Season Two of the outstanding television series– “The Colony” — debuted on The Discovery Channel this week, and while this year’s “survivors” are dumber and weaker than those on Season One, the stakes are evermore higher in the Age of Urban Bioterrorism.
Here’s the PR blurp from Discovery setting the seeds for this year’s survival story:
Season Two of THE COLONY introduces viewers to a new group of volunteers with differing backgrounds, skills and personalities, to bear witness to how these colonists will survive and rebuild in a world without electricity, running water, government or outside communication. Over the course of 10 episodes, the colonists — who include a construction foreman, teacher, carpenter and auto mechanic — must work to utilize and strengthen their exploration, technology and survival skills in ways they’ve never had to before. THE COLONY features on-going commentary and input from experts in homeland security, engineering, psychology and the medical community, with expertise and insight into what the future could look like after a biological disaster.
Filmed on 10 acres of abandoned neighborhood on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, THE COLONY’S simulated environment had been left decimated by Hurricane Katrina, a naturally occurring disaster zone that was slated to be bulldozed and turned into a public park. Empty buildings, weedy streets and the backwoods are all the colonists have to work with as they scavenge essentials for survival from their surroundings while fending off threats such as wild animals and malicious outsiders.
Even though we know what we are watching is simulated — the circumstance of just living and dying in every moment of the day is daunting.
The survivors are always in danger.
They are forever surrounded by death.
The five things you must find to survive in any circumstance are:
This year’s cast are adept at the first four — but when it comes to security — they are essentially entirely rotten at protecting their own, valuable, interests — even when repeatedly attacked, they take no proactive measures to lock down their camp.
Their expressed lack of interest in creating a perimeter, and defending it, is stunning. They leave the front gate open to their compound!
The beauty of The Colony, as a television show, is the test of willpower, morality, compassion — and the want to kill to survive — within the viewer.
The show continually prods us: “What would you do? How far would you go to survive?”
The most fascinating irrevocable change in the first episode was The Self-Righteous Bible Thumping Carpenter — who moved from New Testament Loving God to Old Testament Punishing God in the span of less than 20 minutes.
During the first stranger insurrection into their camp he, alone, wanted to give the intruders a carton of milk to assuage them and make them go away.
When the same intruders later returned with a gang of friends to steal the colony’s medical supplies, our Carpenter-as-Jesus, tried to kill the malingerers and shouted — “You are DEAD!” — until he was hoarse.
I am always amused by temporary morality and conditional compassion, but watching the Godless Carpenter so quickly turn on his own system of beliefs — was head-snapping.
We know bioterror is the new threat to our everyday freedoms, and television shows like The Colony reinforce the need in all of us to not only face our demons, but name them, categorize them, and prioritize them for publication — because when it comes down to “us against them” and, inevitably, “you against me” — the evolutionary requirement to kill to survive against others threatening your limited resources is the base mentality of every living species in the world.
The trick of surviving is being able to kill without regret or fear of retribution.
War makes enemies.
Killing someone stealing your water is righteous self-defense.
You must be willing to kill your neighbor — not just the intruding stranger.
Will The Colony turn on itself? Are they willing to kill each other to survive?
The horror of it all is that you will not survive a pandemic attack unless you are willing and able to kill — without conscience — any threat, real or perceived, that inhibits your commoditized, preternatural, want to survive beyond the moment and into the next breaking day.