On Tuesday July 28th we get to watch part two of Discovery Channel’s innovative new series The Colony. There have been a plethora of reality TV shows based on the premise of a group of people being stranded in some remote location and week after week we watch their attempts to survive the challenges imposed on them, not so much by their surroundings, but by the producers and script writers of the show. At the end of each episode the winning team gets some reward, and the losing team says good bye to one of their team. I view this kind of programming as right up there with having a root canal!

The Colony is a completely different idea, take a group of people, from handyman to PHD’s and operate under the premise that it is some time in the future, a post apocalyptic world. For their backdrop Discovery has chosen a disused warehouse complex in the heart of Los Angeles. Having spent quality time in the Hawthorn area following the LA riots of the 90’s I can not think of a better place!

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The premise behind the series is survival, you can use whatever you can find within the confines of the warehouses and surrounding lot. This weeks episode Power Struggle explores the groups need to find a sustainable source of energy. There are abandoned cars, and by salvaging the batteries they have a temporary solution, but how to recharge them?

The first solution is to find a small engine and scavenge an alternator. At first this looks like a great solution, however they have less than five gallons of gasoline, what happens after that is all used up?

A couple of the engineers think that a better solution to using gas would be to build a ‘gasifier’, this is a rather arcane device that uses wood in two ways, as a heat source, and also a fuel source. A fire is used to heat wood chips, and the chips produce a combustible gas. A tricky technology, and a potentially dangerous one. Not everyone buys into the idea, and indeed the first attempt is a rank failure.

Although the group are still in the first week of their confinement, it is very clear that tempers are beginning to flare. Yes, the gasifier is eventually made to work, and so, as long as a source of wood can be found they have power.

Just as big a challenge is becoming food. Although the grumbling has not started, it will not be long.

I like this series, it certainly is head and shoulders above the other ‘survivor’ type shows. The experiment ran for ten weeks, and in total Discovery made 6 one hour episodes. By episode six, I am sure that we will be facing something akin to the adult version of ‘Lord Of The Flies’.

Great stuff, check your local listings for The Colony, this episode will be airing on Tuesday July/28. Live on the wild side and try this show out. If you do watch next Tuesdays show, keep an eye out for handyman Joey S, he clearly is upset with the priorities being set. There is no clear leader at this point, but I’d put money on this guy. To paraphrase him, ‘I don’t care what letters you have behind your name, PhD, DR whatever, but you have to get your act together’. Joey is no newcomer to adversity, he is the guy that you want on your side when it all goes to hell in a hand basket!

Simon Barrett

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