Sunday, 11 August 2013

Discovery Channel’s The Colony

I’m likely several years late, and I suspect every preparedness type forum had a field day discussing this when it came out. I haven’t had a TV in forever, but recalled seeing ads for it, and the memory of this show popped into my head the other day. Looked it up and managed to watch the first episode on YouTube, but subsequent episodes were blocked. Signed the DVD out of the library and thought I would give my as I watched it observations. Good or bad. The pessimist in me is expecting bad. 

The whole genre of “reality TV” is one I steadfastly refuse to watch. I watched the first episode of “Survivor”, was very unimpressed, watched half of the next episode, and my feelings turned to disgust. I’ve never watched anything like it since. I see ads for that execrable “Big Brother” show and I want to punch out the collection of hipster douchebags that seems to make up the show. All of them seem to thrive on phony drama, and encouraging the worst of human nature for manipulated ends. 

I would love to see a show where people have to put aside their egos and work together for a common goal. I’m sure TV executives are laughing at my naivete. “Our manufactured dramas only work when people are catty, backstabbing bitches.” Of course.

Anyway, I wonder whether this show will have anything to teach, and whether it will have what I know a survival situation requires – working together.

So, here we go.

Did they choose the clothes they were wearing? Or were they given clothes to wear, with no say in the matter? The woman in the green belted rain coat, in particular makes me think that.

Were they given any options of what they could carry? Stuff in their pockets, stuff on their belt, stuff in a back pack? (I guess I’m really looking at this with my own set of prejudices, namely that I’m prepared for a whole hell of a lot, all the time.)

No weapons? Really? I know it’s likely some Hollywood liberals behind this, but come on. Simunitions or a MILES system? Paintball even? Be able to defend, but also face the potential that members of your community are wounded or killed by attackers. You know, make it realistic, present scenarios that might happen in real life.

First thing I would do is paint over that Sanctuary sign, if the place is somewhere I planned to stay. Unless they want to attract more people.

John is 49? I would have figured 69.

Michael is 47? I would have figured 57.

Wish they would do 360° panoramas in the yard and building to give a participants view of the place.

Morgan seems weak and whiny. She’s got some excess weight though so she can survive a bit longer than the others.

Nurse girl (she of the green belted raincoat) wearing strappy high heeled sandals? Are you kidding me? Big diamond earrings? Is she really that out of it, or is that a costume the producers made her wear? Seems kind of useless and loud.

If staying, they need to find a better way to transport water from the river.

Get right on setting up ways to gather any rain water that falls. Far cleaner than anything they could get from that “river” for very little effort.

A still to purify the water?

SODIS to purify water?

Story of John’s kid. Meh. Seems like maudlin emotion.

Why bother using water to flush toilets? A waste of water and what if they back up, are the pipes working, is there a break in the pipes that will send effluent spraying out somewhere else in the building? Dig latrines. Should have been one of the first orders of business.

Shut up. They’re all too damn loud.


Calisthenics as a group maybe?

No weapons? Seriously? Security seems to be the last thing on their list of priorities.

All sitting around eating? Eat in stages. Someone on security detail?

Allison - the nurse - daintily digging through a bag of whatever to grab some food. Hell no! Get your filthy unwashed hands out of there. One of the best ways to spread disease is for everyone to rummage through nuts or candy or whatever with their filthy booger pickers.

Giving out way too much info to those new comers. STFU. Morgan is definitely the weakest link. Those “let’s be nice” people are fools.

Nobody has a can opener or one on a multi-tool? Using side snips to open cans of food? Come on.

Who is out scavenging or foraging or fishing or hunting?

Do they all have to stand around as a group and clap at everything? Too much of that corporate team building, “woooohooooo” bullshit. Shut up. Don’t they have more important things to do? Like security? Like finding something to eat?

Old naked man was creepy, but it is a smarter way to get clean that hauling water, purifying and boiling it first to use to wash with.

Electricity shouldn’t take precedence over food.

Too much impractical gadgetry. It’s turning into a post apocalyptic Monster Garage.

Why stay there? Take the good stuff and find somewhere more defensible.



A diary painted on the walls? Far more important things.

Unless they want to attract all and sundry to their location, they should consider not yelling so much.

They’ve resorted to stealing stuff from a tent of what appears to be homeless people now? My opinion of them went down a lot.

A shower? Not high on the list of priorities. Make do with a sponge bath for the time being.

I’lll say it again. Trap lines? Some kind of unattended fish catching system?

Wouldn’t a steam engine be a lot more energy efficient than a gassifier? To burn wood to get gas out of wood doesn’t seem like the wisest course of action.

Joey is whining about not having power for his circular saw? “I can’t put the shower together without power.” Are you for real? How about a hand saw? Hammer and nails? A brace?

If they have a doctor and a nurse, couldn’t they be building local good will by offering medical services in exchange for trade goods or information?

They head out to get solar panels and Allison is standing around in a skirt and CFMs? Seriously? Right now, right that instant, run for your life. Walk 40 clicks. Can’t? Then lose the impractical footwear.

Speaking of which, they all need to be ready at the drop of a hat, grab their stuff and get the hell out of there.

While a motorized way to have their solar power array follow the course of the sun is slick and all, couldn’t a person have gone up every hour or two to angle it a bit? More fancy gadgetry that doesn’t get them food.

Self defense chick made a punching bag and a gym? If you want to get fit, go forage, haul water, chop wood, etc., etc. Flaky nonsense. If you still have any energy left to expend on a punching bag at the end of a day, you’re not doing enough. Teaching them high kicks? What hokey bullshit is that?

She’s an idiot. “Do you want to go to the mat?” Bwahaha. Stupid games end up winning you stupid prizes. Say that to the wrong person and just to show her up for the fool she is, they’ll use vastly superior fighting skills than she learned in her McDojo, and fuck her up. Like so many other participants in “unarmed/self defense courses” they’ve given her a false sense of ability, and she frankly doesn’t know what she doesn’t know.

They need a strong leader. Or at the very least someone to delegate tasks. They seem to be working at cross purposes.

Those women have all watched too much Oprah. They need to put aside their feelings, stop getting butt hurt about everything and do what is required for group cohesion. Whatever flaws that group of people has, it has been infinitely better than trying to manage on their own.

Mike may be a callous jerk, given to petulance, but he is usually right. His priorities are more in line than many of the others. But I still don’t think he is a leader.

A flame thrower? Another ridiculous gadget. Too dangerous. Waste of fuel. How about slingshots or bows and arrows? Double use. About that food situation...

They need to move through that building with a weapon on them at all times. Expecting everyone to come running to their aid when their non existent security breaks down in a building that big might not work out so well.

Be quiet.

I keep seeing a garden. Is anyone tending it?

Somebody needs to be up on the roof on watch at all times. Putting up a platform of some sort on that sign on the roof should have been a priority.

Using an electric jigsaw to open a can? Are you kidding me?! Really, no one could have scrounged up a can opener? Or fashioned one?

Morgan is working on a phonograph? How much time did she spend that day hunting or fishing or foraging? I’m still not convinced she’s anything other than baggage. 

A radio? More time and resource wasting gadgetry. Yank a CB radio out of a truck in order to communicate.

They took apart shotgun shells to make fireworks? WTF?! Oh right, they needed another excuse to all stand around as a group, be distracted, and yell “wooooohooooohooooo!!” Given how easy it is to make a shotgun, likely not that hard to procure a real one somehow, use them as a trade item, use them for defensive booby traps, etc., taking them apart for something frivolous strains credulity.

Fireworks and a big sign isn’t “getting George back”, it’s “come and rob us.”

That Vlad guy seems okay, but his supposed “combat experience” sounds like a crock to me.


I still can not get over the fact that no one has a weapon. A broom handle? How about putting something heavy or sharp on the end? Is that too aggressive for California?

Sorry, those women are really unimpressive.

That Allison was merely annoying before, but acting like a petulant child because Mike was yelling at her to come and deal with an injury, turned her into a liability. Do your damn job. Sure he’s an asshole, but up to this point, his contribution was far greater than hers. Fix him up and deal with his abrasive attitude when calmer heads prevail. Seriously unsat behaviour.

Then her self righteous horseshit about Joey “hitting” Amy. He was absolutely right, and none of those deer in the lights dipshits get how vital security is. If I hadn’t realized it by then, either she would be going or I would be. An utter inability to grasp that her “feelings” need to be subsumed for the benefit of the group. Don’t like it? I’m sure André would like you.

A by-product of all braves, no chief.

Yup, post-disaster Junkyard Wars.

Those rats are tame pet store rats. 

Wasting time on a kooky contraption like a dirigible? That time could have been used to find food. For them not to know their surrounding better is almost inexcusable in my mind. Sending out reconnaissance and force projection patrols should have been happening from day one.

“The only chance they have to find food is Mike’s Trike?” Seriously? What about a bicycle? How about on foot?

Okay, I still have a few episodes to go, but I think I’ve said all I need to say. Scripted, reality TV nonsense. I feel my IQ will need a few days to go back up after watching that. More an object lesson of what not to do.


  1. I thought the was going to be the Australian version made in 2005. Quite a good series.

    1. Why do I get the sense that one will actually be interesting, educational, and fairly accurate? Thanks for the heads up. I will have to try tracking that down.

  2. I loved your blow-by-blow critique of the show. Saved me from having to watch it ;-).

    I recall learning about Survivor in college, and then was massively disappointed with how it was actually executed. It boggles my mind that it's still today (or maybe it's not...).

    "I would love to see a show where people have to put aside their egos and work together for a common goal"

    The closest I've ever seen to this is:

    Rough Science

    It's not quite survival related, but it is reality TV at its best.

    1. I thought the premise of Survivor seemed intriguing. Hhhmmmhhh a bunch of people have to survive on an island for a period of time. “So they could bring a personal item and no one thought to bring a way to start a fire?” Then when I saw that it had nothing to do with surviving and everything to do with venal, conniving, deceitful behaviour, I lost all interest. And that is what all those shows encourage. Odd, but in my life, I find I’ve gotten all sorts of places by collaborating, being honest, being helpful, etc.

      Thanks for the heads up on that show. Never heard of it before. I checked with my library, and they have a DVD of season 3 & 4, which I have on reserve. The others I’ll have to watch on YouTube. Looks like a show I’ll actually learn something from.

      BBC had a show on in the 70s in which people lived for a year in an Iron age settlement. Wattle and daub hut, thatched roof, the whole bit. I fear the original may have been scrubbed. There is a show that features interviews with the participants 30 years on, but no luck finding the original. I’ve also mentioned my love for the BBC Farm series. Another show that features people getting somewhere by working together.

      Having been around a bunch of military/ex-military guys and heading out into the woods with them for various purposes/lengths of time, you see exactly what is wrong with that group dynamic. Everyone of us is capable, everyone has leadership abilities, but if we get somewhere and one of us says, okay you dig a shit pit, and you gather water, and you go collect firewood and I’ll set up the tarp for the cooking area, none of us gets pissy that someone is acting like the boss and telling others what to do. No, this is stuff that needs to get done, so just shut up and get it done. The next day the roles will switch. It's when you get these sheltered, unskilled, ineffectual crybabies who seem to have all sorts of issues with someone who realizes what needs to get done, grabs the reins and delegates the necessary tasks and tells people to stop acting like dumbasses when necessary.