Extra-terrestrials have invaded LA and taken over governance of the planet through occupation and human collaborators. Survivors, if they are not collaborators, are living in fragile harmony in a totalitarian state. Safe, as long as they don’t upset the occupation or their collaborators. There is a resistance, but with a huge Donald Trumpesque wall surrounding the city, it is hard for them to work to make real change.
Colony focuses on the Bowman family.
Husband and father Will Bowman is played by now small-screen veteran Josh Holloway (Lost, Intelligence), wife and mother Katie is played by another small-screen regular, Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break, The Walking Dead). The loving couple with three children – Bram (Alex Neustaedter), Charlie (Jacob Buster) and Gracie (Isabella Crovetti) – have one big problem. One of their kids is not in their district. Charlie is across the wall in Santa Monica.
Will is a former FBI agent masquerading as a mechanic, a must for survival, as all previous law enforcement were hunted down when the extra-terrestrials first began their takeover. Katie is a barkeep, but she also keeps a few secrets. Bram is about to finish school, while Gracie is their youngest, and still attending.
The drama really begins when Will attempts to smuggle into the Santa Monica district to rescue Charlie, who was there when the walls came down (literally from outer space), and an attack from the resistance exposes Will’s plan halfway there, and he is captured. Prominent collaborator for the occupation, Alan Snyder (played by Peter Jacobson who excels in the role) then discovers Will’s true past as an FBI agent, and rather than have him and his family thrown into slavery, he forces Will to work for the occupation.
Working for the occupation puts a target on Will’s back from the resistance, as his job is hunting them down, and he’s good at it. But unbeknownst to Will, Katie is part of the resistance. These events spark up a number of issues. What will happen if Will discovers Katie’s secret? Will Katie tell the resistance Will is being forced to collaborate with them?
Resistance leader Broussard is also an issue, played very well by veteran support actor Tory Kittles. Katie does his bidding while Will hunts him.
The truth and lies become entangled in one another, and it causes mistrust. Will and Katie question each other’s actions as well as their own, and their relationship and decisions. Are the kids safe? Are they? Colony forces the couple to adapt at every turn.
The introduction of the occupation in Will’s life leads to special privileges. Once more, this affects the family unit, and questions are asked of what they’re doing.
While Colony is a sci-fi show, with some real tense action at times, it’s also a family drama. Everything is thrown at the Bowmans, and the effects on every member of the family are explored. The complexities of life under the occupation are real. Questions are asked about freedom and sacrifice. Would you fight? Would you submit? How do you sleep at night if you choose the wrong one?
The performances by Holloway and Callies are decent and believable, but the real winners are Tory Kittles (Dragged Across Concrete) as Broussard and Peter Jacobson as Snyder. Jacobson, whose mostly TV career spans nearly three decades, is perfect as a snivelling, conniving bureaucrat – think a real-life Charles Montgomery Burns, on a crazy power trip.
The extra-terrestrials are largely unseen – they rely on collaborators and automated technology to rule the roost. But it is an effective method.
Colony is essentially a show about a family stuck in a totalitarian state. The luxury of an unseen oppressor means the show can concentrate on the relationships between the Bowmans, Snyder and Broussard and test every character in every way, making it a fast-paced, but very engaging sci-fi drama.
Double episodes of Colony air on Saturdays at 9:20pm on SBS VICELAND. Episodes are available for a short time only at SBS On Demand after they go to air.
This week on The Playlist, Fiona and Ben ask if Australia is really ready for another round of 'Big Brother', we finally make it to a film festival - albeit virtual - with the Sydney Film Festival, we look back at 'Gladiator' and 'Westworld' in What Have We Been Watching and offer up SBS On Demand picks from the 'Sydney Film Festival Selects' collection and preview a new season of 'Filthy Rich and Homeless'.
This week Fiona and Ben recall the documentaries about racial inequality that have had the most impact upon them (13th, Burn Motherfucker, Burn!, I Am Not Your Negro, LA 92). Elsewhere in the episode, they review new releases The Great and Love Life, and they each recommend something from the SBS On Demand catalogue, for everyone still spending extended periods at home.