The 100 to Premier on The CWCategory: Television
At the recent Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, Jason Rothenberg, Executive Producer of the new series The 100, discussed the show and his vision. “I was actually looking to do a Lord of the Flies‑like story at the time that this studio sent The 100 my way, and it sort of touched all those creative erogenous zones. I love Lord of the Flies. It was one of those books that I could blame for the fact I’m a writer.”
The 100 takes place in the future decades after a nuclear apocalypse rendered Earth uninhabitable, forcing humans to retreat to a world on a ship in space. That ship called the Ark, is dying now, however it had sustained who generations have grown up without ever touching solid ground, seeing the sky or trees, or anything associated with the planet. The laws aboard the ship are strict and anyone who breaks them is put in prison. The series begins with a group of 100 kids who have been in prison and are now sent to Earth to see if it is capable to of being inhabited again. While some of the show focuses on the adults on the ship, the story will generate interest among teen viewers because of the story that unfolds on the planet.
“For the first run of episodes,” Rothenberg explained, “it’s about, on the ground anyway, what the kids are doing to each other. Some want to hold on to rules and order and society and discipline. Others are going to go wild. They’re going to go native.” Rothenberg stated, “It’s very much by design, the Lord of the Flies.”
Like his favorite shows, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, Jason Rothenberg designed this show with plenty of drama so, as he said with enthusiasm, “You don’t know what’s gonna happen.”
He continued, “The families of the kids are up there on a dying ship, and the kids are down on this potentially toxic, dangerous Earth.” He admitted, “In fact, I think it’s the hallmark, certainly of Season 1, is that jumping back and forth. And we do it in every episode except for maybe one.”
Because the show is set in the future after a worldwide nuclear war, Earth is not the same as it had been before the holocaust. Animals don’t look the same, things have changed, [and] radiation has taken a toll on the planet. “A lot of the fun is in the world‑building and the creation of it. We’re trying to ground it in real science as much as possible. Obviously there’s some fiction in our science fiction. But really, we made a decision early on that it was going to be about what the people do to each other more so than what the world does to the people, and I think what the world does to the people implies effects and all that. There will be effects.”
So, even though there are strange and unusual creatures inhabiting the planet, Rothenberg stressed the show is more about what the people do to each other rather. What kind of society will they build? Are the kids going to be disciplined or go wild? While those on the ship are going through their own transitions, the teens on the planet also have to figure out their future. “If they can’t work out their internal crap, if they don’t stop killing each other, then this external threat that’s out there is going to wipe them out. And so it really becomes an existential threat to them. And, on the Ark their parents, the survivors that are up there, for them it’s life and death from the jump. And really there’s a very similar dynamic at play up there [on the ship].”
The adults on the Ark are trying to survive on a dying ship that cannot sustain the entire population for much longer. Will they thin the herd? The teens on the planet are trying to survive in the new world and the new world order they must create. “How dark are they going to go? How many people will they sacrifice in order to ensure that the human race goes on? And so these things, to me ‑‑ it’s not about kids. It’s not about teenagers. It’s about people.”
The 100 premiers March 19, 2014 on The CW.
About the Author
Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment business for 20 years. She also writes about technology and has been a travel writer for the past 12 years. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books.
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