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.

 

The Walking Dead Season Six Episode 1: First Time Again (Review)

TWD_601_GP_0508_0387

The Walking Dead season six opener, First Time Again shows that there is still plenty of life (sorry, could not resist) left in this long running series about the Robert Kirkman verse of zombies that threaten Rick Grimes and his little band of survivors. The TV show has, somewhat, followed the comic and now, since last season, Rick and his crew have become part of Alexandria.  Albeit not without issues, as seen in season five, and the season six opener flashes back to the aftermath of the Pete shooting and Reggie’s death.

This episode sees Rick as General after the discovery of an entire quarry full of the walking dead that were hemmed in by several semi’s backed up to block all exits. This set piece also shows just why Alexandria was such a safe haven.  First Time Again is directed by Greg Nicotero and, as usual, the man provides an intense hour of zombie closeups (all the better to see the impressive walker makeup)  and some pretty tight editing.

The episode, which deals with relocating  the walkers in the quarry, has  what may be the biggest walking dead “walk” on television.  Grimes orchestrates an en masse move; herding the zombies to move past Alexandria and save the town from a future and  imminent  invasion. Rick  points out that any of the semi-trucks can topple over the edge and release the hundreds of walkers trapped there.  This actually happens while  they begin a dry run of the zombie exodus, a semi falls off the crumbling quarry edge and,  like a slow motion cork, the horde move out of the hole they have been trapped in.

Another minor storyline  is Carter, a denizen of Alexandria who may as well have “corpse” stamped on his forehead, or (if this was a Star Trek episode) wear a red shirt.  In a flashback, Rick says of Carter  (played with a doomed desperation by Ethan Embry) after they discover the man’s plot to kill Grimes: 

“I wanted to kill him. So it would be easier. So I wouldn’t have to worry about how he could screw up or what stupid thing he’d do next because that’s who he is. Just somebody who shouldn’t be alive now.”

As Carter proves later during the mass zombie shuffle past Alexandria he is not capable and despite his reluctant enthusiasm, and whole-hearted acceptance of Rick, the man dies at the hand of the man he initially plotted to kill. This, more than anything else, shows why The Walking Dead still manages to entertain and enthrall.

The show continues to sucker punch us. The deaths of the children in The Grove (in season four) Beth’s dying in season 5…While Carter was not with the show long enough for us to be vested in his character, it was his manner of dying that shocked. Rick trying to calm the hapless Alexandria resident who was just bitten in the face.  Carter’s shocked screams causing the walker parade to falter, and Grimes having to shove his knife in the victim’s head killing him and ultimately silencing Carter, allowing the walkers to resume their trek.

The result of this action was tantamount to a splash of ice-cold water in the face of the viewer.  Michonne and Morgan (Danai Gurira and Lennie James) reflect what the audience is feeling, although Jones’ reaction is more disappointed disgust, while the katana wielding warrior was more distraught that the world had come to this.

A walking dead “parade” was an impressive way to start the new season.  This was edge of the seat viewing where, in-between each and every sepia flashback, the viewer counted the ways this plan could, and eventually does, go wrong.  At the end of the episode, when that horn distracts the zombie marathon and the walkers head into Alexandria, there cannot be many viewers who did not feel this was somewhat preordained.

While the use of sepia to reveal the “backstory” of who did what and where the plan came from, along with the residual issues from last season was a trifle annoying, it was necessary as Nicotero was able to keep any confusion from hampering the storyline.   The flashbacks set up the present sequences perfectly and at no time did the viewer question what was going on.

Stand out moments:

Moment one:

The sight of all those walkers, what appear to be thousands, milling down that path, or “chute” and Daryl, along with Abraham and Sasha, leading them on, looking for all the world like pace vehicles for a marathon.

TWD_601_GP_0508_0106

Moment two:

Eugene still sporting that mullet, telling Scott at the gate:

“I fully respect the hair game.”

By the end of this episode of The Walking Dead, the walkers have been blown off course by the horn’s constant blaring and the previews of next week’s episode looks to be the beginning of the end of Alexandria. This was a excellent start to the season, well done Greg Nicotero, Andrew Lincoln and the rest.  TWD airs Sundays on AMC, tune in and get your  walker fix.

Emily Kinney and Norman Reedus in May to December Romance

PDA of Emily and Norman at Hulu Plus Event
While it may be a little unfair to refer to the news of Emily Kinney and Norman Reedus allegedly dating as a May to December romance, but to be honest a lot of months in this supposed relationship lay between the two. 46 year-old Reedus plays Daryl Dixon in the AMC cult hit The Walking Dead and until recently 29 year-old Kinney played Beth Green in TWD.

The two characters got really close in season four, after the breakdown of the group’s prison sanctuary, only for Beth to be kidnapped and then killed in season 5. Many fans of the show believed that the two would have become a couple in the show had the younger Green sister lived. Certainly Dixon’s reaction was on par with a man who just discovered his true feelings for the girl. There was even talk of a petition to bring Beth back.

In real life, according to Emily, Norman was very supportive, and still is, with her transition from The Walking Dead regular to singing at concerts. Firstly it was all about texting and showing up at conventions and singing gigs. This attention to Kinney has led to love according to a source close to the “new” couple.

Other media publications are full of pictures that seem to prove that with that much PDA going on, there can be little doubt that the two former cast members have found love between the cons.

Kinney was distraught and shocked to learn of her character’s death as were her many fans. Beth may not have existed in the comic book world of The Walking Dead, but she was a favorite in the TV verse. Sadly, her story was cut cruelly short just as the girl’s character arc made an upward swing. That Beth died so soon after growing so much was bitter and ironic, proving that she did not “need” Daryl apparently doomed the girl.

Reedus has been a fan favorite from the beginning. The crossbow carrying laconic character, brother of Merle, was rumored to be gay or have a thing for Carol. In real life, Norman, father of a 15 year-old boy, named Mingus, is now attached to Emily Kinney, although the romantic aspect of their relationship is a recent thing according to sources.

Looking at the pictures splashed across the Internet, the two seem to be in that delirious stage of the relationship where they find it hard to not touch one another. While a chorus of “awww’s” may be drowned out with loud hisses of dismay, Norman as Daryl is the show’s biggest “pinup,” the two do look very happy and excited about this recent development.

The Walking Dead Mid Season 5 Premiere: Greg Nicotero Rules

Thus far in season five of “The Walking Dead,” Greg Nicotero rules when it comes to handling those “difficult” episodes and the mid season premiere proves once again that the SFX guru is, perhaps, the most gifted director on board helming the popular AMC series. He has shown once more that his days of making a name for himself in the world of makeup and FX are finished. Clearly, in this apocalyptic show, Nicotero belongs in the chair directing more and more of the episodes…

Read the rest at Viral Global News

‘The Walking Dead’ Robert Kirkman Killing His Darlings

‘The Walking Dead’ Robert Kirkman Killing His Darlings

The Walking Dead, Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman have gotten the formula for success right, with the comic creator killing his darlings on the television show at opportune times. The voluntary sacrifice of Beth Greene, who does not exist in the comic verse of the dead, managed to skyrocket the mid season finale rating through the AMC roof. According to TV by the Numbers from zap2it, the viewing figures for Sunday’s episode reached 14.8 million. This particular feat is not unusual for the television show that is apparently the number one series in the country, even beating out Sunday Night Football a staggering five times this year.