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Colony - 1.01 Behind the Wall (Pilot) - Advance Preview

From executive producer and writer Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) and executive producer and writer Ryan Condal (Hercules) comes a near future Dystopian espionage thriller and family drama.

In the first episode of a ten-episode first season, Colony manages to accomplish what is most important for a pilot, which is to set up the premise with some intrigue and allow it's viewers a taste of the world and characters it occupies.

We are introduced to a married couple with two children named Katie and Will Bowman played by Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison BreakThe Waking Dead) and Josh Holloway (Lost, Intelligence), but quickly discover that the at-first-appearance of the happy every day life of this family, is not as it seems. In 1984 fashion, it becomes clear the near future Los Angeles, California is on military lock down and that certain foods and medical resources are limited and have become rare commodities.

One of the unique things about the series so far is that it's science fiction and military aspects are not overwhelming and dominating the screen, but instead is filmed in a rather contemporary setting, allowing those elements to be more grounded in it's reality and ultimately giving a chance to be more relatable to it's viewers. It's not say that there aren't military assault vehicles and automatic weapons, drones, slave labor camps, damaged buildings, and jargon like "Redhats", "Raps", "Proxy", "Hosts" and "Blocs" to try and satisfy those with a more science-fiction pallet.

The production values are also decant and can easily compete with likes of premium cable tv series of that of Showtimes' Homeland or Ray Donovan. For being a Dystpoian drama, it's filming style is not overly dark or gritty, but clear, crisp, and often brighter visuals contrasting the reality in way that constantly tries to make one forget the severeness of it's military state, despite that it is present at nearly every turn.

Another positive aspect the series relies on is the repairing of LOST alumni Josh Holloway and LOST Executive Producer and Writer Carlton Cuse (Holloway is also serving as a third executive producer). For those that are looking for the better parts of James "Sawyer" Ford and have been mourning CBS' crime procedural Intelligence, you might be delighted to see some familiarity in Josh Holloway's new character! In fact there are a lot of little easter eggs that seem to wink back at LOST, one of which comes from a performance from actor Peter Jacobson.

Jacobson is playing a pseudo-villain named Alan Snyder. Without giving too much away, the Proxy Governor Snyder comes to offer Will Bowman a new job that also happens to be based on an old one. The character comes with some Benjamin Linus-like antics, but almost in mannerisms of minor LOST character Phil (a 1977 Dharma Initiative member paired up with Ford breifly during LOST's fifth season), coming off a bit cartoonish and more sociopathic than the deeper more serious performances of Michael Emerson. Over all Jacobson's character is easy to dislike, but messed-up and entertaining enough to wonder how he ever gets the occupation he has.

Although I am unfamiliar with actress Sarah Wayne Callies, like Josh Holloway, I suspect she may come with Walking Dead-esque similarities in regards to her character type. At any rate, both her's and Holloway's performances and story reveals were strong enough to hold my attention and keep the story together, --but I am not sure if it will be in the future, if the rest of it's cast doesn't start to help carry things along.

Another plus was introducing Will's and Katie's children: Bram and Grace played by Alex Neustaedter and Isabella Crovetti-Cramp, giving the series it's humanity to it's family drama. The episode only lightly explores Bram's teenage rivalry plights in this brave new world, which kept him from becoming a far too often seen cliche`, --but it is something the series will have to watch out for, if it doesn't want to be annoyingly predictable like other similar family drama series. Grace was mostly scenery and more of reminder of what Katie and Will have to loose, which in itself also relates to another plot reveal, that I will viewers discover for themselves.

Other characters we meet are Will's sister and nephew. They mostly offer a subplot that shows the state of the Los Angeles and allows viewers to witness Katie's brave resourcefulness, but that's not to say Maddie Bowman (Amanda Righetti) couldn't easily become a more interesting character, should more be revealed about her. There is also Broussard (Tony Kittles), a resistance member that relates to at least one of the Bowmans. He doesn't offer much, except for a contact reveal and a story about fighting back, but I am looking forward to seeing more aptly what the character is like and where he is coming from.

Ultimately Colony starts of well with two strong leading cast members, whose character's family and ideals become wedged between a rock and hard place in the wake of a mysterious invasion and, at times, provides an intense reality with something horrifically omniscient creeping within the military faction itself. It has good cinematography, good acting, and decant execution! Where it could easily go wrong is not setting itself apart from other similar science-fiction and family drama stories such as the re-imaged V,  the short-lived Terra-Nova, or currently successful Wayward Pines and Man in the High Castle. It needs to find ways to make it's other characters more substantial and interesting with better characterization and/or it needs to keep it's mysteries and turn overs moving in a more shocking and dramatic way.

About the Author - Darthlocke4
Laura Becker (Darthlocke 4) is a long time commentator, TV addict, and aspiring writer participating with other fans on SpoilerTV. She writes reviews and analytic type articles. Some of her other interests include philosophy, cultural anthropology, reading, drawing, and working with animals, as she grew up and continues to work on her family's horse farm.
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