I was sick again at the end of last week. My son turns one this month, and to be honest I was a little surprised I hadn’t gotten sick more often this past year. I guess it’s catching up with me now.
One thing I did while I was out of it was watch a lot of Colony on Netflix. This one flew under my radar, and apparently everyone else’s. USA canceled the show last summer after three seasons. If you’ve never heard of it, Colony was a scifi drama about aliens coming to Earth and basically penning in what humanity it spares. The show set in present day, which is interesting. The aliens swoop in, knock everything out with EMP, wipe out a big portion of the world, and plunk down these big walls around a number of major cities, creating “blocs” like the Los Angeles Colony, where the show is initially set.
I can’t say they made a big mistake in scrapping it. I enjoy the show and will watch the third season if it ever comes to Netflix, but it was struggling to compete in an oversaturated entertainment market, and it’s got its flaws. And they are tired flaws. For one thing, everyone is morally compromising. Yes, it’s another one of these survival shows (perhaps like The Walking Dead) that really likes to hammer at “you do whatever you have to in order to survive.” Yes, people struggle with some of the things they have to do. But it gets old after a while.
It also had this arch about people being brainwashed by a false new alien-worshiping religion. The mother acts to counter this programming in her daughter by introducing her to a whole bunch of other religions with similar stories. They read the Bible, the Koran, Buddhist text, etc. She then tells her daughter to think and choose for herself. As if all religions are equally valid and as if children (or even most adults) are well-studied and critically-thinking enough to choose their own faith.
One of my first reactions was actually to be surprised that the girl didn’t seem that familiar with Christianity. But hey, this is California, so.
The show did have a good pacing, though, and some interesting characters. The action and effects were good. And things kept coming back around to the importance of family, which is a lesson I can appreciate. The protagonist parents ultimately weren’t fighting to save humanity; they were fighting to protect their kids and each other.
Speaking of characters, Colony seemed to cast quite a list of “what ever happened to” actors. Josh Holloway, who most people would recognize as Sawyer from Lost, impressed me as Will Bowman, and I hope to see him in more leading roles in the future. His performance as an ex-military/intel guy just trying to keep his family safe convinced me. His wife, Katie, was played by Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori from The Walking Dead). Callies seems to have a penchant for playing annoying wife characters; though I think Katie was better-written than Lori, which made her ultimately more likable for me.
Carl Weathers shows up a lot in Season 1, and I also recognized Adrian Pasdar (Nathan from Heroes) and Laura Innes (Kerry Weaver from ER).
Ultimately I enjoyed my time with Colony. It had a solid premise and cast. I just wish it could have gotten away from the same modernism-infected writing that we see in too much SFF these days. If you’re a scifi fan who can get past the fact that the show was canceled before its proper end (and from what I’ve been reading online it actually went out at a high point its story, unfortunately) and who can look past the periodically clumsy/nihilistic writing, I’d still recommend checking it out.