A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The 100 has a lot of graphic violence and death, often at the hands of a group of teens who hash out power through beatings, torture, and weapon use. Graphic images of characters impaled by spears, strung up in trees, and subjected to other abuse are common, as is the threat of capital punishment and selective murder by a powerful governing body. In other words, this drama -- based on a dystopian novel of the same name -- is heavy-handed and not for the faint of heart. That said, the violence isn't mindless, either, and is necessary to illustrate the show's messages about personal freedom and community rights, as well as the appropriate role of government influence in this particular society. Expect some strong language ("hell," "damn," and the like) and hints at romance, plus some partial nudity (a teen strips to her bra and panties to swim, for instance) in this thriller.
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What's the story?
In THE 100, 97 years after a nuclear apocalypse wiped out life on Earth, leaving only the 400 people aboard a scattering of space stations alive, humans are returning to the planet for the first time. The emissaries are 100 juvenile prisoners who have spent their whole lives aboard the Ark, a colossal spacecraft formed by joining the 12 international space stations, which has served as the home for three generations of survivors and their offspring. Not yet 18 and thus not subject to the Ark's stringent capital-punishment law, the 100 juvies are sent to Earth as test subjects to gauge the safety of its elements for the entire population's eventual return. But once there, chaos ensues as various factions vie for dominance and many cut off communication with the Ark entirely. Standing strong is Clark Griffin (Eliza Taylor), a natural leader determined to survive and to reunite with her mom once the planet is deemed safe. But with time running out for the residents of the dying Ark and dangers lurking around every corner on Earth, is survival possible for any of them?
Is it any good?
Based on a book of the same name, this series is a tantalizing dystopian drama laced with suspense, teen romance, and plenty of bad guys you'll love to hate. Equally visible are some quality role models, particularly pragmatic Clark, whose only offense is spreading the truth about the Ark's dwindling supplies; and her fearless mom, Abby (Paige Turco), who sticks to her own ethical code in spite of outside pressure.
This action-packed show is heated and violent, yes, but it's not without good reason, given the urgency of the story line. Unquestioned capital punishment and the totalitarian power of the Ark's governing body would hardly be viable plot points for viewers if the story didn't present them in the right context of an oppressive, Draconian society. But even with such justification, the violence in The 100 is very graphic and often erupts between teens, so take care in sussing out your teen's readiness for this weighty story and its messages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about government's role in people's lives. How are the challenges of keeping order different in this society from what it is in ours? Are the government's rules in The 100 appropriate for keeping people safe? In general, are ours?
The teens on Earth face the possibility of life without rules. What rules do your teens take issue with? From your perspective, what purpose do the rules serve in keeping them safe?
Is some violent content better than other kinds in entertainment? Does it ever serve a valuable purpose? If so, what? In what other forms of media do you often witness violence?
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