Review by Lauryn Angel
Colony is a difficult show to categorize. On the surface, it seems like science fiction – it is an alien invasion story, after all – but aside from some futuristic technology, that doesn’t seem to fit. Aside from references to “the Arrival” or mentions of “The Authority”, there is no evidence of aliens. At other moments, it’s a police procedural. At still others, it’s a family drama. This is part of what makes Colony so watchable – you’re never sure where it’s going next. Add to this the fact that there are plot twists several times an episode, and the show becomes both compelling and frustrating.
The show focuses on a family in the Los Angeles block – an area of Los Angeles cut off from the rest of the world by an imposing metal wall. Residents of the block aren’t even sure whether the rest of the world exists anymore – even at the highest level. The class system is very much in place, as those who collaborate with the aliens, and are thus the wealthy and powerful, live in a highly secure Green Zone, whereas everyone else – such as our hero Will Bowman (Josh Holloway) – live in tightly controlled neighborhoods patrolled by storm-trooper-like Red Hats. Movement between blocks is highly restricted, but as long as the citizens follow the rules, their lives seem strangely normal. Rule violators are sent to “the factory,” which certainly sounds ominous, but, like the aliens, isn’t shown to viewers.
Will Bowman and his wife Katie (Sara Wayne Callies) make choices motivated by their missing son, Charlie, who was separated from them during The Arrival and is reputedly in another block. Again, though, we are not shown the child, except in photos, so we, like the Bowmans, don’t know whether the risks they take will pay off. Meanwhile, parties such as Proxy Alan Snyder (Peter Jacobson) do not hesitate to use Charlie as leverage to manipulate Will and Katie.
The first three episodes of Colony are dedicated to world-building and character development, and, as such, are a bit slow. But those episodes throw out quite a few plot threads that pay off in later episodes. Colony is a show that cannot be judged by one episode – or six, even – as it constantly ratchets the tension and turns the plot yet again.
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