In the Colony pilot recap and review, we look at the newest USA series focused on an alien invasion and a family fighting to survive in a much different new world …
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It seems like former Lost show runner Carlton Cuse has his hands in more television shows than anybody these days, but he’s also been consistently good while churning out a new series every few months.
His latest effort called Colony — that debuted on USA on Thursday night — is a collaboration with Ryan Condal about a post alien invasion Los Angeles where citizens live in fenced off regions run by human collaborators who have chosen to work with the invaders rather than fight them any longer.
The story in Colony starts long after the alien invasion happened so in classic Cuse form, there’s plenty of room to go back (we have to go back!) and see how the invaders landed, the battle that took place between the aliens and humanity and how they ultimately overpowered and took control of Earth.
As we pick up in the pilot, however, Will Bowman (Cuse muse Josh Holloway) and his wife Katie (The Walking Dead’s Sarah Wayne Callies) seemingly live a normal, middle class life with their two kids in suburban Los Angeles, but this is only a mask to cover up what’s really going on outside these walls.
Aliens are not only in charge — giving orders but never seen (another big reveal that’s sure to come down the line) — but they have human overlords that dole out justice via a group of soldiers called the ‘Red Hats’, who are brutal and unrelenting with their discipline while enforcing a totalitarian government at all times.
While Will is a mechanic on the surface, underneath he’s actually a former FBI agent who specialized in ‘finding people’ and right now his only mission is to escape the Los Angeles zone and get to Santa Monica where his 12-year old son has been ever since the invasion happened and he was separated from his family.
Unfortunately, Will’s mission is cut short after a group called ‘the resistance’ (not from Star Wars) blows up his convoy and he ends up a prisoner of the Red Hats before being taken to a posh area of town called ‘the green zone’ where he meets up with Proxy Alan Snyder (played by House star Peter Jacobsen) — the man in charge of Los Angeles, who hands out the orders given to him by the aliens ruling the planet.
Proxy Snyder wants Will to work for him, employing his former skills from the FBI to hunt down and bring to justice a man named Geronimo, who leads the resistance from the shadows while undermining everything the government is trying to do to coordinate with the aliens until they finally abandon Earth. Snyder is convinced that the aliens will leave Earth one day soon but until then it’s better to get along rather than cause an uproar like blowing up trucks with bombs.
Meanwhile as Will is being treated to whiskey with the proxy, his wife Katie is trying to secure black market insulin for a neighbor while carrying a firearm around town, which is apparently a major no-no in this new alien ruled society. Katie is kind of a bad ass, who blends into the background as the average soccer mom but really she’s part of the very resistance that Proxy Snyder is trying to root out and destroy.
Katie’s secretive life is kept away from Will and the rest of her family as she tries to find a way to eradicate the aliens from the planet as well as the humans who serve them.
So when Proxy Snyder shows up to Will and Katie’s residence the next morning with an offering of eggs and bacon — a rarity in this new world — he needs to know if he has a new FBI bloodhound on his team or if he needs to prosecute his former prisoner for trying to escape the LA zone illegally.
Will agrees to help under one condition — that Proxy Snyder will eventually help them find and return their son home from outside the LA zone. Snyder agrees so long as Will plays ball and serves him obediently. Little does Snyder or Will for that matter know that as soon as this meeting is over, Katie heads to her secret location to converge with the resistance leaders to report that she is now inside the government thanks to Will taking a job with them.
Oh and one more small detail — Katie also tells them that Will’s new mission is to find and eliminate their leader Geronimo. Needless to say, Katie and Will have a lot to talk about over dinner.
Despite some rather cheesy and predictable dialogue, Colony showed solid promise with a killer cast and a great team behind them to keep this show going strong through the first season. Obviously there are pitfalls to a show like this succeeding — namely ignoring the back story about the alien invasion not to mention actually showing us at some point what the invaders look like but there’s plenty of time for that to happen. This show is one part V and another part District 9 and so far it works, but let’s just say I’m cautiously optimistic about what’s to come in the next few episodes.
The potential is there for Colony to be a fun watch every week. There’s also a chance the show dissolves into the prototypical alien invasion fare that hasn’t worked very often on television in recent years. Hopefully it’s the former and not the latter because USA has a chance to do something fun and special with a series like this running in the winter until Mr. Robot returns in the summer.
Maybe the network best known for Silk Stalkings is ready to turn the corner and become a haven for fun, original programming. Mr. Robot was a homerun right out of the gate. Colony has potential to get on base but whether this series scores or get thrown out at the plate remains to be seen.