COLONY Episode 1 Review

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We make the trip to post-invasion L.A for the pilot episode of Colony...


Colony is set in Los Angeles in the near future, a year after the arrival of invaders who have isolated the city from all those around it by an impenetrable 90 meter high wall. Supplies are thin on the ground, money has little meaning with trade being the way to get any essentials you need to survive. Fuel is restricted so there are no cars, nor is there internet access, mobile phones or television.

Exactly who the invaders are and what they want is not clear (presumably they're aliens, but I guess the bloody great big wall could just be President Trump's latest work). They have superior technology and run a strict regime complete with drone surveillance and a curfew. Some people have chosen to collaborate with them and benefit from the new order, others have joined the resistance and, if caught, suffer the consequences. Most people, however, are living in fear and just trying to do the best for their families under the circumstances. One of them is William 'Will' Bowman (Josh Holloway, Lost), a former FBI agent who, afraid that his past profession would bring harm to his wife and children, is now living under the alias of Will Sullivan and working as a mechanic.

Inevitably, for a pilot episode, Will fall into the hands of the L.A. Governor, Alan Snyder (Peter Jacobson), a man who achieved his position by seizing the opportunity to cooperate with the invaders after they arrived. Snyder gives Will an ultimatum, either he heads up a task force to track down the resistance or he and his family will be punished. Will eventually agrees to cooperate if the Governor will assist in tracking down his son who was on the other side of the wall the day of "The Arrival".

Overall Colony offers an interesting premise. Obviously one very much influenced by things like the Nazi occupation of Paris during World War II. For instance, there is one scene where the invader's armed forces, made up humans not unlike the Gestapo collaborators, suddenly arrive in an armored vehicle, grab someone out of a cafe and drag him away shouting without explanation, and without any resistance from his table-mates. Collaborate or resist. Either is a dangerous option.

US television has a good way of producing science fiction shows without blowing the budget on things like CGI aliens (or whatever the invaders turn out to be). Don't get me wrong, there are effects on view here, from the drones to the bloody great big wall, but Colony is more a character based drama with a science fiction premise and it relies heavily on its two leads to carry the series.

I've long thought Josh Holloway to be a good leading man for the small screen. He was always playing second fiddle in Lost, and Intelligence really didn't highlight his strengths, but Holloway could be on to a winner here. His character Will is a bit more of a polished version of Sawyer (think settled down, family man Sawyer) and has a genuine likability about him. I'm not so sure about Sarah Wayne Callies though, who as Will's wife Katie shares an equal amount of the story burden. I didn't really like her in Prison Break or The Walking Dead (but, with the latter, I don't think we were supposed to), so it's quite possible that my own personal judgement of the actress is affecting my feelings about her character. I certainly wouldn't turn-off because of her though, and I hope that as the series goes on she changes my mind.

Overall, the opening episode of Colony is a strong one. You'll see the, what one assumes was supposed to be a, 'surprising' final scene coming a mile off, but that only adds to the set-up presented here in the pilot. Where they go over the next 10 episodes should be interesting and worth occupying the couch for.

The pilot episode of Colony is available to view online now at USANetwork.com, with the series itself premiering on January 14th.

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