The Colony TV Poster Image

The Colony



Post-disaster survival experiment is fascinating, intense.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.


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.


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.


Some words are bleeped.

Not applicable
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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Premiere date:July 21, 2009
Cast:Andre M. Johnson, Farshad Farahat, Thom Beers
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byCariT June 7, 2012

Great show

This show is appropriate for almost all age groups. There is minor cursing but not much. It was great to have a reality show with no sexual encounters whatsoever. Some of the people in the show do provide a very positive attitude and are great role models. Kids can learn some survival skills from this but probably only older kids will truly understand. I don't like kids under 10 would be interested in this.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent Written byPlague February 26, 2010

The Colony

Interesting show. I was kind of lost when I first watched it, but I quickly catched on.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written byRockmike33 August 3, 2013

The simulated social collapse: The Colony (TV Show)

I believe this show was the best attempt to simulate a post-apocalyptic event and tried to show what you may encounter in a similar situation. It opens people up to the possibility of how to make good use of resources (even things most would consider garbage) to make innovative ways to support a group of individuals when society collapses. It raises awareness of things you may have to experience if society was to collapse. Furth more, though made for TV (meaning that situation were sometimes scripted), it also looked at some of the psychological problem people may face. The Violence, nudity, and sex aspect of this was minimal at most. After watch this show, I feel I would have a good idea of what I would face if something like this would happen. It's also entertaining. I like the fact that there was no cash prize and no rewards for first place. It also proves that people can't survive without other people. We never could. Even people who don't have friends/family/loved ones are currently receiving help because of they way our society is currently working (they buy stuff from the store with money they have received threw work/benefits/gov. programs etc.). These same people would still need help to survive. It does a good job of showing how people act/react to desperation and how a strong community is just as essential (if not more so) as/than mere numbers. This is one of my favorite shows.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing