The premise behind The Colony is great, and some would say timely, what with earthquakes and tsunamis rearing their ugly heads recently, and with pop-culture’s fascination with all things zombie. The Colony is a reality TV show where the Discovery Channel selected 10 strangers, put them in a post-apocalyptic scenario and sat back to see if they could re-build society from scratch.
It’s a great concept, and brilliant because even though it’s a reality TV show, there is no prize for ‘winning’ and no one gets voted off.
It’s all about survival.
The problem with the show is it’s instance with pretending to be authentic, and wanting you the viewer to actually believe that the show’s participants believe that they are living in a post-apocalyptic world. The show even falls back on the tired use of video diaries.
How would anyone fall into a sense that this fake life that they are living, TV cameras and all, is reality is beyond me.
The other factor that hurts the show, is that this apparently random selection of survivors is stacked with engineers and rocket scientists. Not a checkout operator or unemployed bum is sight.
If we ever do find ourselves living in a post-apocalyptic world, this is a group of people you would want to be with.
The location for the experiment is an abandoned warehouse, the conveniently has all the necessary equipment for this rocket scientists to have a reliable power source (once they’ve figured out what they need to scrounge) so they can have lights and use power tools, and enough vehicles so that they can scrounge parts to make their escape plans.
It’s all a little too much for what looked like it was going to be a serious look at how woefully prepared we would be, if the end did come.
But that’s not to say it isn’t entertaining, and even educational.
As a staged reality TV show it’s brilliant. Without the ridiculous obsession with voting people off each week, these survivors have to learn to get on with each other, plus, without a dwindling number of people to feed, food and water becomes a real issue for them. The show’s producers manage to throw enough surprises that each episode has plenty of action, along with a few moral dilemmas.
But rather than being a reality series looking at our ability to re-build society, I would describe it as Scrapheap Challenge meets Survivor. It really is fascinating to see what this mixed bunch of specialists can come up with each week, and throwing in a dwindling supply of crap food means that before too long hunger and fatigue begins to eat away at their brain power and stamina.
All in all, The Colony is great viewing, just don’t approach it thinking that this version of reality TV is going to be any more ‘real’ than anything else you might watch on DVD.
Reviewed by: Jonathan