Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The 100: TV Show vs. The Book


In the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth's toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland... before it's too late.

Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they've only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. But they're haunted by their past and uncertain about the future. To survive, they must learn to trust - and even love – again (as per Goodreads)

This was not a sci-fi book. Sure, they were on a spaceship. But being on a spaceship does not a sci-fi story make.

What was The 100 then? It was a cheesy, fucking romance. I understand why the producers of the TV show had to add characters and make up new storylines. There were no storylines in The 100. It was just a bunch of kids freaking out about the members of the opposite-sex. The entire book was condensed into the first episode of the show. Literally, the book ended with some kid being speared by a Grounder, as did the show’s pilot.

The 100 followed four characters: Wells (who’s an idiot), Clarke (not as stupid), Bellamy (I like TV Bellamy better) and Glass (which is her real name). Wells pissed me off the most. He was stupid enough to sacrifice the entire population of the Ark (is it even called the Ark in the books? Whatever) for his girlfriend who hated him. He damaged the fucking air system, which ya need in a spaceship, for Clarke.

Let that sink in for a moment.

There are over a thousand people on that spaceship, the only known surviving humans, and you just cut off their air supply for a girl? I don’t care if you love her. What are you thinking with? Actually, scratch that question. I know what you were thinking with… Wells spent the entire book playing god, making decisions for others and generally being a know-it-all jerk. I could rant about him for hours, but I won’t.

Clarke and Bellamy were tolerable. Both of them were justified in their thoughts and feelings. Glass, on the other hand, also did stupid things. Like turn in her boyfriend’s BFF for a “crime” her boyfriend (unknowingly) committed. I can understand her logic a little more than I can Wells’s, but, c’mon, Glass, he’s going to be pissed when Camilla tells him (because she’s never honest with her boyfriend, and someone else will tell him to create conflict). Then she’ll complain about Camilla ruining her life, when really she’s ruining her own life. That’s what annoying about Glass. She complains too much. If we’re supposed to pity her, at least make all the trouble she got into not her fault.

Speaking of the reason Glass got Confined, if she knew people got imprisoned for accidentally getting pregnant, why didn’t she use protection upon layer of protection? I’d require every type of known contraception before even going near a guy. On that line of thought, the Ark’s judicial system makes no sense. I understand executing criminals. They need the air. But Glass accidentally got knocked up. You’re going to execute her for an accident? Yes, yes, manslaughter is an accident, too, but Glass could’ve been a productive member of the Ark while wasting oxygen. Instead she sat in a cell and moped. She wasn’t a murderer or thief like some of the other 100. She could've contributed. I’m pretty sure the entire purpose of prison is to keep negative influences away from society.

The 100 could’ve been a decent book even with the characters it had. The problem is nothing happened. Like absolutely nothing. The camp site was burned down by Grounders and Octavia was kidnapped at the end. But the characters talked for the first 90% of the book (and there were so many flashbacks). If I was the author of The 100, I would’ve condensed everything that happened into the first third of “my novel”. So much nothing happened I can’t even comprehend it.


Ninety-seven years ago, nuclear Armageddon decimated planet Earth, destroying civilization. The only survivors were the 400 inhabitants of 12 international space stations that were in orbit at the time. Three generations have been born in space, the survivors now number 4,000, and resources are running out on their dying "Ark" - the 12 stations now linked together and repurposed to keep the survivors alive. Draconian measures including capital punishment and population control are the order of the day, as the leaders of the Ark take ruthless steps to ensure their future, including secretly exiling a group of 100 juvenile prisoners to the Earth's surface to test whether it's habitable. For the first time in nearly a century, humans have returned to planet Earth. Among the 100 exiles are Clarke, the bright teenage daughter of the Ark's chief medical officer; Wells, son of the Ark’s Chancellor; the daredevil Finn; and the brother/sister duo Bellamy and Octavia, whose illegal sibling status has always led them to flaunt the rules. Technologically blind to what’s happening on the planet below them, the Ark’s leaders - Clarke’s widowed mother, Abby; the Chancellor, Jaha; and his shadowy second in command, Kane - are faced with difficult decisions about life, death and the continued existence of the human race. For the 100 young people on Earth, however, the alien planet they’ve never known is a mysterious realm that can be magical one moment and lethal the next. With the survival of the human race entirely in their hands, THE 100 must find a way to transcend their differences, unite and forge a new path on a wildly changed Earth that’s primitive, intense and teeming with the unknown (as per the CW website)

The only similarities between the TV show and the book are some of the characters (Clarke, Bellamy, Wells and Octavia) and the overall concept. The end.

I’m perfectly fine with that.

I’m usually annoyed when CW/Alloy Entertainment changes the entire concept of a book adaption (cough, Vampire Diaries, cough) but inside feel shame for liking their version better. I have no such qualms about The 100. Or, well, few qualms. They adapted the ideas of the book into the first few episodes of the show. Since the rest of the series hasn’t been published yet, maybe the TV show is following the books.

They’re probably not.

The TV show makes changes for the better. It introduces the Grounders in the first episode, giving actual conflict to the show. The 100 not only have to survive nature, but those left behind, as well. It also focuses on the trouble with the Ark, which is running low on oxygen (but not because Wells is stupid). Sometimes I find the storyline on the Ark more interesting than the story of the kids on the ground. Focusing on the Ark also gives more age diversity to the cast. I was sad when The Secret Circle was canceled because the adults weren’t just props for the kids to act off of, but players in the events happening. The 100 does the same thing.

My only qualm with the book-to-TV adaption was that someone decided to take out some of the characters’ controversial backgrounds to make them more sympathetic. In the book, Octavia was arrested for being a drug addict. In the TV show, Octavia was arrested for being a second child. In the book, Clarke’s parents were executed for doing radiation experiments on children. In the TV show, Clarke’s father was executed for trying to inform the Ark inhabitants of the Ark’s limited oxygen supply. Similar changes were made to Wells and Bellamy’s background, too. I like the TV show the way it is, but I think I would’ve still liked it if the book backgrounds were intact.


The TV show wins, eyes closed and hands tied behind its back. It added depth and excitement to the plot and characters. I was always intrigued for next week’s episode. The book… not so much. Since nothing happened besides flashbacks, conversation and stupid mistakes, it really was a waste of time right up until the end. I’ll pick up the sequel, Day 21, only to find out if it gets more interesting. If it’s anything like its predecessor, I won’t read very far.

Has anyone else read the book and seen the TV show? What are your thoughts? Which do you like better?

Next week I’ll be reviewing… Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff