The 100 Season 1 Review: Five Reasons You Should Watch This Show

The100 Calling Ark Station

The 100 Season 1 Review (Spoiler Free)
Five Reasons You Should Watch This Show

From The Hunger Games to The Maze Runner, many young adult dystopian novels have been adapted into movies.  So while it’s not unexpected for television networks to jump aboard this popular trend, it is a refreshing surprise that The 100 is totally awesome!

One of the reasons The 100 stands out is how the series puts its own spin on familiar elements from sci-fi dystopian and post-apocalyptic drama genres. The premise starts off as Lord Of The Flies meets Lost, but by the end of episode 3 The 100 goes for the gut punch and in doing so, begins to develop its own identity within the genre.

This post is a spoiler free introduction to The 100. Here are Five Reasons You Should Watch This Show:

#1. Gritty Premise Packs A Mean Punch

The 100 strikes a nice balance between high stakes adventure and a gritty survival thriller, never becoming too bleak or despairing to watch. Taking place 97 years after a nuclear apocalypse devastates Earth, the last remnants of humanity, about 2400 people, live aboard a deteriorating space station named “The Ark” where any crime committed by an adult is a capital offense. 

Due to the lack of life sustaining resources on the Ark, 100 juvenile delinquents are sent down on a one way trip to Earth to determine if the planet has become habitable.

#2. Superb Pacing & Storytelling

Don’t let the fact that this series comes from the same network that brought us its share of teen melodramas prevent you from giving The 100 a chance. The first season’s format is patterned after cable tv dramas, consisting of thirteen serialized episodes. The shorter season cuts out most of the filler. Each episode picks up where the previous one left off, adding to the addictive quality of the show.

The 100 isn’t afraid to get its hands bloody.  In the best possible way, the reaction at the end of many episodes is “Did that really just happen!?”. Story arcs quickly build momentum and are brought to an unconventional yet satisfying conclusion.

#3. Timeless Themes For An Adult Audience

The 100

Grown ups often take a back seat to the teenagers in Young Adult stories but that’s not quite the case here. At the same time their children on Earth wrestle with notions such as what it means to be a leader and the justification for torture to ensure their survival, the adults living on the Ark have their own compelling stories to tell.

The Ark’s Council have to make morally complex and emotionally taxing decisions. There’s an incredible gravity to their dire predicament because there are no easy, clear cut choices but always major consequences no matter which path is taken.

#4. Kick Ass Characters Continue To Evolve 

The 100 does a great job at developing characters into people the audience can whole heartedly root for. Even supposedly villainous and supporting characters evolve into something much more than they were first introduced as. There are about a dozen regular cast members, here’s are a brief rundown on a few of them:

Clarke Griffin is a resourceful young woman who can be counted upon to make tough decisions. She’s a strong force to be reckoned with yet layered with an emotional vulnerability by talented actress Eliza Taylor.

Fan favourite Bellamy Blake has his own agenda. He’s starts off as an antagonist to Clarke but as the back story fleshes out his motivation he becomes more complex than on first impression. What makes him initially both a potential danger and asset to the group is that the 100 look up to him as a leader.  

Octavia Blake isn’t just another pretty face or damsel in distress. She’s trying to gain control of her life from her over-protective older brother Bellamy. We find out that because of The Ark’s one-child policy, she’s had to live the first 16 years of her life hiding in confinement.  

The 100 Cast Photo Clarke Griffin

#5. Science Fiction That’s Grounded in Realism

Since Battlestar Galactica and Joss Whedon’s Firefly went off the air, there hasn’t been as many outer space live action television shows as there once was. On The 100, we get the best of both worlds; the story happening on the planet’s surface as well as on The Ark which orbits the Earth.

Although The 100 is set in the future, the space setting is more like Gravity in that it’s grounded in realism. This lends itself for a more compelling story because characters can’t technobabble their way out of impossible situations or have a transporter beam rescue them at the last second.  By focussing less on space age technology, the story zeroes in on the personal drama and makes the struggle to survive more believable.


Among the many great reasons to watch the show, there are certain aspects of The 100 that are less than ideal. The location on Earth is primarily centralized in a small, lush forest area. As a result of a limited production budget, the producers smartly focus on the essentials rather than spending money on unnecessary lavish set pieces. Even though it’s realistic for hormonally charged teenagers to have feelings for one-another, the romantic entanglements aren’t a strength of the show. And whenever a new background character among the 100 is introduced it is usually to their imminent demise.

The 100 is fairly self-aware, as the show progresses the weaker elements are addressed. Executive Producer Jason Rothenberg deserves a lot of credit for developing Kass Morgan’s book series from, at first glance, another YA dystopian derivative into an especially good sci-fi adventure televisions series.

Season 1 is available on home video and streaming services. Netflix in Canada has secured exclusive first run rights so that each new episode will be available the next day after it airs on TV. Why not binge watch Season 1? 

Other Reviews You Might Like:

American Horror Story: Season 1 Review

The Hunger Games Movie Review

About Sidekick Reviews

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on January 25, 2015, in Television, The 100 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I haven’t seen this one but if it’s on Netflix I might check it out at some point. I do like a good sci-fi show and having Henry Ian Cusick here certainly doesn’t hurt!

    • I’m really glad I gave this show a shot on Netflix. The first couple of episodes didn’t grab me right away but I heard good things about it so I stuck with it. Henry Ian Cusick is one of two cast members that I recognized from previous stuff. I’ve only seen him in Lost so it’s interesting hearing him without his Scottish accent. 🙂 I hope you check it out at some point.

  2. Great overview! I haven’t watched this show but it sounds as though it would be worth checking out. I like the idea the show doesn’t dismiss the adult story line in favor of focusing on the kids. Always think it’s unrealistic when shows act as though teenagers don’t have parents. Will have to find time to watch this one.

    • Thanks a bunch! Another good reason to watch is that Season 2 so far keeps up the quality and the network has already renewed it for Season 3 so the show is going to be around for a while. I like that the adults have an important role to play too and that the story on the Ark is told through them. Whenever you find the time to watch the show, I’d be interested to know what you think of it.

  3. I love this show for all the reasons you laid out here. It feels very bold for a network show and most of all, it’s just plain fun to watch. I am hoping they might explore new regions in future seasons perhaps. We saw a bit of desert. Heard about an Ice Nation or something last week and there was mention of a City of Light at one point I think. I’d love to see more because I really love this version of Earth and seeing the different groups interact is really cool. I also like looking at Octavia… that’s a good reason for liking a show right? Good call on this blog. More people should watch this show!

  4. One of things I’m liking about the current season is hinting at other new regions that can be explored. The opening credit sequence for Season 2 which shows different parts of the world is very cool. I really liked that desert episode, not just for the setting, but giving these smaller character moments worked well. Haha, eye candy is a perfectly good reason to liking a show! I’m glad that this show got renewed for Season 3 and hopefully more people will watch it.

  5. This is interesting. I watched the pilot and did not like it. But if will give it a second chance after reading your review. Good post! 🙂

  6. Hey man, great write up yo. I should have known that you watch this show as well. I was interested from the outset, but never got around to watching it until I went back home after uni finished in the summer. My experience of watching the first season was a combination of interest, surprise and frustration. Loads of people I’ve seen online praise this show like it is oneof the best shows on TV and for me I don’t agree with that at all. Now don’t misunderstand me, The 100 is not a bad show, if fact it is a very good show with original and fancy ideas and obviously I made it to the end ofthe show so that means it had some good points right?

    What I like about this show is that it moves at a decent pace (provided that the episode is good), the characters grow and become stronger and when they introduce the Grounders as visual character things certainly become WAY more interesting.

    The main nitpicks I have about the show is: 1) The characters are all hypocrites. Certain people do things that are wrong or go against their code of conduct, but then they’ll do the opposite in the next episode. I can’t get behind any of these people because they don’t stick to their convinctions. This eventually changes as the season progresses but at first it was a bloody pain. 2) Clarke, argh, she’s a person who really pisses me off. Sure, she grows as a character and becomes a much more capable protagonist. But man, she does some seriously foolish things. She’s a bit of a man-stealer, constantly keeps making irrational and haphazard decisions and she’s one of the biggest hypocrites in the show. 3) The music inserts in the show just bug me. Because it’s the CW, there is always the need to put some horrible modern music in the episodes, ewwww. 4) Young people are their relationships, just like a lot of YA shows, there is always going to be people hooking up, sometimes under the worst of circumstances or they cheat on the people the should be with.

    Sorry for this long-ass comment/mini rant. I honestly like this show, but I do think that there are issues with it that no many, if any people are mentioning.

    • Hey there, thanks! We should compare the shows we watch sometime. It’ll be interesting to know what other shows we can talk about. 🙂

      I first watched the pilot when it aired on TV but I never kept up with the show until the first season was up on Netflix. Overall, I’m enjoying the show a lot. One thing that didn’t work well was the love triangle, it felt like unneeded drama but the show has steered clear of that in Season 2. The other thing is I’m not a fan of Finn’s arc in Season 2 and how others characters reacted to what he did, but I did like the mid-season finale that wrapped up that story.

      You’re always welcome to share your thoughts freely here, I think it’s really cool to hear what you really think of this show and gives me things to think about too.

  7. I’m a lot like everyone else. The first episode did nothing for me. By the time I finished the first season though, I was sooooo ready for more. This is a show that grows on the viewer as long as they can get through the pilot episode, accepting the show for what it is, eventually absorbing it’s awesomeness. Great post!

    • I’m glad I didn’t give up after the pilot, the first season turned out to be really well put together. That’s a good point about accepting the show for what it is and allowing everything to sink in. Hope viewers give the show a try. Welcome to the blog & thanks!

  8. I have been enjoying this show from the beginning 😀

  9. The 100 has fast become one of my most looked forward to shows every week. Really enjoying it, and I didn’t think I would at all considering my aversion to anything remotely resembling YA. 😀

    It surprised me though. And like everyone else it seems, it took me the first three or so episodes to really get drawn in. Great post, agree with everything.

    • Great to hear you’re enjoying the 100 as well. It’s a surprisingly good show. At first I was a little skeptical of the YA stuff but after a couple of episodes I was hooked. I’m glad I gave the show a chance to find it’s groove. Thanks a bunch, I hope this post helps spread the word on this show. 😀

      • I hope so too! I’ve been recommending it to everyone. So far only my brother has picked it up, but he’s really enjoying it too, so that’s a win. He’s always appreciative of shows that work with a fast pace and aren’t afraid to kill off characters.

        • Very cool that you got your brother to watch it. I’m loving the fast pace and a death of a character is actually what got me invested in the show. I like a show that isn’t afraid to get it’s hands bloody. 😀 The first season is on Netflix and other streaming services so that’ll hopefully help people discover the show.

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