The kids are the stars of The 100's pilot (but it's the adults you'll want to watch)

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Jul 18, 2013, 7:51 PM EDT

Looking for a new way to get your post-apocalyptic world fix this year? If you're looking for a new, interesting show about the human race struggling to survive in the future, then you'll be pleased with The CW's new show The 100.

[Warning: Spoilers ahead.]

The pilot, which was shown during Comic-Con's Wednesday preview night, is set 97 years after the Earth was left uninhabitable due to a nuclear war. The only humans who survived are those living on the Ark, a group of space stations in orbit. The show opens with a young girl named Clarke Walters (played by Eliza Taylor) locked in a cell. We learn that resources are so limited on the Ark that the smallest crime can be punishable by death once you're over the age of 18, and if you are younger, you'll be locked in a cell until you're old enough for execution. Walters is then dragged out of her cell and put on a ship sent to Earth with 100 other delinquent youths. The youths are forced to test the environment and see if it is okay for human colonization.

It's at this point that the pilot turns into some mix of The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies. Left to their own devices, the youths split into two groups. One group includes Walters, her friend Wells (played by Eli Goree), and some other ragtag youths (including love interest Finn, played by Thomas McDonell) who want to carry out their mission for the people still on the Ark and another group, led by some darker characters like John (played by Richard Harmon, Continuum), who want to forget about the people who imprisoned them in the first place.

The kids clash with each other, and eventually Walters group leaves to carry out the mission left for them by the Ark. Both groups face typical challenges as they explore the new world, from mutant animals to searching for water to being hunted by each other. The new world is interesting to see, but what was really fascinating in the pilot and seemed to get the best reaction from the audience were the scenes spent on the actual Ark with the adults.

Up in orbit is a stellar cast of veteran actors leading the remains of humanity, including Henry Ian Cusick (Lost, Fringe), Alessandro Juliani (Battlestar Galactica), Kelly Hu (Warehouse 13, Arrow), Paige Turco (Damages) and Isaiah Washington (Grey's Anatomy). The scenes between these characters are just too few. When we visit these characters in orbit we get a fascinating peek into why the 100 were sent down to Earth and just how badly the space station's resources are running out. The audience reacted the most to these dramatic scenes, and the mood was almost one of disappointment when the show returned to the youths on Earth to play out the final moments of their travel through the wilderness.

Still, it's a drama with a lot of promise, especially with such a great experienced cast helping shore up the show for these younger stars. As long as the series doesn't turn too much into a kid-hunting-kid drama and it takes more time in the future to explore the life of humanity on the Ark, it could be one of the best new shows on TV this year.

You can check out The 100 when the show premieres during The CW's midseason lineup.