Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
For kids who love reality TV
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.