Admittedly I came late to the party when it comes to The 100. I binged it on Netflix because so many people had recommended it. The science fiction/fantasy genre is a place I feel comfortable. I write about a lot of science fiction shows and I’ve been a devoted fan of the genre for most of my life. Like most early fans of The 100 I was quickly invested in the world that the show was created. And like most fans the over simplistic and tropey death of Lexa pretty much ruined the show for me.
But the call for a Grounders spinoff isn’t just because fans were so unhappy with the way that Lexa was killed. A spinoff or a limited series focused on The Grounders just makes sense. For the creators, for the writers, for the actors, and for the fans. No matter how you look at it a Grounders prequel or spinoff makes sense.
Science Fiction/Fantasy Is The Most Popular Genre On Cable/Streaming TV
There’s a reason why cable and streaming services are rushing to pick up as much science fiction/fantasy content as they can. It’s because audiences want it. The Walking Dead is the number one show on cable and has been for years. Other science fiction/fantasy shows like American Gods, Game Of Thrones, and Supernatural are consistently drawing large numbers of viewers. The Man In The High Castle, Colony, Black Mirror, Orphan Black, The Expanse… the list goes on and on of popular science fiction/fantasy shows that are shown a range of streaming services and cable TV.
That means that cable networks and streaming services are always looking for viable science fiction/fantasy content. Even a Grounders prequel as a limited series would be an easy pitch in the current television market when networks and streaming services are actively looking for high quality content in the genre.
Streaming Services Are Willing To Take A Chance On Different Formats
A Grounders limited series event may not be interesting to some networks, but streaming services like Amazon and Netflix are willing to take a chance on new content and content in new formats. Recently Amazon gave the green light to six episodes of an adaptation of the popular podcast Lore just to see if there was a market for further episodes. A six or eight episode Grounders limited series would be able to find a home on a streaming service if not on a cable network. Streaming services are actively trying to gain a foothold in science fiction/fantasy content because they know it’s a lucrative market that draws viewers.
There Are Many Stories To Tell
The 100 created a rich and exciting world that has a huge amount of untapped stories and content. The Grounders have a rich culture, as evidenced by what was seen in Polis. There’s a deep mythology there as well as origin stories for The Grounders and for each tribe. There is so much still left to explore about the Grounders that there could be several limited series prequels if not a full spinoff. The stories of what happened to those left on Earth and how they developed a civilization after the nuclear holocaust are interesting stories that fans want to see explored.
It Would Boost Interest In The 100
The story arc of The 100 went off the rails after Lexa’s death. As the show waits in limbo to return it could use a little boost. It’s no secret that the ratings for The 100 tanked after Lexa’s death. Ratings for “Thirteen”, the episode were Lexa was killed, came in at about 1.39 million. Just four episode later the ratings were barely over a million. By the end of season 4 the show wasn’t even cracking a million viewers. That’s a pretty significant drop for a show that started with very strong ratings over 2 million per episode.
Obviously there are many factors that affect the ratings of a show, but for The 100 a large part of that ratings drop was that people lost interest. They were shown glimpses of the fascinating culture and civilization of the Grounders and then the show just veered unexpectedly away from any interesting storylines. Fans want to know more about the Grounders, who are infinitely more interesting than many of the remaining Skaikru.
It Would Partially Redeem The Show For Participating In The “Bury Your Gays” Trope
There have been more than a few missteps by The 100, but killing off Lexa in such a stupid and abrupt way and furthering the trope of killing off a gay character immediately after having sex or just as they were about to have a good relationship instead of a doomed relationship was a huge one. Fans are still angry about that. Representation matters, especially in the science fiction/fantasy genre. A Grounders spinoff or limited series that included Lexa’s backstory would go a long way to fix that massive blunder and give The 100 a little much needed redemption.
Spinoffs Can Be Successful
The Walking Dead has a spinoff. Supernatural is getting ready to launch a fan driven female focused spinoff. Spinoffs can do a lot to anchor an original show and enhance it by expanding the universe that the show is set in. Wayward Sisters, the Supernatural spinoff, came directly from fans. For years the vocal and dedicated fans of Supernatural asked repeatedly for a spinoff that would focus on the female hunters and give more of a voice to some of the female characters introduced on Supernatural. And the creators and producers of Supernatural listened to the fans and gave them Wayward Sisters. Creating a spinoff based on fan demand isn’t unheard of in the genre.
Female Driven Science Fiction Is The Future
More than 50% of the viewers of science fiction/fantasy movies and TV are female. And shows that have strong female characters are leading the pack when it comes to ratings and fan dedication. The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, arguably the highest rated shows in the genre, both have an ensemble cast full of strong powerful women who are fully developed characters and not just eye candy. A Grounders limited series or spinoff focusing on Lexa, Anya, and the powerful Grounder women would elevate The 100 franchise and give it a better chance to move forward as a leader in the genre.