Asians on TV 唐人做電視

The 100 and I’m so off the CW

NPY introduced me to The 100 on our six-hour flight to Maui earlier this year. Somehow, I hadn’t heard of it at all or its bland name hadn’t registered. A few years ago, this type of dystopia setting would capture my interest and it is one of the reasons why I sat through the pilot and one other episode. The 100 is currently halfway through its second season.

The pilot, aired in March 2014, starred three Asian-American actors: Kelly Hu in the one-episode role of being the implausibly righteous woman who is the girlfriend of a wannabe dictator; Terry Chen, the Canadian actor I watched in Combat Hospital; and series regular Christopher Larkin, a name new to me.

In The 100, Earth suffered catastrophic radiation exposure and a small population managed to escape and reside on a space station (the Arc) for 97 years so far. Now, life on the Arc is becoming unviable so 100 juvenile delinquents were selected to participate (unwittingly) in an experiment, sent to Earth to determine if the planet is habitable again. You can imagine the endless possible stories with 100 characters under 25 years old who have no adult supervision or limitations.

I don’t have the patience to watch the caricatures from self-righteous rebels who will do exactly everything that is a bad idea with cringe-worthy bad consequences to self-righteous “do-gooders” and worry about their fates. In particular, I pretty viscerally despise the characters of Bellamy and his sister Octavia and one of Bellamy’s wildcard thugs. I’m so over and unempathetic to whatever “coming of age” tale this might be for them.

kellu-hu terry-chen christopher-larkin

Images from

So, Kelly Hu showed up in the pilot and I like to remind NPY how different a pilot can be from the rest of the series and how much in advance it was filmed. She’s like a bigger name that got attached to the pilot but was an unnecessary character and we don’t see her again.

I cheered to see Terry Chen in the credits and kind of would only watch to see when he reappears (three more episodes). NPY and I get a kick out of seeing him on screen and he plays the military personnel role really well.

Christopher Larkin, being just 24, has a shorter filmography and it’s great to see he’s is a series regular on a CW show. He seems to be cast in a goofy sidekick and technically-minded role but here’s to hoping he’ll get to expand his character in this lawless society where people are carving out new niches for themselves.

Some time in the past two years, I’ve just moved on from CW shows, except for one (Hart of Dixie). Shows like Gossip Girl and, to a lesser extent, 90210 were the last straw for me. As I get older, I want to see people who represent me on the screen, not college-aged twentysomethings with envy-inducing implausibly fabulous lives and gracefully (at least, successfully) navigating adult scenarios. I get it – I’m approaching the end of or out of the network’s target demographic with every passing year.

I watched Vampire Diaries for a few seasons because I do like Nina Dobrev (Canadian!) and Ian Somerhalder so very much but the vampires and werewolves lore just got really old and convoluted with some bad joke that every character is just going to become some kind of fantasy creature and I went from caring little to not at all. I watched only the pilot of Beauty and the Beast and shuddered – perhaps I wasn’t being fair. Veronica Mars was a great show on the CW that was so wholesome by comparison and smart without being obnoxious.

So, Hart of Dixie is my own remaining CW guilty pleasure because the characters are closer to my age and legitimately in adult situations. It’s still set in an unrealistic place (Bluebell that is seemingly caught in mid-twentieth century style) but just a darling weekly rom-com kind of drama.