The Ballad of Roxors and Suxors: Part II

Remind me, WTF is The 100?

The 100 is a show on The CW or Netflix Canada, about a bunch of teenagers who live on a space station until the space station runs out of air, and they have to go live on a planet full of radiation, and mutant animals, and tribalistic … tribespeople. Their leader is a girl named Clarke who was kind of annoying at first, but is now so awesome and brave that everyone wants to make out with her, including other girls, and sometimes me.

In season two, Clarke and the Sky People form an alliance with the Tree People to kill the Mountain Men, and Clarke’s mom comes to the planet and gets tortured for trying to help her, and then for being related to her, and former Chancellor Jaha jumps out of the space station because an imaginary baby tells him to, and then he goes crazy, and leads people into the desert, and the most annoying character gets executed, and the Mountain Men drill into people’s bones just for the hell of it, and the story gets, like, even more grim and dark and bloody, if that’s possible.

Oh, and they go to the zoo and get chased by a monkey!

What’s wrong with you?

I don’t know!

There are serious problems with this show, but I love it. I wrote a more thoughtful and serious post for Bitch Flicks, about how this show’s good for women, and bi people – of which I am both – so that’s part of the reason I like it, but I also like it because it’s this weird, angry mash-up of Battlestar Galactica and Buffy and sometimes Xena, and when it’s on point, it’s on point. It can be so funny, and shocking, and sad.

It can also flip the other way and just be terrible. I spend equal amounts of time praising and bitching about it. It’s become my new dysfunctional viewing relationship – the highs are so high and lows are so low, but I can’t turn it off.

What was roxors

  • This show surprises me with how dark it can be. I’m not talking about the thing where the characters walk into a mine filed and someone blows up in the foreground (though that happened). I’m talking about the thing where the writers force the characters into situations where there are no good choices, and then don’t manufacture an easy way out. The season finale left me shocked. I believed, until the last moment, that they would find a way to back out of the grimdark thing that was going to happen. I’m not saying I love dark just for dark’s sake, but there’s an element of realism that dark TV shows have, where they acknowledge that sometimes life doesn’t deal you a hand you can win with. Sometimes you can have the best intentions, and a righteous, pure heart, and it’s still not possible to reach a good outcome.
  • This show is good for women and bi people. Like I said. I won’t repeat myself, but The 100 is very open-minded in its casting decisions and it depicts a world where women are present at all levels in society and participate in what’s happening. It also depicts a world where people can be bi without having an identity crisis, or having everyone judge them, or thinking that they must be gay or straight based on who they kissed last.
  • I really like the aesthetic. The 100 borrows a lot of its aesthetic from Battlestar Galactica, but that’s a fine thing to borrow, because Battlestar Galactica looked good. This show has the added element of making everyone look dirty all the time, and it works. Everything seems futuristic, but kind of beat up.
  • When it’s trying to be funny on purpose, it usually succeeds. This season, in fact, succeeded in that a lot better than last season, mostly because of the wonderfully cracktastic story line with Jaha in the desert. The show makes this really brilliant decision to have last season’s wacky loose cannon, Murphy, become the straight man and the voice of reason, and he walks through the craziest plot developments making sarcastic comments and looking like he can’t believe there’s someone more messed up than him. It’s gold.

What was suxors

  • The budget is bigger, but not big enough. Some of the special effects look hilariously cheap and unfinished, in a way that really pulls you out of the story. They could have chosen to work around their limitations and not film things that were such a stretch for them, resource-wise.
  • The characters are strangely bad at stuff. There’s one scene where a redshirt character is rappelling down a dangerous cliff face, and, like, four other characters stand by the cliff face watching him, and, like, waiting for him to be done, and they all think this is a dangerous idea and that the makeshift rope he’s using might not hold, but none of them tries to brace the rope, and they all just watch him fall to his death without trying to help him at all. There are other scenes where everyone just stands there and does nothing when they could have tried to help, but there are also scenes where characters are just really bad at things. Octavia tries to take someone hostage while she’s standing with her back to a line of archers. A big ball of fire tries to kill Bellamy but ends up lightly pushing him aside. Whether they’re people or fire, it hurts the characters’ credibility when they seem bad at stuff that we’re supposed to think they’re good at.
  • Octavia’s story’s still weird. Octavia, who was helpless and defined by her relationship to boys in season one, improved a lot in season two, but her story line seems out of step with the pace of the season. I don’t find it credible that she went through an entire journey of training to be a Xena and taking on and then losing an entire cultural identity in what seems like a matter of weeks. It seemed like everything she worked for came way too fast and easily, like she got invested in people and things way too fast, and like the show was trying too hard to make her interesting and capable. Whereas the other characters don’t have any super powers, making Octavia suddenly Queen of the Knives didn’t seem believable to me.
  • The time when they got chased by a monkey at the zoo. I still don’t know what that’s about.

Should I watch this show or not?

I guess so!

I mean, you should watch it, or you should not. Either answer seems to be valid. It would make me happy if you watched it, so maybe it wouldn’t get cancelled. But I’m also embarrassed to think you would watch it and think about me while you did so. Because, maybe it’s landmines, or maybe they’re getting chased through the zoo. It’s really a crapshoot each week.

(I think this is my favourite show that’s not about a game of thrones).

Image: The 100; The CW Network | March 20, 2015