A Social Experiment in 2 Seasons

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Nuclear, Plague, Survival, The End, TV
Tags: , ,

The Colony Season 1 originally aired in 2009 on The Discovery Channel

A novel idea for a reality series showed up on the Discovery Channel back in July 2009.  It was called The Colony and it followed a social experiment of what would happen to a group of strangers if they had to band together to survive after the end of the world occurred, or in their reality the end of Los Angeles, CA.

This first season was the most realistic and informative of the series, in my view at least. The cast was comprised of 10 survivors who came from varied backgrounds and brought different perspectives on how to survive. By the end the survivors were no longer sure if it was an experiment or reality, which lent a creditability to the show that is rarely seen on today’s TV. Not only was the show informative about it taking a group to survive but that ingenuity is alive and well in the modern day person. Different episodes had them making a washer machine out of a broken bike and a 50 gallon drum, another making a large water filter out of sand and charcoal, another making a wood gas generator to fuel their tractor engine. These were by no means the only “inventions” they made during their 60 days of surviving, but the fact that they invented things that they sometimes only had rudimentary knowledge of impressed me. They had surprises and outside disruptions that they needed to deal with as a group making the reality even more believable.  Luckily this made the group ban tighter and realize that disagreements happen but don’t need to divide them if they were to make it through. I highly recommend this season not only for the knowledge that can be gleaned  off the tools they used and invented to survive but the knowledge that group survival is the most effective if done properly.

Season 2 of The Colony began July 2010 on The Discovery Channel


Season 2 was moved to  Chalmette, Louisiana and used a development that had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Once again there was a diverse selection of survivors.  Though this one included people who had an active interest in survival and had prepared for it. The premise was of a biological disaster so they began their time in isolation which seemed to make it harder for them to bond as whole group. Also this group seemed to never forget that it was an experiment.  These two factors made me less impressed with this installment as it seemed to never leave the mentality of me first. Though I did think it helped to inform those that thought they were prepared that they had some more work to do.

This was more of a a season of what shouldn’t be done and if looked at from that perspective I would recommend it. They had a large complex to work with yet never seemed to figure out that safety is important if long term survival is to be possible.  Also letting preconceived ideas of what should happen overshadow what was actually happening was a running theme in the survivors mentality. I was impressed enough to think there should be a third season but at this time that seems to be shelved.

Finding the right balance between complete immersion and playacting has to be a delicate balance that even the most experienced experts must find challenging. At the end of season 1 we had a survivor go back to “save” any other survivors left and in season 2 they never really left the safety of knowing it was all an experiment.  Each season has a use in your preparing and learning, but remember that knowledge and expectations can only get you so far.  It is your willingness to continue to evolve after your known social and physical environment is gone that decides your fate.

Today’s tip is that being set in your ways is no way for someone to survive in a group setting, and surviving outside a group setting is just that survival.

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