When the world is destroyed by a nuclear war and deemed inhabitable, the remainder of humanity flee to the skies in order to try and survive. Living on a ship known as the “Arc”, they must ration everything in their lives to be able to make it – including how many children they are allowed to have. But when it becomes clear that survival is still under threat, the time for precaution is over and drastic measures must be taken.
100 prisoners – all young adults – are sent back down to the ground. After surviving the initial odds stacked against them to even land safely, the ultimate test begins. Is the ground survivable? Although the air doesn’t poison them the second they step out of the ship, it was never anticipated that life would be easy down on the ground.
Clarke finds herself as a leader of the people, taking control after her mother had sat on the council back at the arc. Someone has to make the decisions that will affect how they are going to live, and she takes it upon herself to do so, knowing she will be the one suffering the consequences. Her leadership is supported by some – the charismatic Finn – a daredevil who has no regard for the rules soon finds himself falling for the headstrong Clarke. But he has a past – one that is determined to follow him to the ground no matter what it takes.
But there is opposition also. Bellamy was wanted for the attempted murder of the chancellor when he entered the prison ship heading to earth, wanting only to protective the little sister he shouldn’t have had. His approach to leadership is far more violent, and the people are torn between listening to him and listening to Clarke. It seems impossible the pair of them can work together, especially when Bellamy’s sister becomes involved with the “enemy” – a grounder. The grounders in general are no friends to the survivors, wanting to only wipe them out.
A short review is by no means enough to cover the numerous different characters found within the show. Yet the character arcs of all of them are phenomenal; there is not one person you don’t see develop into something quite different across the span of the show. That includes the adults left on the arc fighting for survival. Clarke learns to soften and even love, Finn understands there comes a time he must take responsibility for his actions and Bellamy discovers the leader he thought he could be is harder in practice. Even characters there is no sympathy for at the beginning find a way to redeem themselves.
The science-fiction/dystopian element of the show is handled really effectively. Cliff-hangers are scattered throughout leaving you desperate for the next episode. In fact, they even leave the finale on a cliff-hanger, making me impatient for the next series. If you like science-fiction and a general fight for survival against all the odds, then this is definitely a must watch.