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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

'The 100' S1 DVD: Millennial Gen Answer to 'Lost'

The below analysis of the Warner Prime DVD release of the 2014 S1 of the CW drama "The 100" is part of a effort to watch and review DVD and BD sets of S1 - S3 ahead of the Warner Archive July 18, 2017  S4 BD release. The related awesome news regarding this is that this previously overlooked action-adventure show with a touch of scifi is well-worth watching and that these home-video releases provide a good chance to literally get with the program at your own pace. 

The following YouTube clip of the SPOILER-LADEN S1 trailer provides a strong primer for the series in a manner that excellently illustrates the production values.

The opening scenes of the pilot having guards grab young offender (we soon learn what's her offense) Clarke Griffin from her cell on The Ark favors action over exposition. We do soon learn that that large space station has been orbiting earth in the 97 years after what is believed to be complete nuclear annihilation on that planet. A confused and frightened Clarke soon learns that she and the rest of the titular bad seeds are essentially being shoved in a tin can and shot back to the big blue marble. This is the canary in a coalmine stage of a plan to return the rest of the Ark types to earth. The urgency behind this relates to a fairly imminent catastrophic system failure that is well beyond the Houston we have a problem stage.

Everything from the in-flight incident that results in a crash landing in a strange and hostile environment to the initial struggle to survive and the rapid creation and regular shifting of alliances screams for a comparison with cult classic series "Lost." "100" even has a loving brother looking out for a slutty sister in a creepy manner, hidden underground facilities, deformed animals, a population of "others," and numerous other similarities.

The "meanwhile back on the ranch" plots that revolve around endangered life on The Ark enhance the "Lost" vibe by having Henry Ian Cusick of that series playing second-in-command Marcus Kane; other cool casting has Paige Turco of the original "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movies play physician/government leader/ Clarke mom Dr. Abigail Griffin. Isiah Washington (who still deserves scorn for his anti-gay hatred while on "Grey's Anatomy") plays Ark leader Thelonious Jaha, who is not paid to make to the tough literally life-and-death decisions.

The "Lost" homage continues with regular flashbacks that reveal the backstories of our teen models and their 'rents in a manner that contributes to the lore of the series. A primary theme is that a generally desperate situation and severely limited resources call for final frontier justice and other desperate measures that are easy to judge from the literal comfort of our living rooms (or wherever else we watch our screens). 

The hunky troubled boys are bad boy Bellamy, who literally is ready to kill for inclusion on this incredible journey, and more sensitive Finn. The only thing that would make this aspect of the show better is if Bellamy extended his Sawyeresque bestowing of nicknames beyond calling Clarke princess.

Goofy BFFs stoner Monty and geeky but brave Jasper are the Bill and Ted of this excellent adventure.

The obvious "Lord of the Flies" elements include the warfare both among the group and the "grounders," who are the warrior descendants of people with apparently very high tolerance for radiation. These opposing forces provide the background for a Jack and Juliet (similar to Romeo and Juliet) romance. 

The climax additionally has "Lost" all over it as the space kidettes brace for a grounder attack and their elders take drastic action to better their personal odds of survival.

The abundance of relatable characters and settings makes it very cool that we get two series worth of show in one program; either life on the "Ark" or the effort to establish Teentopia on terra firma independently provide a strong premise.

Prime does "100" justice in the form of the typically strong DVD bonus features on home-video releases of CW shows. The anticipated 2103 Comic-Con panel and extensive "making-of" documentary are there. You also get unaired scenes.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "100" is strongly encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.