High praise for COLONY, Season 2. In case you have not seen the first season, this review will contain a few spoilers for those first episodes, but none for season 2. You can read my review of Colony, Season 1 here
There is a third season of this show that will come to Netflix sometime this year (a few fan blogs predict as early as April 2019), having already aired on USA Network. Beware of going onto the USA Network site. You might stumble upon a few spoilers. USA Network features a number of still shots from season 3 in their promotion of COLONY.
The main reasons I recommend watching Season 2 is for the superb story and the characters. The writing is spot-on, a continuation of Season 1. Let me elaborate…
- The characters, whom the viewer has come to admire, love and/or mistrust in Season 1, develop and continue to feel real and relatable
- The mystery of the invasion is explained a bit more, but the story still holds plenty of tension
- The narrative continues to raise important moral questions around living under occupation…The moral conflict goes deep and is unique for each character. The show highlights this well.
I loved all of season 2, but found the early episodes incredibly fun to watch because they are a goldmine of backstory.
Season 1 of COLONY drops the viewer into an already occupied, alien-invaded planet. The viewer attaches to the characters first and then begins watching for clues to explain what is taking place. Even the characters living through the ordeal don’t know much. Some mysteries are explained, but many remain.
What is wonderful about season 2…Three key backstory events are provided.
- First contact with the aliens
- What took place on the actual day of the invasion
- How the invading aliens strategized with an early group of collaborating humans
Episode 1 of season 2 begins with another day in the life of the Bowman family, but in this case, it is the day of the invasion, hours before the wall comes down, isolating the LA Bloc from the rest of Southern California. (During season 1, the audience slowly learns that similar events have taken place in cities across the globe)
Packed into this episode is a window into how Snyder was chosen to rule over the masses.
Two men in suits, collaborators who know that the invasion is imminent, recruit him. They recruit him because he has embezzled from an educational institute for which he works. They recruit him not in spite of, but because his integrity is compromised.
“Even great men make two or three mistakes in their lives,” Snyder says, when confronted.
The men in suits answer: “It’s the choices you make today that will determine your future. All you have to do is say yes.”
Snyder says yes to this Faustian bargain. We already know he is an important character. The audience has followed his career, his successes and failures and the ways he has and continues to intersect with the Bowmans. His presence is constantly a tension, but always interesting.
Episode 2 is delightful as it gives a few interesting point of view shifts via some clever cinematography
- A view of what the Raptor’s see, those are the robotic drones (if they are truly robotic) that rule the skies on occupied Earth.
- A view of what lies outside the LA Bloc, including Santa Monica, but also beyond, outside of the Urban landscape
- A peek into the alien mindset and culture…I can’t say more without a spoiler
I’m looking forward to season 3, which might come to Netflix as early as April, but sad because USA Network has confirmed its end. Three seasons of COLONY and no more. That’s the bad news…the good new is…
Season 3 of COLONY is being touted as outstanding and possibly better than both the first and second. I look forward to watching it and following my binge watching, I’ll be sure to post a review here.
Short Review: 5 Reasons You Need to Watch COLONY
Watch it for the…
- Superb story-telling
- Compelling characters
- Action-packed scenes
- Subtle historic allusions that drill home how humans fail and struggle during an occupation
- Gripping mystery and tension
To order the first season dvd, click here.
USA Network’s COLONY has been around for a couple of years. The premiere of season 1 aired in January of 2016, the finale of season 3 aired July of 2018. The show first caught my attention as I was viewing CW’s The 100 and Netflix’s algorithm as if sensing my waning interest in the dystopian teen drama, suggested other shows I might be interested in. COLONY was at the top of their list. I decided to watch episode 1 and got hooked. I have watched all of season 1 and part of season 2. Regarding a rating, there are a few steamy sex scenes in the first season, but no HBO-style nudity.
COLONY is an alien invasion story. Aliens, referred to as hosts, occupy some portion of Earth. Writers of the series, Carlton Cuse and Ryan J. Condal, reveal the alien side of the equation incrementally, tauntingly so. Much of why COLONY captivates its audience is because of the tension associated with not knowing.
Not knowing holds true for the Bowmans as well, the family in the center of the story, living in a walled-off part of LA called the Los Angeles bloc. The audience follows them as survivors trying to maintain some semblance of family life post alien invasion. They manage okay, but are tortured by the fact that their middle child, Charlie, was at a baseball game when the aliens invaded. He remains in the Santa Monica bloc, separated from them. Will and Katie Bowman hold no power in the occupation and are struggling to find out how to reach their lost son. Holloway, of Lost and Wayne Callies, of The Walking Dead, give convincing performances as two desperate parents who will do almost anything to get their child back.
Will, former Army Ranger and FBI agent, joins the collaborators. He only does so after a his attempt to illegally enter the Santa Monica bloc goes wrong. Katie, without telling Will, joins the resistance and proceeds to spy on her own husband. The scene is now set for misunderstanding, deception and conflict at every turn. Episode by episode, the audience’s knowledge about the invasion grows.
Regarding the larger themes in COLONY, I am impressed by the way the writers handle the human side of surviving an occupation. A scarcity of resources creates desperate people. Fear and desperation drive the actions that follow. Types of survivors emerge. Collaborators range from being true believers, to pure opportunists. Women will sleep their way to the top of the food chain. In one character’s defense, she does so to obtain insulin for her diabetic son. Back-stabbing at the top of the resistance and at the top of the Authority accelerate. Spying and being spied upon become common place. The enemy invader has set the community against itself…just as Will and Katie have chosen opposite sides. The family embodies the societal breakdown.
Other themes in COLONY hearken back to 20th century history. The wall that divides a city is one, think Berlin, but the allusions to the Soviet State and The Third Reich don’t end there. The occupiers use their human collaborators to confiscate great art and a long scene in episode 2 portrays a group of prisoners forced to enter a shower in which they are all gassed.
I plan on going the distance, watching the remainder of COLONY (3 seasons total). Two seasons can be seen on Netflix. It’s unclear whether or not Netflix will buy the final season for its viewers, but it’s available to rent or buy on Amazon.