If you notice some similarities between the classic novel Lord of the Flies and The CW’s futuristic new drama The 100, that’s no accident.
Like William Golding’s chilling masterpiece, the sci-fi series follows a group of young people left alone in a dangerous wilderness, and observes the deadly developments that take place as they struggle to not only survive the elements but each other. In The 100 (pronounced “The Hundred” if you want to sound cool about it) Earth has been left uninhabitable by nuclear war, with the remnants of humanity waiting out the century or so needed for the radiation to subside in orbiting space stations. But now the time has come to send 100 youths — juvenile delinquents — down to test out the planet to see if a new society can be built.
“It’s deliberate. We are telling that story,” executive producer Jason Rothenberg says of the Lord of the Flies elements. The 100 is technically based on a book series by Kass Morgan, but the first installment was not completed before the TV series went into production. “It’s about 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.”
Marie Avgeropoulos plays one of those on the wild side. Her character, Octavia, is unique in that she has a sibling, Bellamy (Bob Morley). Having more than one child is banned in this new world, and Octavia has been in hiding her entire life. Therefore, the chance at unadulterated — so to speak — freedom is thrilling despite the inherent danger.
“There is nothing light about this show,” says the Canadian native, who added that having grown up camping and fishing on the shores of Lake Superior helped her prepare for the rough-and-tumble shoot on The 100. “It’s not like a regular pretty-teen series where you’re always talking about, ‘Oh, you slept with this guy!’ We’re dealing with very serious issues here. We’re trying to survive, there’s people dying everywhere. You never know what’s going to happen.”
To that end, a major character is killed off in an early episode, just to drive home the point that no one is safe.
The series isn’t limited to action on the ground, as the adults back up in space also go through their own dramas. That cast includes the likes of Isaiah Washington (Grey’s Anatomy), Henry Ian Cusick (Lost) and Paige Turco. Like the teens, they also have their own views about how to best save humanity, and the conflicts between them can be just as deadly and dramatic.
“I was invigorated by the humanity throughout the piece,” Washington said. “My imagination ran amok for me of the possibilities of what this artist could provide about where we are. … It reminded me of what was able to be achieved in Star Trek. … With this story, we can speak on things we’re probably too sensitive to speak on today, but we can do as artists on this show.”
The 100 premieres Wednesday, March 19, on The CW.
Photo: © 2013 The CW Network. Credit: Brendan Meadows