The apocalypse is a hot topic these days.
"The Walking Dead" proved that big ratings can come from horrific end-of-the-world-style chaos. Now HBO is jumping into the fray with a new Rapture-based show called "The Leftovers," and the CW is banking on a new series called "The 100."
"The 100" takes place nearly a century after a nuclear war destroyed planet Earth. The only survivors were 400 inhabitants of 12 international space stations. The series, which is based on the book of the same name by Kass Morgan, picks up when the mothership is in desperate trouble.
In an attempt to save the human race, 100 juvenile prisoners are exiled to Earth to discover whether the atmosphere is once again suitable for human life.
There are certain "Lord of the Flies"-inspired results, said creator Jason Rothenberg on Wednesday during the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena. But the surprising thing, and the most satisfying thing about the show, he said, is that the kids don't just do what you might expect.
"It's about what kind of society these people are going to build," he said. "Are they going to let themselves be governed by their base instincts? That's the fallback position, but what's interesting about this is that when given a chance, they rise above it."
The story ping pongs between the drama between the kids on Earth and the dire situation with the adults in space. Rothenberg said that he doesn't feel the two story lines exist separately from one another, despite their substantial geographical distance.
"I wanted to play in both sandboxes," he said. "It’s a deliberate juxtaposition -- they really play to one another because they're emotionally connected. The families of the kids are up there in a dying ship, and the kids ore on a dangerous Earth. The hallmark of the show is jumping back and forth."
That, and, of course, what the premise reveals about our basic nature.
"How are they going to assure that life goes on?" asks Rothenberg. "This isn’t about kids or teenagers, this is about humanity."
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