I’m all for intelligent, worthy television like Orange is the New Black and Breaking Bad….no. No, I just read what I wrote, and it’s not true at all. I want to be all for shows like this, and I genuinely enjoy reading critical analysis and watching parodies and enjoying the successful careers of the actors thereof, but I don’t like them at all.
The thing is, for a white middle-class woman, my life is stressful enough. I work long hours, I deal with my own problems, and try to help with those of others. And when I come home and take off my bra, I don’t want to watch something that makes me feel worse about myself and the state of the world. While I have thoroughly documented my appreciation for the emotional triggers of Mourn Porn, I am not particularly interested in absorbed fictionalized rape after abortion after redundancy after illness after murder after death.
I’m for gentle books and soothing storylines. I’m for unbelievable characters who find untenable ways out of unconvincing situations. I’m also for sci-fi, fantasy and dystopia – magical spells and nuclear explosions and two-faced animals that remind me not at all of the world I live and its infinite potential for pain and disappointment.
With that in mind, I’ve found my – and maybe your – new favourite show.
It’s called The 100, pronounced The Hundred because some pedantic writer wanted to get his jollies somehow, and nothing about it will call to mind your own sordid existence in an expensive and rodent-infested flat in the most expensive suburb of the most expensive city in the world.
Set in the future (aren’t they all?), The 100 deals with humankind’s existence after nuclear explosions forced them to flee the planet 97 years ago, probably because the number 100 was already taken by the title. Existing in orbit in a space station called The Ark, the Powers That Be (namely, Preston Burke from Grey’s Anatomy, which may be a disproportionately large part of the reason I like this show) have discovered that they are running out of oxygen. I don’t know how much you know about biology, but this is A Bad Thing. In an effort to solve things, they send 100 delinquent teenagers back to the surface of the earth to figure out whether the planet is viable again. Because in all fantasies set in the future, masses of delinquent teenagers are well known for their ability to solve the world’s problems. See The Hunger Games and Divergent.
It’s got all your classic elements for escapist TV. Weird surrounds. Imminent danger. Made up technical jargon. Sexy bodies and pretty faces. A deer with two heads. Rebellion, intrigue, murder and at least one actress recycled from Neighbours.
It’s predictable stuff, except when it’s not, and that happens to be a genre I specialize in. The acting isn’t perfect, but the effects are pretty fun, and I suspect we’ll see at least a few of the young faces present smeared across Hollywood’s greasy face in the next few years.
Why should you watch it? It’s dumb but not too dumb; fun without being overwrought. It’ll make you jump and I’m anticipating some kinky irradiated sex to occur in the next episode or two. Plus it airs on E4 on Mondays at 9pm, which is pretty much exactly the time you need to sit down in front of the television with something that looks healthy but isn’t, and try to forget about the fact that it’s another 4 days to the weekend.
What I’m saying is, by all means watch the good stuff, the virtuous healthy drama that’ll do something positive to your brain. Treat this as dessert television, and treat yourself. Tastes as good – and as bad – as it looks.
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