Cast: Newcomer Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco (“Person of Interest,” “Damages”), Isaiah Washington (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Kelly Hu (“X2,” “Arrow”) and Henry Ian Cusick (“Lost,” “Scandal”)
Air-date, time: The pilot episode airs at 8 p.m. Wednesday on The CW
The premise: Ninety-seven years ago a nuclear war decimated the Earth, destroying all civilization. The only survivors were the 400 inhabitants of 12 international space stations that were in orbit at the time. The 12 space stations came together to form, the Ark. In the next century three generations were born in space, the survivors now number 4,000 and resources are running out. Some of the young people on the Ark have been labeled criminals under strict rules that punish for minor infractions. These juveniles who tested authority are now being sent to Earth, testing it to see if it’s inhabitable. Among the 100 young exiles is Clarke (Taylor), the smart teenage daughter of the Ark’s chief medical officer Abby (Turco). Abby tries to guide the Ark’s leader (Washington) and his shadowy second in command (Cusick) in space when her daughter is sent to Earth.
Highs: “The 100” goes back and forth between two diverse settings. There is the Ark, the aging space station where the “adults” on the show have to deal with dwindling resources and aging technology. Then there are the exiles, a group of young, carefree early twenty-somethings deserted in a rain forest.
At first glance these two environments would seem to have nothing in common and, at times, “The 100,” almost feels like it could be split into two separate shows. But the two settings have commonalities that make for riveting TV. People in both locations face constant danger and have to fight to survive. The Ark is only months away from failing and there are machinations galore between political rivals doing what they think is necessary to survive. Down on Earth, the exiles break into factions of their own and have to deal with the threat of an unseen enemy that keeps them from supplies they need to live. A lack of communication between the two groups only ads to the tension.
Throw in complex characters with intricate backstories and the audience is given a darker and more dangerous show than what The CW typically airs. When it’s at its best, which is a vast majority of the time, “The 100” is a clever mix of “Lord of the Flies,” “Battlestar Galactica” and “Lost” that viewers will find immersive.
Lows: There were times during the four episodes I watched when popular music played in the background to set a lighter mood. Most of the time it felt out of place and didn’t fit the tone of the show but this was only a minor distraction.
Grade: (A+): The pilot for “The 100” was so engrossing that I gobbled up the remaining three episodes I had access to and still wanted more. With “Arrow” and now “The 100” The CW has Wednesday night TV on lockdown.