The "end of the world" is "getting the reality-show treatment," said Brian Stelter in The New York Times. The Discovery Channel's new series The Colony, which debuted Tuesday night, isolates 10 strangers in an abandoned warehouse "for two months with minimal food and water" and assigns them the task of rebuilding society, as an imaginary viral outbreak has destroyed most of the world. The Colony is "essentially a social experiment, albeit one set up by cameramen instead of scientists," and it's quite "entertaining." (watch the trailer for The Colony)

A show like this could have never "been predicted in the early days" of reality television, said Joanne Ostrow in The Denver Post, "when catching fish on an island and dating a housemate represented the height of unscripted TV." The Colony hinges "on very real modern anxieties," and "you can't say prime time doesn't change with the times—terror is the new car chase."

But there's nothing really terrifying about this show, said Mark A. Perigard in the Boston Herald, and it's not very realistic. "The Colony is controlled so tightly, it might as well be scripted. The parts these survivors need for a water filtration system turn out to be readily available, scattered about the factory. A credits-closing disclaimer reveals that experts also are on hand to ensure no one gets hurt."