Colony: New/Old Dystopian Dictatorship (Review)

USA network has gone for a new “old” story of occupation by a mysterious superior force that plunges residents into a dystopian society in Colony.

Colony - Pilot

USA network has gone for a new “old” story of occupation by a mysterious superior force that plunges residents into a dystopian society in Colony. Show creators Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Ryan Condal (Hercules) looked at occupied Paris during the second world war and asked how modern families and the average person would react to a new version of Nazi control.  In this instance, the controlling faction are mysterious in origin, the viewer has no idea where the “hosts’ come from or who, or what, they are.

The pilot takes place after the new hosts have taken over. Los Angeles is surrounded by an insurmountable wall and we meet the series protagonist, Will “Sullivan” aka Bowman, who  was an FBI agent before the occupation.  Like other law enforcement officials, Bowman changed his name and went “off the grid” after the new government was put into place by the suppressors.

Like the people of France, or indeed like the oppressed people from the director’s pervious home of Argentina in the 1970s, the show asks a number of questions. How far would you go to protect your family? Would you put your family’s safety over that of your fellow man? More importantly, would you be a collaborator or join the resistance?

Colony, in the pilot makes it pretty clear that modern man in the greater Los Angeles is pretty resilient. The blackmarket is alive and well. The barter system is used to purchase many things, including substandard insulin, which the new hosts deem unnecessary in an attempt to weed out the weak.

Will Bowman (Sullivan) is played by another Lost alumnus, Josh Holloway.  Working as a mechanic, Josh’s character is struggling to maintain an air of normalcy for his segmented family. He risks it all to find the son that was caught outside the city when the new hosts invaded and took over. 

Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead) is Will’s wife Katie, who appears to be equally capable and as tough as her ex-cop husband. The two have a splendid chemistry together, as do the two child actors who play their children.

The walled in city is patrolled by drones and a militaristic police force called “red hats.” Colony’s denizens face a life of fear, control, curfews, and being sent to “the factory.” Collaborators enjoy special privileges, in a way quite similar to the “elite” in “Soylent Green, just not quite so extreme.

The pilot looks interesting enough to warrant a longer look, i.e. checking out further episodes to see where this story will go. Colony could be seen as a modern morality tale based upon historical fact.

Colony - pilot
Josh Holloway – Will Bowman

A strong cast, along with a disturbing present day feel, makes this an interesting offering.  LA looks no different from what one might see while driving down to the local shop. Except, fences are topped with razor wire and the city itself is surrounded by a huge, shiny wall. Movement between blocs is strictly controlled and the new regime are hunting constantly to find members of the resistance.

The series will premiere January 14, 2016 on USA. Tune in and see what the world could be like under a non-benevolent dictatorship of mysterious hosts.