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The 100 - Season 1 - Jason Rothenberg Interview

What’s been most surprising to you about what viewers have latched onto?

I knew that that culling in episode five was going to go down that way when we made the pilot. I knew that we were going to kill those people – that the call was going to come too late to save them. I had that point all along and that’s not the way I think most shows would have done it, certainly not most shows on broadcast television. So what’s been exciting for me is to see people’s reactions as they begin to get what we’re doing. People who love the show from the beginning, that’s great and I love good reviews any time I could get them, but I actually like the reviews better where people are like “I thought the show f---ing sucked, but now I love it!” That’s the best review because I brought that person back.

Was there a barrier you had to work against because it is on The CW, which has shows like The Vampire Diaries and Reign on its schedule?

For better or worse, The CW has a certain thing that they do and are known for. For better or worse, the sci-fi community – of which I consider myself a member – has a little bit of an attitude about it. It takes a while to win those people over. Once we got past episode two and into episode three, [when] we killed Wells, and into the hanging in four and the culling in five, that’s when we rounded the corner and figured out what it was going to be. I hope that the audience will build as people who watch The Walking Dead or watch Game of Thrones start to say, “There’s something interesting happening over here. Maybe we should give it a chance.”

Because it's on The CW, how did you strike that balance of having enough romance, along with the action?

There is a sort of affectation for romance on some of their shows and I work against that. I think that we probably did a little too much of that in the first couple of episodes and once we found the show, the show as it exists for me isn’t about that at all. I think there will be always be a soap storyline or romance, but it’ll never be about that. We found balance around episode four and five where that exists but it doesn’t overwhelm the story we’re telling; it exists in its proper place. I sometimes talk about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is a pyramid – at the bottom is survival things, like do we have enough food, can we sleep safely at night here. When you’re worried about that kind of stuff, you’re not so worried about where the next person you’re sleeping with is or who’s sleeping with who. That’s the stuff that exists higher in the pyramid and we don’t get there in this show. It’s an action-adventure first and foremost; there are romance elements in it but I also say that Star Wars had a love triangle, Indiana Jones had a girlfriend. That’s where it exists for us, despite what some people on the Twitter would like.

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