today – TV Show EditionMy Profile

    • Shae January 25, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

      The first couple episodes are definitely standard CW fare (pretty people doing stupid things.) But wow, does it get better.

  6. Tania January 25, 2015 at 7:51 am #

    Ginger Daddy! I swear, I would make this comment longer, but my eyes are welling up just thinking about him…

    • Shae January 25, 2015 at 3:05 pm #

      I love how the dude doesn’t even have a widely known name and yet we just describe him as Ginger Daddy and everyone clutches their hearts.

  7. Terri @ Reading By Starlight January 25, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    ALL THE APPLAUSE. Some of my friends came to visit this weekend and I successfully got them both obsessed with the show, one weeks ago and one over the last 24 hours. I FEEL POWERFUL.

    No but really, this show has taken over. I’m watching right now. Bellamy is yelling about Grounders and the fence and whatnot. It’s distracting…

    OH SORRY. No but seriously, I cannot wait to see where this series goes. THe characters are amazing, there is girl power everywhere, and they are not afraid to break the characters down in order to build them back up and NOT in horrible, pointless ways.
    Terri @ Reading By Starlight recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Times the Book Wasn’t Better than the MovieMy Profile

    • Shae January 25, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

      Oh man, I know. I introduced my old college roommate this week, and it was so much fun.

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