The Colony Season One DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 7.0
Video 8.0
Audio 7.5
Special Features   N/A
Total 7.0
Distributor: Manga
Running Time: 430 Minutes
Classification:
M15+
Reviewer: Andrew Proverbs

7.0


The Colony Season One

If youre the sort of person who is intrigued by the idea of getting an old truck running on wood gas, or building a radio transmitter out of junk, then youll get something out of The Colony. 

In this Discovery Channel series, a slice of Los Angeles has been set up to mimic the total desolation that is expected to follow an apocalyptic disaster. Ten participants have been dropped into this urban wasteland, each bringing his or her own set of strengths, biases and beliefs. There are some unique and strong individuals: Vladimir is a haunted ex-soldier who likes to cook and to dance, Leilani is a self-defence instructor who doesnt know how to back down from a confrontation, and Mike, if you can get past his caustic hair-bristling exterior, is a pragmatic inventor and problem-solver.  

These individuals bring with them a mix of brawn, intellect and natural instinct. A large part of the appeal of a show such as this is watching the team come together to solve problems. At times it seems nothing is beyond this group; between Mikes fabricating skills, Joeys grit and John Cs imaginative brilliance, they look like theyre capable of overcoming any challenge.

But of course, the machine isnt always so well oiled. Personalities come to the fore more than once, and the immaturity, squabbling and lack of cohesion between certain people regularly threatens to fracture the group.  

Throw into the mix a bikie gang, whose goal it is to unnerve the group as well as to steal supplies and harass them at every opportunity, and it makes for an interesting set up with some exciting possibilities. 

Each of the ten episodes has its own theme, which usually takes the form of a problem that the group will have to solve. In the first week theyll need to work out how to filter water from the poisonous Los Angeles river, and in subsequent episodes theyll be challenged by food shortages and the problem of supplying power to the colony.  

Often arising from these pressures are more human and ethical dilemmas. On more than one occasion the colonists are forced into hard choices, such as whether or not to kill captured goats for some much needed protein or keep them for their milk, or whether to hand out their dwindling supplies of food to other suffering survivors. 

I suppose the only real problem with The Colony is the fine line it walks between factual experiment and fictional script. The colonists and their reactions are real, but sometimes the situations they find themselves in feel forced. Always in the background you can sense the prodding influence of the shows producers, guiding events along a path that makes for suitable and entertaining television viewing. It would have been more interesting had things been allowed to evolve more naturally. 

When Marauder leader Andre breaks into the compound to steal food, he seems determined to announce his presence to the colonists. It makes for dramatic television, but as a real-world act it doesnt make much sense. 

As a show, The Colony has the mass-produced look of other Discovery Channel programmes. There are interjections by experts, a fairly standard musical soundtrack, and a voice-over by the prolific Thom Beers (who sounds more like John Wayne than ever). If youve seen Ice Truckers, Ax Men or Deadliest Catch then youll know what to expect from the shows look, sound and layout.   

Closing Comments: 

Sometimes it feels like youre watching an urban version of Survivor, but thankfully the moments of forced drama are kept to a manageable level. The Colony wasnt made to shatter your world view and it wont- its light entertainment.

If you delve into the Colony knowing that, and have an interest in post-apocalyptic themes or how things work, then youll find plenty to like.






 
 



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