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Colonial House Picture of the colony
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Viewers of COLONIAL HOUSE and visitors to the site have sent in thousands upon thousands of comments about the series, the Web site, and the individual participants. Though only a small sample, the comments below reflect the amazing diversity of opinions, perspectives, and ideas from the audience.


"I think this series is a great tool for history programs in our schools. My ancestors settled in America in 1638. It helps me to realize the hardships they experienced and the courage they had."

"I was disappointed that many of the members did not ever try to be historically correct in their actions. The idea that they would just not observe the laws they didn't like brought the whole project to an end for me."

"I am both incredibly thankful and in awe. In a time when our televisions are littered with 'reality' shows, it's so nice to view one with depth and education. Never before have I been more moved to support your quality programs. Keep up the good work."

"I am thoroughly amazed at how attached I have become to these colonists. If anyone would have suggested that I would be into this show as I am, I would have laughed."

"I believe PBS intentionally selected participants that were unable or unwilling to achieve any of the project's stated goals in an effort to ensure a high level of conflict and thus make 'good television.'"

"This was the most interesting piece of television I have ever seen! It was so intense and involved, I have thought about each episode and tried to digest each piece of it long after they have ended. At first you think, 'These people are crazy and brave to do something like this!' At the end, you just feel so sad that they have to leave. What a wonderful social experiment. We will stay tuned for the next (hopefully!) 'House' series."

"I felt that this project was more about the psychological aspects of the colonists than a true reenactment. I enjoyed seeing that 21st-century people are lacking in community and that much can be achieved when a committed group forms community."

"I thought that this was the best of the 'House' series. The producers really got it all right this time. I thought the participants were representative of 21st-century society and their responses to 17th-century life showed a genuine willingness to support the project. It really enhanced my understanding of early colonial life in North America. By the way, my first direct ancestors immigrated to Virginia on the ship Abigail in 1621. The show made me really appreciated how difficult life was for them."

"You have insulted a vast part of your audience by underestimating your viewers and lowering your standards. You have taken what could have been a great educational experience and sullied it with compromise. By cheating us of quality, you may have lost part of a loyal audience. I hope that any future projects will make a return to the high standards once reflected by PBS."

"I just wanted to let you know, I usually do not watch PBS. I came across this show and have to tell you I'm hooked. I now have my husband and children looking forward to watching the show. It is a great learning tool and I believe a lot of teachers and schools could use this."

"COLONIAL HOUSE was such a disappointment! The colonists refused to cooperate with the governor, disobeyed laws, boycotted church attendance, and totally disregarded class/gender differences. The colonists completely refused to leave the 21st century and its thinking. After viewing FRONTIER HOUSE and 1900 HOUSE, I think COLONIAL HOUSE was nothing more than a crass reality show -- complete with unlikeable characters. I expected more from PBS."

"This was an excellent idea and largely a good program to watch and learn from, but a few parts made me quite mad. Why wasn't each person told about the religious rules of the 1700s prior to signing on? There was absolutely too much airtime devoted to something that NEVER occured back then. People that signed on to ship over here got together in England and were all in agreement before then came here. There wasn't any of the 'religious' fighting you ended up depicting."

"I think it ended up being a documentary on a 'comparison' between an individual living in our century and going back to try to endure the conditions in that century, instead of us actually seeing how the originals endured it. Way too much nitpicking and infighting. In many situations the people coming to America left worse conditions and they would have never complained like these people did!"

"I just loved COLONIAL HOUSE, and I give full credit to the participants. I know I could not go without soap, shampoo, and other necessities that long. The only thing I would have changed was that the participants not bring their 21st-century ideas into the show and show the viewers exactly how you had to live and behave, no matter what you thought or felt. In any case, Bravo, a great series."

"Your program took a powerful turn with the visit from the second Native American tribe. I was starting to lose interest because the group seemed to be reliving SURVIVOR. They couldn't stay focused on their role and seemed to take the limitations personally. But the confrontation of the imperialist goals of the colonies and its continuing effects on our country today was landmark. I wished every person in America had the opportunity to be apart of that dialog. You could see outwardly the internal consciousness shifting at the end of the show. The Native American participants' analysis of their experience playing these roles was what the colonists lacked. Thank you for bringing television to a new level. I would love to see more on the Native American side, as I learned so much more, and think this could be an interesting tool in helping Americans find themselves today."

"I am also a Christian with a deep faith. I was moved and impressed by Bethany's confession of faith and worship for Jesus during Sunday service, just before learning of her fiance's death. This young lady will go far."

"My family and I enjoyed COLONIAL HOUSE, we wish that it would continue on. Jonathon, I admire you for bringing up your sexuality. Every religion doesn't judge, don't give up the faith, always to continue being in God, He'll never let you down."

"Just a comment on Julia. I found her to exhibit the deepest faith of all the colonists. She rarely complained, she worked hard, and she usually saw good in others. What made her faith compelling was her doubt and her willingness to listen to all sides. She had the ability to get along with all factions of the colony. She indicated that she had no religious background -- amazing. To me she seemed the only real Christian in the colony. I wish this fine young woman well in life."

"FRONTIER HOUSE (2002) was a superb look at America in the 1870s West. However, my fiancee and I were sorely disappointed with the lack of preparation, and the ambivalent attitude to appropriate commitment, on the part of the 'volunteers' who comprised the cast of this season's COLONIAL HOUSE. Instead of seeing 21st-century families willing and able to travel back in time to be subjected to the conditions of life on the coast of rural Maine over 350 years ago, the audience were witness to countless breaches of what would have been the very-much enforced life and laws of a British-funded American colonial settlement, ca. 1628. Moreover, for some reason, the myriad of broken rules ('sinning') committed by the majority of the settlers -- which would have been punished by much more severe methods than were 'staged' by making them wear 'scarlet letters' for 24 hours, and at worst, tying the offenders to a post for two hours -- were all pardoned. Upon his return from his sudden, two-day jaunt into town, at the height of a labor shortage, Dominic should have been banished from the colony immediately. This is punishment in 1628? I think not."

"I found this to be a excellent, enjoyable, and informative series. I enjoyed all the colonists and especially the two governors. I found this to very educational and well done from the standpoint of not being predicatable; the colonists were a great variety of individuals interacting in a time of conformity. It was also very nice with the inclusion of the Native Americans. Like Mrs. Heinz, the second tribe made me think about the issues of Native Americans and how they were effected by the colonizing of North America. I feel this was one of the best shows I have watched on PBS, and I hope to be able to enjoy it again. Well done and thank you."

"I was so excited to see this innovative, exciting program. My children and I spent each night together, enjoying the show and having very interesting and thought-provoking conversations. My grandfather, 12 back, was Miles Standish. My daughter is also half Kenyan, and I am a former citizen of Kenya. Having both African and Colonial blood in my family, it was particularly interesting to hear about the African-American participants' experiences, and I wish we would have had more opportunity to hear their viewpoints. Thank you again for a wonderful show, and letting us be a minute part in such an amazing experience."

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