What do you get when drop a hundred juvenile delinquents onto a post-apocalyptic Earth? Possibly a hit series. It's probably too soon to call The 100 a hit, but CW does have reason to celebrate. The series debuted as the network's most watched series premiere of the season.
CW also says The 100 is their most-watched show in its time period in 3 1/2 years and their most watched midseason premiere in four years (Life Unexpected in 2010). A whopping 2.7 million viewers tuned in to see the start of The 100 last night. While under three million might not seem like a massive viewership, it's actually quite high for a new show on CW. For reference, Reign premiered to an audience of 1.98 million people, coming in behind The Tomorrow People (2.3 million) and The Originals (2.21 million). However, both of those shows premiered in the Fall. CW's other new sci-fi dramaStar-Crossed kicked off last month to 1.28 million viewers. By comparison to its fellow midseason newcomer, The 100's debut is impressive.
The 100 had the benefit of a solid lead-in, as it debuted after a new episode of Arrow. CW notes that the DC superhero drama took in 2.4 million total viewers, up 7% from its last new episode, which was two weeks ago. With Arrow heating up as it heads toward its May finale, the series will hopefully continue to provide The 100 with a good lead-in, as the new drama takes a few episodes to warm up. But it's well worth sticking with, as it starts to get really good around the third or fourth episode.
Created by Jason Rothenberg, based on a book by Kass Morgan, The 100 is set a century after a nuclear war destroyed Earth and left it uninhabitable. The only human survivors were the people aboard a dozen space stations, all of which merged to form an Ark that has existed in space for nearly a hundred years. With resources depleting and their population swelling, the powers that be send a hundred of their delinquent youth down to Earth to see if the planet is fit to be populated. The story is split between the passengers aboard the ark -- mainly the people in charge of making all of the tough decisions related to humanity's survival -- and the kids on Earth, trying to survive, mostly cut off from the Ark and attempting to govern themselves. The premiere episode introduces the characters to a number of challenges, including some of the dangers that Earth has to offer its new residents.
As I addressed in my review, I don't think the first episode fully succeeds in teasing the true potential for this series, which is why I really hope people continue to tune in during the weeks that follow. The show has more to offer than teen drama and apocalyptic danger and we don't start to see the true potential for the drama emerge until a few episodes in. To put it vaguely, some big and crazy stuff happens, it's hard to predict how things will go from one conflict to the next, and most importantly, there's some great character development and story progression. I watched all six episodes that were sent to me for review and found myself going from moderately interested to completely engaged (and frustrated when I ran out of episodes). Stick with it.
Here's the preview for next Wednesday's episode, titled "Earth Skills."
And if you're an Arrow fan, check out the preview for "Birds of Prey" here. The 100 airs Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET after Arrow on CW.