The 100 episode “Anaconda,” airing this Wednesday, July 8 on The CW, could be the start of a potential weekly spinoff series if all goes well. After viewing this episode, I was left wanting more, and while I know The CW’s 2021 schedule is packed, I do hope they find some room for it.
Airing in the middle of The 100′s final season, “Anaconda” picks up with current events in the series, and then tells a tale that goes back to the beginning of the mythology of the series — even before that. We meet Callie (Iola Evans), daughter of Bill Cadogan of the “Second Dawn” doomsday cult first hinted at several seasons ago on The 100. Short for Calliope, Callie’s life before the disaster isn’t all that different from a young person in the year 2020 — even though this episode was written last year, it was a bit prescient for some of the things we have been seeing in the news. Callie’s parents are separated, with her brother going off with the father, and the relationship between Callie and her mother reminds me a little bit of the bond that Clarke (Eliza Taylor) had with her mother Abby in many seasons of this show. With that said, Callie definitely has some Clarke in her, but I can also see the same desire to help others that was exhibited by the late Abby Griffin.
“Anaconda” is full of Easter eggs and things to pay attention to, all with the intention of grabbing long-time fans of The 100. Clearly, there are callbacks, such as John Pyper-Ferguson playing Bill Cadogan and Erica Cerra as Becca Franco being a part of the story. But “Anaconda” also succeeds in being easy to follow even if you aren’t familiar with the seven years and 90-some episodes that have come before. I really appreciated that. Yes, there are bonuses if you know them – Becca being a large one; even knowing what “Nightbloods” are is fun, but not necessary, as this pilot explains it very clearly.
So often, sadly, new TV series and spinoffs are created “because they can.” Whether a studio or network got the rights to something popular, or it’s a thing of “hey, we have this comic book character who hasn’t been regularly published in decades, let’s see if we can make this work.” Sure, it sounds like The CW was interested in finding a way to keep the 100 story going, but a project like this wouldn’t work without good characters, great set pieces and direction, and good casting. I want to see more of Callie, Reese, August, and the other characters that come into this [potential] show’s orbit.
Finally, without giving things away, maybe it was because I didn’t even watch a trailer or read spoilers, but what this episode turned out to be was completely different than what I expected, and the show is better for it. A potential series will not tread the same ground as The 100 did, but it could make it all so much richer. I do know some people want other things from a spinoff of The 100, but what I also like about this is that no one has said those things you want are impossible.
So, CW. When can we expect to see this show as a regular thing?