A few days ago I emerged myself in one of those guilty pleasures that I rather not tell people yet feel way too old to be ashamed of.
During 8 and 2/3 hours, 520 minutes, 31200 seconds – without any breaks I gorged on one of those relatively badly produced tv-shows primarily designed for young adults. I watched all the 13 episodes in one go and I am pretty sure that if it had been a 24 episode long series, I would have continued longer into the night.
Was it worth it? Obviously so. Was it that good? Definitely not.
The show in question this time was the sci-fi/drama/something-something show “The 100” (SPOILER ALERT). The theme of the show is that a nuclear war happened 90 years ago and the human race is left to the roughly two thousand survivors on a space station. The 100 refers to the 100 teenagers that are being shipped down to earth as guinea pigs to see if the earth is once again livable. A bunch filled with a clever blond, a hot and stupid brunette, law obedient black guy, a sexy I-have-too-much-hair guy, the brainy Asian, the nerdy “junky”-kid, naturally a violent psycho-kid and what would a group be without the rebel – this one with serious sister issues.
Regardless of the crazy mixes that happens between these stereotypes the plot develops in a rather predictable manner. While the idea of an uninhabited earth with a bunch of space kids exploring seems like a good idea (I was pretty excited about how they would show the nuked earth in a “new” light) it really is not the reason anyone watches it. Nuclear damage is very sparse on earth – much more would have been reasonable to assume as the belief from the space station is that all humans has died on earth – and a few too many logical flaws in the presented earth makes the whole original plot a bit implausible.
Instead the first episode introduces the “true” plot immediately. It is a love story – of course it is a love story, has any show ever been about anything else? Naturally viewers love to gorge in the blended joy and misery of other people’s intense love troubles, it engages you just the right amount, allows for dreams and fantasies to start and at the same time keeps you on a safe distant from any real emotion and hurt.
So in episode one good girl “blondie” meets bad boy “longhair”. Bad boy longhair turns immediately out to actually not be such a bad boy but a truly dependable and stable guy (where did that come from?). Sexual tension, emotional bonding and all that nonsense that keeps us watching builds up between blondie and longhair until when they frustrated, angry and emotionally drained give in to passion in their secret love nest “the art store”. A 30 second (or so) long scene perfectly directed with music, candle light and that close up filming technique that makes it almost possible for the viewers to feel the actors’ body heat, increase the blood flow of the viewer to give them the impression that they too are a part of this love story. Simultaneously disaster is entering the atmosphere. Longhair’s gadget genius of a girlfriend (previously still trapped on the space station) enters the earths’s atmosphere in her self-constructed aircraft (because she is that awesome) and as the logical flaws of the original plot keeps on failing there is suddenly a new reason to keep watching.