Battlestar Galactica, Lord of the Flies, Lost. Those are the shows that producer Jason Rothenberg used to compare the upcoming CW show The 100, a midseason science-fiction drama about a post-apocalyptic Earth and the teens sent to make it inhabitable. And let me tell you, I’ve seen the pilot and Rothenberg isn’t that far off. I cordoned off the cast and the producers for about an hour during Comic-Con, and everyone seemed to agree that this wasn’t a typical CW show.
For the uninformed, The 100 is set many moons in the future after nuclear war has totally turned Earth into a stinkhole. To survive, the human race builds The Ark, an orbiting space station that houses the remaining 4,000 or so human beings left in the race. And they’ve been there a long time; when the show starts, upwards of four generations have spent their entire lives on the space condo. To figure out if mankind can move back to the planet, the Draconian authorities send one hundred juvenile delinquents to test its habitability. Yeah, it’s not the best idea. But it makes for good television, right?
“We’re trying to do really something hard sci-fi at The CW, which is amazing because they’re totally supportive,” added executive producer Matt Miller. “They’re encouraging us to be as dark as we want to be, which, trust me, is going to be the case.” And that’s evident in a particularly shocking moment towards the end of the pilot. Let’s just say no one is safe and the story wants to make it as hard as it can on these kids.
Rothernberg and Miller promise that as the kids on the ground face threats and try to survive mutant beasts, the pretty teen sheen won’t be as prevalent as other CW shows, either. But let’s face the facts, it will still be sexy. Just a dirty kinda sexy. “I was always talk about Romancing the Stone,” Rothenberg says. “Remember Kathleen Turner in that movie? The worse she got down there, the better she looked. We’re going to be noticing similar things. It is The CW.”
Henry Ian Cusick, who you should know as Desmond from Lost and if you don’t then GET OUT, plays one of the adults on The Ark jockeying for power. As a self-professed sci-fi fan, he’s excited about the moral quandaries that all good sci-fi produces. The 100 covers everything from global warning to proper daycare. “It certainly touches on questions that makes me think about what’s going to happen in the future. What will happen in another 100 years? What will we have? It makes me think about it.”
Star Eliza Taylor, whose Trekkie mom is stoked that she’s on a sci-fi show, plays Clarke, the de facto leader of the group on the ground tasked with checking out the real estate. And as one of the teens, I asked her how being cooped up on a floating space station with limited resources your entire life affects behavior. “There’s so much control [on The Ark]. From how much water they can drink to how they have to behave. The way [the teens] grow up, there’s no school. They just follow in their parents’ footsteps. It’s more apprentice based. And then they just let them go into the wild, it just creates insanity.”
But my favorite quote came from Isaiah Washington, the former Grey’s Anatomy star who plays The Ark‘s stern chancellor. “It’s not Dawson’s Creek!” he said, emphatically. Indeed, Pacey would get eaten alive.
It’s The CW’s turn in the pickup spotlight.
The network has handed series orders to the dramas Star-Crossed (formerly Oxygen), Tomorrow People, Reign, and The 100, TVLine has confirmed.
They join the previously ordered Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals.
Among the noteworthy pilots not getting the go-ahead from The CW was a second stab at adapting The Selection for TV. (The CW’s complete development slate can be found here.)
Here’s the logline/casting/pedigree info for each of the new series:
The 100 (Drama)
EPs | Jason Rothenberg, Leslie Morgenstein, Gina Girolamo, Matt Miller (Chuck)
DIRECTOR | Bharat Nalluri (Emily Owens, M.D.)
CAST | Eliza Taylor (Neighbours), Bob Morley (Home and Away), Eli Goree (Emily Owens, M.D.), Henry Ian Cusick (Lost), Marie Avgeropoulos (Cult), Paige Turco (Person of Interest), Isaiah Washington (Grey’s Anatomy), Kelly Hu (Arrow), Thomas McDonell (Suburgatory), Christopher Larkin
Based on upcoming Alloy books written by Kass Morgan, the project is set 97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization. A spaceship housing the lone human survivors sends 100 juvenile delinquents back to Earth to investigate the possibility of re-colonizing the planet.
Tomorrow People (Drama)
EPs | Phil Klemmer (Chuck), Greg Berlanti (Arrow), Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries), Danny Cannon (Nikita)
DIRECTOR | Danny Cannon (Nikita)
CAST | Peyton List (Mad Men), Luke Mitchell (Home and Away), Robbie Amell (Revenge), Mark Pellegrino (Lost), Madeleine Mantock
Adapted from the 1970s UK series, it follows several young people from around the world who represent the next stage in human evolution, all possessing special powers including the ability to teleport and communicate with each other telepathically. Together they work to defeat the forces of evil.
EPs | Laurie McCarthy (CSI: Miami), Stephanie Sengupta (Outlaw)
DIRECTOR | Brad Silberling (NYPD Blue)
CAST | Adelaide Kane (Neighbours), Toby Regbo, Celina Sinden, Jenessa Grant, Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables), Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia), Rossif Sutherland
The previously unknown and untold story of Mary Queen of Scots rise to power when she arrives in France as a 15-year-old, betrothed to Prince Francis, and with her three best friends as ladies-in-waiting. The secret history of survival at French Court amidst fierce foes, dark forces, and a world of sexual intrigue.
EPs | Meredith Averill (The Good Wife), Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Scott Rosenberg, Richard Shepard, Bryan Furst, Sean Furst, Daniel Gutman
DIRECTOR | Gary Fleder (Beauty and the Beast)
CAST | Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights), Matt Lanter (90210), Malese Jow (The Vampire Diaries), Titus Makin Jr. (Glee), Grey Damon (The Secret Circle), Natalie Hall (Pretty Little Liars), Chelsea Gilligan, Greg Finley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), guest star/recurring Maggie Elizabeth Jones (Ben and Kate)
Passion and politics threaten the peace and an epic romance ignites between a human girl and an alien boy when he and eight others of his kind (The Orion 9) are integrated into a suburban high school ten years after they and hundreds of others landed on Earth and were immediately consigned to an internment camp where they’ve been imprisoned ever since.