Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A setting built to change

The 100 is back on TV. YA books turned into YA TV almost as soon as possible, post The Hunger Games dystopian future grit, it is also an interesting example of a series with a premise designed to be unstable, to reveal more and change as it goes on.

Set a few centuries in the future, humanity abandoned the dangerously radioactive Earth to live in a space station called the Ark, but supplies are running low and a policy of birth restrictions has not really worked, so a hundred troublesome young adults are shoved into a shuttle and dropped to Earth to see if they can survive. Which they largely can, apart from internal fighting, the odd mutant animal, strange weather, and...

The Grounders, grungy Mad Max style survivors. Who are not so different from us once we get to know them. For good or ill.

Or as season two starts, a Fallout style bunker-dwelling society which our hero Clarke immediately concludes is too good to be true and we just have to wait to see how right she is.

As well as Panem there’s a fair bit of Lost to it, with a dwindling number of survivors in the woods getting ragged and sweaty and bloody and dealing with strange phenomena and sinister locals and secret bunkers, The Weird Level is a lot lower, though, and hopefully won’t spiral out of control.

Season two also brings a load of the grownups and others from the Ark down to Earth, so if and when Clarke leads her charges out of the bunker she’ll find she’s not in charge anymore and the people she rebelled against (that led to her being on that shuttle in the first place, and include her mother) are.

So that’s major change on two fronts - the distant cut-off authority of the Ark is now on the ground as well, and there’s a major new player on the board. Character conflicts only seen in flashbacks and the occasional radio burst will now be front and centre, and a conflict between two groups might move to three or four or more.

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