USA’s new science fiction drama Colony had one of the coolest promotional stunts at San Diego Comic Con this past year. Troops of red beret wearing soldiers marched through the streets of the Gaslight District. If you were lucky (like our very own Bustle Girl!) you were able to grab a selfie with one of the soldiers and earn yourself your very own red beret.
Now that the show has started though that might not necessarily be the best thing as the red beret marks you as a “Collaborator”.
But who is really on the right side and what is exactly going on in the world of Colony?
It’s clear that the Earth has been invaded by aliens and they have sectioned off the cities into “Blocs”. We don’t know how wide spread the invasion is beyond Los Angeles and Santa Monica as those are the only two “Blocs” mentioned so far, but the suggestion is that it is worldwide.
At the beginning of the pilot we are introduced to Will (Josh Holloway) and Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies) and their two children who are living in the Los Angeles Bloc. Almost before we have any idea of who they are or what is going on we are thrown in to the plot where Will is trying to sneak in to the Santa Monica Bloc to go and find his lost son whom he and the family were separated from during the arrival of the aliens.
Lets just say this doesn’t go so well and Will finds himself where no one wants to be. In the jail of the military organization of the Colony Transitional Authority.
In the meantime his wife is off trying to find insulin that can only be bought on the black market, diabetes it seems is considered a condition not worth treating by the aliens, known as the “Hosts”, and there is commentary that they are trying to “cull the herd”, and that goes equally unwell. She gets out of her predicament – unlike her husband, who ends up face to face with the Proxy Governor of Los Angeles who offers him the choice between the proverbial frying pan and the fire.
By the end of the pilot we know that there are many problems going on in this new occupied world (although the aliens have solved the problem of LA traffic by apparently outlawing cars). There is a Resistance against the “Hosts” and the humans that support them, known as Collaborators. The general population don’t seem to support either and just wants to be left alone to survive until the aliens leave. There are problems in the marriage between Will and Katie over the separation from their son. But whether it is Will’s guilty conscience or any true hatred from Katie is still unknown. And with the choice of either helping to hunt down the Resistance or have he and his entire family sent to The Factory, there is an even bigger problem between Katie and Will brewing that will take center stage to the story telling from here on out, but that would be spoilerish.
The acting is solid and the story, while not overly original, is interesting enough to have me wanting to invest another hour watching the next episode the same night as watching the pilot. Being the history buff that I am I’m fascinated that the inspiration for the show came from a picture of WWII occupied France where the Parisians continued their existence with a veneer of civility while Nazis marched through the streets. They have definitely captured that feeling in Colony. In fact, Will’s frustrated “What would you do?!” shouted after his wife walks out during an argument is the overwhelming theme of the show.
While you don’t expect them to lay everything out like a picnic in the first 50 min, I felt that they needed a bit more explanation on what was going on with the aliens. The constant heavy handed mystery of the Hosts felt more frustrating than enticing. I felt a little like a stranger in a strange land where perhaps I was the only one being left out on that vital information.
I also personally hope they invest in a few more steady cam shots as the hand held was both distracting in several scenes and caused problems with viewing the show on my internet which began to jump almost as much as the camera during certain scenes.
All in all though it is definitely one of the shows worth watching this season and I am looking forward to the season.
If you haven’t checked out the pilot online (and why not?) you can tune in to it on January 14th when Colony debuts on USA.