July 28th, 2010
04:42 PM ET
The Discovery Channel’s “The Colony” is back with its second season, centering on the struggle of seven “survivors” of a contrived viral outbreak to stay alive.
But right from the start of last night's premiere, some of the excitement dissipated as the show opened with a necessary note: “Participants in ‘The Colony’ experiment are presented with situations that have been created by the producers. They receive support from off-camera experts when their health or safety may be in danger.”
It’s good to know that the participants aren’t in any real danger, but it definitely takes some of the thrilling edge off that very scary question - “What would you do if the world ended?”
The show began with seven participants being filmed in isolation rooms, where they were quarantined for 72 hours.
A government organization created for the experiment, the Viral Outbreak Protection Agency (VOPA), then flew the seven survivors to a 10-acre compound on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. Their mission: To live for 50 days in an abandoned neighborhood that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
No one was there to greet them as they were left on the compound but immediately the participants got to work. First we met Sally, a 28-year-old auto mechanic looking for a challenge, and Jim, a 42-year-old carpenter.
The show is punctuated by occasional notes from medical and field experts. One doctor said that the calamity the show models is not only theoretically possible, but one government officials are preparing for - a statement surely aimed to add some reality to this staged experiment.
As the participants combed the compound, a homeland security expert let viewers know that to survive, the contestants have to focus on five things: food, shelter, water, fire and security.
But it seemed like the survivors knew this as well, because they slowly knocked each item off the list as the day went on.
In the medical tent, VOPA left enough food to last a week. We were also introduced to Reno, a 28-year-old construction foreman who believes the group is going to have to work together to survive.
Medical supplies, tools, bicycles and car batteries are discovered as the survivors observed their demolished surroundings, and they decided to move all their supplies to an abandoned home for security.
Once food and shelter were covered, the participants worked on getting potable water. Sian, who is conveniently a geology professor, knew how to make a sand and charcoal water filtration system. Sally the mechanic suggested using the car batteries to create a spark to set brush on fire in order to boil water, and voila! Ten minutes into the show and the survivors seemed to have everything figured out.
Jim commented the following morning that he “woke up to a nightmare,” which honestly doesn’t make much sense, since, as far as Hollywood apocalypses go, these guys had it pretty good up until this point.
After a failed attempt at fishing, some excitement finally came around in the form of three intruders. We're told the three strangers are actors, but they still posed a real threat to the colonists, who had to decide whether or not to help them.
Jim was adamant about giving the strangers a little food and water, but the others weren't so sure. After giving the strangers something to drink, the colonists tried to keep the three intruders from knowing they had more to give.
A minor scuffle ensued when the intruders tried to get into the colonists’ home. Jim and Reno were put into quarantine since they came in contact with the intruders.
After a night of heavy rain and the appearance of a snake in the morning, the colonists had made it to day three.
Tension sparked between Reno and George, a 46-year-old artist/inventor. Reno had an issue with George, who wanted to go foraging with Deville, a 70-year-old retired contractor, instead of doing hard labor.
But, while roaming the compound, George and Deville found a car battery, a razor and an oddly placed truck full of rotting meat. The gang salvaged packaged salami from the meat truck, but couldn't bring themselves to touch the three decomposing pigs.
The colonists began preparing a meal when George decided to take a nap, causing the other participants to further question his work ethic and form a little resentment.
As the day was winding down, a mob of at least fifteen people, led by the three intruders from the day before, approached the site. The mob demanded the colonists give them medical supplies, and when they refused a fight erupted.
The mob was hired by the producers, and instructed to attack the colonists, but no one was seriously injured. Valuable supplies were stolen from the colonists, though, and the show ended with them realizing that even though the apocalypse wasn’t real, it may as well have been – because survival is going to be a difficult task.
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