By Will Wade,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Post-disaster survival experiment is fascinating, intense.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show makes the point that in a survival situation, working together is the best -- and perhaps the only -- way to survive. But some participants take on an every-man-for-themselves mentality in the absence of law and order, and bandits and marauders won’t think twice about stealing precious resources and supplies.
Positive Role Models
The smart shall inherit this post-apocalyptic Earth. The show makes clear the value of education, as the people trained in important skills are able to perform such valuable tasks as health care and restoring electricity. On the other hand, the group isn't necessarily the most realistic cross section of society.
Violence & Scariness
Little actual violence, but the threat of conflict looms large. The producers send faux marauders to threaten the participants, who respond by grabbing pipes, sticks, and other makeshift weapons. They clearly feel threatened and seem ready to respond with violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In this post-apocalyptic survival situation, people have little time, energy, or opportunity to think about romance. Some participants are shown bathing in the nude, with parts of their bodies blurred.
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Some words are bleeped.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
No drinking or smoking, but some people talk about how much they miss having a drink and how much they want a cigarette.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this reality series -- in which 10 participants volunteer to rebuild society in a faux post-apocalyptic situation -- gets quite intense. The characters take their task seriously and respond to threats realistically; primal instincts vie with social obligations every step of the way. There's some bleeped swearing and blurred non-sexual nudity, but no drinking or hooking up; the people are working too hard just to survive.
Where to Watch
Based on 3 parent reviews
The simulated social collapse: The Colony (TV Show)
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What's the Story?
What would you do -- how would you survive -- if a global epidemic left a huge portion of the population dead and civilization consequently descended into chaos? That's the premise of THE COLONY, an intense reality series about 10 people who volunteer to spend 10 weeks in an isolated part of Los Angeles, attempting to "rebuild society." The group sets up camp in an abandoned warehouse and must find food and water, figure out how to reestablish electricity, tend to sanitation and other basic needs, and defend their new home against the bandits who sometimes try to steal their valuable resources.
Is It Any Good?
Everyone involved in the show knows that it's just an experiment, that civilization is just a few blocks away and hasn't really been swept into anarchy. But it's surprising how quickly the participants begin to think and act like the survivors of a global disaster who must defend their turf. When the producers send a few faux marauders to break into their compound, for instance, several members of the group pick up pipes and other makeshift weapons. The intruders, the narrator explains, have instructions not to harm anyone, but the participants certainly look ready to do anything necessary to protect their hard-won supplies.
The participants deserve credit for their innovative solutions to very real problems, such as using sand and charcoal to create a water filter that makes even the highly polluted water from the Los Angeles River drinkable. But the group -- which includes two engineers, a contractor, and a doctor -- is hardly a representative cross-section of the population. Where are the bloggers and struggling actors? People without such specialized skills might have a harder time in a survival situation ... which just might be the point of the series.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about survival. Would you know what to do in a survival situation? Do you know how to perform any of the tasks that would help people get by after a major disaster? Does this show make you want to study something practical, like engineering or medicine?
The participants are sometimes threatened by "bandits," who are introduced specifically to create tension. Do you think the participants feel like they're really in danger? Do you think they're ready to respond to the faux threat with real violence? How else does conflict manifest in the series?
- Premiere date: July 21, 2009
- Cast: Andre M. Johnson, Farshad Farahat, Thom Beers
- Network: Discovery Channel
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: February 26, 2023
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