Welcome to daily life in the year 1628! Colonial House was filmed over a 5 month period on an isolated stretch of the Maine coast. Our adventurers arrived in their New World on a period tall ship and struggled to create a ... more »functioning and profitable colony using only the tools and technology of the era. Colonial House brings history to life and provides a glimpse into the daily life and experiences that helped shape our national character.« less
K. Giorlando | Eastpointe, Michigan United States | 06/23/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I really wanted to like Colonial House. I really did. I thought 1900 House was good, Manor House was better, and Frontier House was excellent. I figured by having a whole colony of people, this would be the ultimate living history. Unfortunately, this was not to be. My biggest question is did the Voorhees family even read the rules on the application, or did they go just to prove how 21st century they really are? I mean, she didn't even TRY to live by the 1628 laws. Skinny dipping on the Sabbath? In 1628? INSTEAD OF CHURCH?? And how about Jonathon Allen? To really feel as if it were 1628, and to prove to all he would abide by rules of days gone by, Mr. Allen should have kept his homosexuality a secret until the final day, and especially to not come out in church! That would have proved to all that you were truly trying to live by 1628 laws. Come on folks! If this were truly the seventeenth century, both subjects would have been burned at the stake! If you're going to sign up for a project like this at least TRY to abide by the laws and rules of the times!! That's the whole point - to see if a 21st century human could survive in a different time period. If you want to skinny dip, fine. If you're gay, fine. But neither was acceptable in the time period you were attempting to live in. Even the British guy ventured off to the future for a couple of days to go drinking in a modern pub. Why did you all sign up? To promote your political agendas? This is not a knock at anyone's lifestyle - this is a frustrated viewer and lover of experiments like these "House" shows. All you proved to those of us watching was that you all couldn't hack it. So you decided to make it almost into a 1960's commune instead of a 1628 colony. To me, the attitude of the Voorhees family really brought the whole project down. Their 21st century ideals spread like a disease to the others in the colony except the first Governor, who was chastised by the rest for truly following the rules of 1628. At least the participants in the past "House" series, for the most part, made an attempt to live in the chosen period of which they were selected. I sure hope the powers that be are a little more selective in choosing people for any future experimental "living in the past" House shows. Colonial House was not worthy of the quality I've come to expect from PBS. It was as if Fox or WB took it over and tried to create controversy instead of a quality reality show."
Laughable at Best
Calamity Jane | 12/19/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
PBS should have stopped this fiasco the moment the players refused to play by the rules of the 1600's.
20st century selfishness destroyed this program. What mattered to the players was not what they could do for the community, but how they could please themselves, yet still play the game. The strict rules were ignored and mocked, which made nonsense of the entire production.
In Colonial times you either went to church or you went to your death. The Colonists were highly religious people. That one family chose skinny-dipping over church services on Sunday was ludicrous. They should have stayed home and let another family experience this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
After getting to church you certainly wouldn't tell everyone you were homosexual and expect to survive. But a gay young man decided to out himself one morning prior to service. He was embraced 20th Century style, but would have been stoned 17th century style. He's another one who should have stayed home.
Another young man, bored with the century, left the community and sought out a local pub, a serious no-no according to producers. He later returned to the colony, bragged about his adventures and picked up where he left off. Yawn.
Tisdale, an African-American, couldn't handle the manual labor or his sudden desire to enslave others to do his work. He walked off the show with a frightening and depressing understanding of why slavery came into existence.
The most offensive scene was when the local Indians paid the colonists a visit, only to berate them for what their ancestors had done to "their people". That insulting conversation would never have taken place inside a homesteader's cabin while the homesteaders grinned and apologized for the white man's actions.
As far as offering a peek into 1600 living, Colonial House offers little to nothing. A much better production was FRONTIER HOUSE in which the participants adhered to the rules and regs of the pioneer days."
M. Swanton | Quincy, MA United States | 07/17/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"IF you have to eat the food that was eaten in the 1600's, and IF you have to wear what was worn then, and IF you have to do all the daily chores that were done then, and IF you have to put up with all the physical unpleasantness that went along with the time, and IF you are truly trying to represent the actual time, then this has to be viewed as a failure of almost epic proportions. For, if you follow the rules stated above, then the rules for everything else should be followed. Hey, you want to come out of the closet in 1600's New England, then you are courageous. Unfortunately , you would also be pressed to death, hanged or , if you were lucky, very lucky, run out of the colony. And the same fate would have befallen anyone who praised you. Horrible, but true. A woman in charge of a congregation? Really, now. Also something unfortunate, but true. If one is trying to portray history, they could at least portray it honestly. It was an offensive culture by our standards, but it was what it was. So, this does just become a Survivor wanna be. One need not be a Christian to attend meeting on the Sabbath. One went because to not go was suicidal. I am sure there were atheists back then, you'd just never know it. So, IF the show was realistic, when these folks did socially unacceptable things they would be punished as was fit for the times. Obviously that would not be acceptable socially or legally in these times. So, they could have at least FAKED it. Banish people from the set, instead of making a distracting Survivor-copy masquerading as an historical study."
Good, would be better with better candidate screening
SereneNight | California, USA | 07/07/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I watched Colonial House with mixed feelings. After reading the reviews here, I expected to hate it. Overall, I enjoyed many elements of this reality show. First, I liked the setting. Maine was absolutely beautiful, and the costumes were excellent.
I liked the Hentz's. I also liked Jonathon Allen. Despite one over-dramatic episode at the end of disk 1, I felt he really did try to play his role quite well and he was quite likeable. I felt sorry for the governor trying to get people to conform to the rules and laws of the times.
I did not care for the Vorhee family at all. Mr. & Mrs. Vorhee spent a great deal of time showboating, and I hated the part where they went skinnydipping instead of attending church like everyone else. If they want to lead 21rst century lives, why volunteer for this experiment? I felt they were a drag on the show, and the experiment would be better off without them, particularly Mrs. Vorhee whose irritating and shrewish opinions we were subjected to on a regular basis.
Overall, not bad, although Manor House still remains my favorite. Too bad, the show did not screen candidates more carefully. A more committed cast would've made the show more interesting. "
It was supposed to be a PURITAN colony...not Jerry Springer-
Shana | NY- the Empire State | 05/26/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The premise of "Colonial House" was supposed to be a 1600s working Puritan colony. A Puritan of 16th and 17th century England was a Protestant (usually Calvinist) a advocate of "purity" of worship, doctrine, and personal and group morality. The Puritan's stressed the importance of obtaining salvation through the development of an individual relationship with God (through the person of Jesus Christ) over attempting to obtain salvation through the sacraments and ceremonies of the church alone. Obviously, the observance of the Sabbath, religion and faith would've been an important part of a typical Puritan colony.
A Puritan colony would've typically been comprised of people of similar faith, values and morals, all trying for a similar goal. The people PBS picked were anything but similar and they had no intention of even trying.
It was interesting to see in the "Making Of" extra, that one of the producers said they had spent an extremely long time trying to find people who TRULY wanted to live the lives that THE PURITAN's lived in the 1600's. I can't imagine that they searched that hard. Many of the participants come across as extremely disagreeable & very selfish. Many of them selectively choose in which portions of early settler life they would like to participate and with which portions they can't be bothered. This was ludacris, because, they all knew before hand what was expected of them. I found myself thinking that it's a good thing our nation's survival didn't depend on them.
The governor of the settlement (one of the only serious participants) really had no power to enforce the rules & as a result most of the participants tended to blatantly ignore the spirit of the experience. For example, one of the most difficult of the female participants wouldn't come to the Sunday Sabbath services (this was REQUIRED in a Puritan colony). It was an essential and mandatory part of Puritan settler life. She choose not to come because she doesn't believe in God, even tho, the Sabbath services held were made very non-comformist & very non-1600 Puritan to placate her. Before long 75% of the colonists are skipping the mandatory Sabbath. Then later, there was also a "Jerry Springer-type" moment of confession on one Sabbath day in a room full of young children, which in the 1600s a Puritan would've been burned for or at least kicked out of the colony. Before long no one was following even the smallest of the experiment's requirements.
If the participants were more genuine and earnest about trying to live like the early Puritan settlers instead of constantly taking the viewer out of the experience with silly arguments & their spoiled brat behavior, this program would've been a lot better.
If it hadn't been for the informative voice overs explaining interesting facts about early colonial life I wouldn't have continued after the 2nd episode. I will give it 3 stars for the voice overs and for the participants who did follow the spirit of the experiment. "