The show drops seven strangers in a deserted area for 50 days where they are left to fend for themselves. They are not competing for any money, nor attempting to avoid being “voted off.” They are willing participants in an experiment meant to simulate a real post-calamity society.
Discovery has developed a website- Join the Colony– where real friends will update on how they cope up everyday in a pandemic situation. The site includes video footage from the show, and fake blog posts.
The colonists — made up of a model, mechanic, carpenter, retired contractor, foreman, professor and an artist — live as survivors of a simulated viral apocalypse. Each is subjected to 72 hours of isolation before being transported to a desolate 10-acre compound on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana that has been transformed into a wasteland of abandoned buildings after Hurricane Katrina.
Producers of the show worked closely with homeland security, engineering, psychology and medical experts to craft a story line in which the group members are survivors of a mutation of the avian flu known as the nuclear flu. The colonists live completely off the grid and must depend upon themselves for even the most basic of needs.
‘The Colony’ “can’t really reproduce the strain of surviving the end of the world,” one critic wrote. “Its subjects haven’t actually seen most of their loved ones die; they know they will return to a functioning society; we know (and a title card reminds us at the end) that experts are standing by to help them if they meet any actual danger. Still, the show is loaded with interviews with psychologists and homeland-security experts to remind us of the theoretical stakes.”