Monday, January 18, 2016

Pilot Review: Colony

Colony (USA)
Premiered January 14 at 10pm

For not necessarily existing in real life, aliens sure do show up a lot in movies and on TV. The latest network to jump on the bandwagon is USA, which offers up this new series about people living in colonies created by unknown “hosts” who invaded some time ago. It’s not actually said at any point in the pilot that they are in fact aliens, but I think that’s to be assumed, and series descriptions indicate that as well. I spent a while watching “Falling Skies” hoping for some exciting science fiction content and never really found out, partly because the aliens didn’t appear as frequently as they should have. This pilot leaves plenty to be desired, offering up a variation of the same kind of dystopian universe we’ve seen in so many other shows, most recently “Fear the Walking Dead.” The two leads are carefully cast to conjure up fond memories of genre staples “Lost” and “The Walking Dead.” Josh Holloway became one of the best parts of “Lost” as the show went on, and his follow-up series, “Intelligence,” fizzled quickly. I always found Sarah Wayne Callies relatively obnoxious on “Prison Break” and “The Walking Dead,” and here she’s no different, fully confident in herself but just as eager to get into trouble and then look frazzled that someone is actually coming after her. The truck blowing up and leaving just Holloway’s Will standing there by himself was an interesting twist midway through the episode, and Peter Jacobsen’s Proxy Governor certainly paints an idyllic portrait of the collaborator life and all the perks that come with it. Callies’ Katie being a ringleader in the resistance throws a definite wrench into it, and there spouts the intrigue that isn’t enough to bring me back for a second round.

How will it work as a series? The stakes are incredibly high, and surveillance seems to be very strong on Will, which suggests that Katie moving freely won’t last long, unless they think they can implicitly trust Will. Much of this show’s ability to keep its audience captivated will depend on how much of the world it can show, and how much the “hosts” play a part in that.
How long will it last? It’s hard to find any ratings data, so I’ll go based on reviews, which have been mixed but generally more positive than negative, and the fact that USA seems to be rebranding to a degree. This show fits a lot more with “Mr. Robot” than with many of the more lighthearted shows it has aired over the years, and so I suspect that this show may stick around for another few seasons.

Pilot grade: C

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