One of the Most Divisive Shows of 2010s Getting New Hype on Netflix
Despite the mid-'10s scandal, the show regained interest in 2024.
- The 100 is one of the sharpest sci-fi shows on television.
- However, its use of the homophobic 'Bury your Gays' trope in Season 3 led to quite an uproar from its queer audience.
- At the same time, in 2024, The 100 gained a new wave of popularity among Netflix subscribers.
In recent years, pop culture has become more mindful of representing characters who transcend conformity. We're more likely to see people of color in leading roles, more likely to see characters overcome heteronormativity, more likely to see marginalized people identify with characters in shows and movies. But despite the increased representation, pop culture is still afraid to give some of these characters happy endings.
Alas, it's more common for a queer character to end up tragically on screen than to live to see the finale. And while some viewers won't make a big deal out of it and will continue to root for other, more conforming characters, LGBTQ+ viewers will lose motivation to watch the show at all, when it could have done an incredible job of providing role models and relatable storylines.
One such scandal occurred in 2016 with The 100, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi show that originally aired on The CW. The completely unjustified and unnecessary death of one of its fan-favorite queer characters caused no small amount of uproar, and even led to some viewers dropping the show altogether. Nonetheless, the show ran for four more seasons and was recently rediscovered by Netflix subscribers, who gave The 100 extremely positive reviews. Well, as painful as the writers' decision was in 2016, it didn't undo the quality of the story as a whole.
What Is This Sci-Fi Show About?
The 100 was created for The CW by Jason Rothenberg, based on the young adult novel series of the same name by Kass Morgan. It's hard to pigeonhole the series, which ran from 2014 to 2020, into any one genre: there's high sci-fi like Neill Blomkamp's Elysium and Christopher Nollan's Interstellar, there's a creepy post-apocalyptic world where Mad Max-style clans hunt each other, and the main characters face murderous challenges in the vein of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner.
In the story, a century after a devastating nuclear war, the remnants of humanity live on an orbiting Earth station called The Ark. However, the station has become obsolete, so humans need to send down to Earth those who can verify whether or not the planet is inhabited. The lot has fallen on a hundred or so delinquents, whom the inhabitants of The Ark are cynically willing to use as expendable material.
Over the course of seven seasons, the surviving members of the Hundred must survive in harsh post-apocalyptic conditions, learn the secrets of pre-war civilization, get to know the local tribes, and strive to give humanity a second chance.
Despite the 'Bury Your Gays' Trope, the Show Has Regained Popularity
Unfortunately, one moment in the show can be so triggering for some viewers that we just can't not warn you, even if we have to touch on mild spoilers. In Season 3, viewers were confronted with the incredibly unfair death of one of the nearly best queer characters per se, Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey), a commander of the allied clans on Earth, as well as the romantic interest of the main character, Clarke (Eliza Taylor). Despite the character's importance, her death was, plot-wise, a ridiculous result of an accident that devalued Lexa's entire emotional and narrative contribution, and the death itself elicited as much anguish from viewers as Tara's death in Buffy the Vampire Slayer did at the time.
And yet, if you look past that plot point, the show remains one of the best representations of science fiction on television. What's more, The 100 is now enjoying a resurgence in popularity, with Netflix subscribers unanimously praising the show's plot, binge-watchability, and deep, mind-bending finale that touch on philosophical and religious motifs.