Tonight I'll be hanging with PBS as they start their new series: Colonial House. This is the third PBS reality series dealing with life during a specific period of history. It started with The 1900 House, in which a modern (The year was 1999) family of five lived for three months in a house and environment that recreated life one hundred years earlier. There were rules for authenticity, but a diary room (more like a closet) somewhere in the house where you could vent your 20th century frustrations.
Several years later PBS produced another series called Frontier House. This time it was a five-month project with three separate families recreating life in the Montana Territory in the year 1883. One family moved into a pre-existing cabin. A second family had their partially completed and the third -- a man and his father -- had to build it from scratch. This was another extremely fascinating series, because each family came from widely different backgrounds. The first family was quite affluent in present-day America. The family broke the rules right and left, and then couldn't understand it when they received the final "report" showing that in all likelihood, they would not have survived the first winter on the frontier. The second family adjusted to the rules more easily than the first, but when the five months were over, the parents split. The third family (the young man got married during the five month series, at which point his bride arrived and his father left) fared the best and had the most optimistic outlook on the experience. All agreed, though, that it was very difficult.
Tonight we begin Colonial Life in the year 1628. There are five houses and twenty seven participants (including two dogs). Tonight's Episode: A New World, Harsh Reality. From TV-Guide Online:
Time travelers from the 21st century start a 17th-century colony in coastal Maine from scratch (almost) in this four-part series. As it opens, it's 1628 and 25 men, women and children are sailing for the colony they'll call home for five months. It's cold and damp on-board, but they'll have to get used to that. They'll also have to get used to illness, having to go to the bathroom in the woods and dealing with Native Americans. And they must get used to backbreaking work ("Every minute," moans one woman -- and she's the governor's wife). It must be smart work, too. "We must get beyond just surviving the day," admits the governor, and that means planting maize. But soon a tragedy hits and the colonists lose their focus.