I do not usually write pop culture reviews, but the post-apocalyptic sci-fi series The 100 is so well written, and so full of intriguing plot-twists and solid characters, that it deserves its own place in my blog.
The story starts as a teenage drama, with 100 youth from a space station’s juvenile detention ward in orbit around a supposedly uninhabitable Earth, are let loose on Earth to see whether it can be inhabited again. The society that the youth create is reminiscent of Lord of the Flies. But when they discover that they’re not alone, that there are grounders who live on Earth in a primitive state, the series turns into a sci-fi version of Game of Thrones. And the kids grow up quickly! Now entering into its fourth season, it no longer feels like a teenage series.
One of the reasons why The 100 works is because it does not attempt to give easy answers to questions of morality and philosophy. It depicts the very difficult choices that leaders have to sometimes make, how they sometimes make mistakes (or not) and then later have to live with regret for the rest of their lives. Many of the moral questions hinge on what we believe about human nature: are we good-nature or evil by nature? What can we expect of others in various circumstances?
I grant that the second and third seasons were far stronger than the first, but that just means that if you stick through the series, the rewards will pile up. Recent episodes have turned more Nietzschean, with the build-up of hostilities between natural humans who know that to live is to struggle and to suffer and to experience the full range of human emotion, versus an unnatural cult of borgs who have assimilated into the collective mind of an artificial intelligence in order to avoid suffering and erase difficult memories. Why are so many willing to erase their human nature, their memories, and their emotions, in order to experience steadier highs? There’s simply no easy answer to that, or perhaps there are many answers explored in the plot.
I won’t give more details away. I was initially biased against what seemed like low-budged sci-fi, but now I must insist: if you enjoy good post-apocalyptic science fiction, watch The 100!