Colony: Review: Series 1 Episode 1: Pilot

colony_s01e01_stillLos Angeles – a walled-in city under alien control. How far will a father go to find his lost child?

It may be because Amazon’s excellent The Man in the High Castle is so recent but this new series from Lost’s Carlton Cuse fails the “say something new” test quite spectacularly. There are a few clever visuals – the gradual realisation that something is wrong as the “normal American family” has a garden surrounded by barbed wire, or the revised street signs, particularly near the border – but we’ve had a series about LA under alien control, with quisling humans trying to keep the peace… and if it comes down to it, V the Series (the original one from the 1980s) had the edge on this.

Kudos to Cuse and his team for not starting with the clichéd alien invasion tropes, but any goodwill they gain from that is lost. The world-building isn’t done with any subtlety – there’s a scene where Sarah Wayne Callies’ character goes after some black market insulin, and we get about a minute of infodump about the current shortages with some of the worst “as you know” dialogue that we’ve had in some time. Plot developments aren’t that surprising – if you’ve seen World War II resistance movies, you’ll guess where the episode is heading quite quickly.

Verdict: In the current climate, shows need something a bit different to survive; on the basis of this pilot, Colony doesn’t have that. 5/10

Paul Simpson

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