By Quentin Basnaw
What happens when you take Sawyer from LOST at his best, Lori from The Walking Dead if she wasn’t insufferable, an awesome premise, a level of production value on par with movies, and a sprinkle of suspense building between episodes? The answer of course: you get Colony, a superb USA network TV series. The premise of the show is semi lengthy. Aliens ,referred to as “Raps,” have attacked Los Angeles (and presumably, the world) and forced humanity’s capitulation within eight hours. Massive walls surround different “colonies” in the world, each a being major population center such as Los Angeles. But wouldn’t ya know, a resistance movement supposedly led by a man named “Geronimo” springs up to fight off the Raps and their human “Collaborators.”
Enter Will Bowman, portrayed excellently by Josh Holloway (LOST), a man with an extensive past who wants to find his missing son. Will is joined by his wife Kate, portrayed by Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead), who is struggling to find her place in this new world. The show follows their exploits and how this couple ends up entangled in conflicting situations to accomplish their separate, yet still equal, goals. Both characters are interesting and are well realized. I have to hand it to Sarah Wayne Callies, because before this role, I did not like her. Now, I think she is superb. Josh Holloway can play varying versions of Sawyer from LOST for the rest of time and I wouldn’t be upset; he’s too good at playing sarcastic, street smart guys with heart.
Joining our leads is a host of characters that are also interesting, including but not limited to Eric Broussard, portrayed by Tory Kittles (CSI:NY). He is a member of the Resistance. Kittles portrays Broussard with a calm and collected demeanor, while adding layers to a character that should be the standard “muscle” for a resistance group. We also have Alan Snyder, a pathetic weasel of a man portrayed by Peter Jacobson (House). Snyder is the “Proxy Governor” over his bloc of Los Angeles, and will do everything to maintain his position of power. Interestingly enough, even though he does horrible things in the show, I’m rooting for him because it is implied there are worse people out there that are ready to take his place as governor.
Besides these (mostly) interesting characters, what the show executes well, in typical Carlton Cuse fashion, is create compelling situational drama and many mysteries. The situational drama comes, for example, from a tense scene that involves five different characters that all have their own motives that are forcing the others to make tough calls – yet not all of them know the extent of what the others are after. That is wonderful action and drama; at times you’re rooting for one character, then realize that an increasingly dramatic chain of events will happen if that character succeeds. Then you switch to another character, hoping they succeed. Then you realize the dominos that will fall over in that scenario are probably worse than the previous one. This continues per character – it makes it so you are invested in (most) all of them, but you aren’t sure if that character is the best option for everything. That makes most all of the characters feel necessary and important to this world, as their actions truly impact the story in meaningful ways.
As stated earlier, the production values on this show are stellar. Much like The Man in the High Castle, another show that requires a larger budget to create breathtaking scenery, Colony shows the utmost care in crafting sets that feel like a Los Angeles under control by an authoritarian regime. Propaganda lines the walls and billboards. The massive walls surround the community, casting shadows over significant portions of the city. The dilapidated and crumbling buildings left over from before “The Arrival” (of the Aliens) dot the skyline.
The only negative thing I have to say about this show is the storyline involving Kate’s sister. Where she eventually ends up is going to be important for Season 2, that is for certain, but how she ends up in that position had me checking my watch, making sure there would still be plenty of episode left for me to be invested in.
Please go watch this show! Its ratings aren’t terrible, but for a show with this much production value, it can’t be cheap to produce. Colony is a rare find that doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table, but is executed so well that it’s engrossing. Check out the first season on Netflix when you get a chance!