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It lives up to the promise of its premise.
At some point, a show about singing cops seemed interesting enough to get the green light. One of the biggest problems a new show can face is living up to its truly unique setup.
What if The Breakfast Club had to rebuild civilization? What if The Lord of the Flies was co-ed? What if The Hunger Games didn't mandate murder, but didn't exactly frown on it, either? There are so many ways to pitch The 100, and none of them capture how nuanced the show really is.
Clarke is a totally flawed, badass hero.
I happen to think that Clarke (Eliza Taylor) is the most interesting teen protagonist on TV right now. She's taken care of her fellow criminal youths from the first time they set foot on Earth, without ever being power-hungry or unable to admit her mistakes.
After making a hard (and hard to watch) decision at the end of season 2, she's not the kind of infallible good guy you'd normally find in a teen drama. (I mean, Dawson wasn't always awesome, but he never committed mass murder.) Still, her desire to help those she loves and those considered "other" makes her an endlessly watchable character.
It champions bi representation (not erasure).
Though Clarke spends much of the first season in love with a guy, and many fans feel she'll eventually end up with the dreamily stubborn Bellamy (Bob Morley), last season's hottest romance was between Clarke and warrior queen Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey).
Their relationship is great purely for visibility (try to name five bisexual characters on TV who weren't played by Olivia Wilde). The romance is thrilling to watch because the two young women seem so evenly matched in strength, loyalty to their people, and desire for peace.
There's been a lot of criticism in the wake of the sad end of Clexa, with some fans accusing writers of queer-baiting (or hyping an LGBT relationship that was never going to be a big part of the show). But The 100 is a series in which loved ones are lost left and right, and even as Clarke moves closer to the inevitable lip-lock with Bellamy, the show hasn't tried to erase her past with Lexa.
It jumps around but maintains a balance.
Like any show with more main characters than your average third grade class, The 100 has to shift focus from group to group (or, in some cases, from planet to space-bound arc), without the audience becoming bored. By constantly introducing not just new characters, but new connections (The new tribe has a long-lost mom! The fresh love interest is linked to a season 1 mystery!), the series avoids major narrative slumps.
It's fun to watch the girls in charge.
Shows often create a "strong female protagonist" to be invincible, unemotional, and one-dimensional because she has to represent all the other conspicuously absent female characters. The 100, however, has women saving the day with their skills and intelligence, like Clarke's mother Abby (Paige Turco), with their nerve, like warrior Octavio (Marie Avgeropoulos), and with sheer determination, like mechanic Raven (Lindsey Morgan).