Though the final season and finale were divisive (to put it lightly), Lost, the groundbreaking, controversial series from Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, did something wonderful for genre television: it opened the door. Other brilliant sci-fi series were on TV in that time, but Lost proved that audiences were clamoring for mystery, for fantasy, for science-fiction, for nuanced, complicated characters trapped in otherworldly circumstances. We’ve seen some amazing shows spring from that well over the past five years, from now-established series like Game of Thrones and Orphan Black to new hits like The Expanse. And while Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have emerged mostly unscathed from the wrath of fans who didn’t love Lost‘s swan song, some of us have been waiting for the actors who portrayed that show’s characters to grace our televisions again.
Colony, USA’s new sci-fi series, reunites Lost co-creator Carlton Cuse (Bates Motel, The Strain) with Josh Holloway, the smooth talkin’, secretly sensitive, swoon-worthy Southerner we all fell for on the island. Holloway has been in a few shows and films since Lost went off the air, but nothing quite worthy for his charm. If the pilot of Colony is any indication, though, we may finally have an intriguing new tale for him to tell.
Editor’s note: The following contains potential spoilers for the premiere episode of Colony.
Set in the near-future, Colony explores what it means to be under occupation from an outside, mysterious threat. Los Angeles has been taken over. Collaborators in red masks and body armor known as “Redhats” stalk the streets and enforce curfews. Terrifying drones scour the skies, searching for the underground Resistance, who fight back against “The Hosts” (presumably alien invaders), the Redhats, and “Proxies,” human elite who are collaborating with the invading force and capitalizing for their own personal gain. A giant, sky-high wall splits Los Angeles into three discrete sections, separating families from each other, and directing humans into zones for some unknown, insidious future purpose.
Holloway stars as Will Bowman, one of the many Angelinos whose family has been torn apart. His wife, Katie Bowman (The Walking Dead‘s Sarah Wayne Callies) and two of his children are safely living in Los Angeles Bloc, but his other son is on the other side of that wall, in the Santa Monica Bloc. Will is a former FBI agent who has a particular set of skills; before the Arrival, he investigated and captured some of the world’s most dangerous and most wanted criminals. After the invasion, Will and his family changed their names and assumed harmless identities as the Sullivans, so as not to draw any suspicion from their new Hosts…. until now.
The pilot follows Will and Katie throughout a day that turns their world upside down. After what seems like months of planning, Will takes action to get past the wall dividing Los Angeles and Santa Monica to go after his son. When he’s caught by the Redhats, he expects to be locked away forever, only to be taken to Alan Synder (Peter Jacobson), the Proxy Governor of the Los Angeles Bloc whose face adorns propaganda posters throughout the city. Snyder shows Will all the luxuries that Proxies and collaborators receive, and promises him that his life too can be better if he helps the Hosts track down the Resistance’s elusive leader.
Meanwhile, Katie is a bit more of an enigma. She attempts a trade with some folks making their own medicine, only to draw a gun on someone when the deal goes bad. She speaks in code to Will’s former FBI partner when he doesn’t come home and is ready to flee her home at a moment’s notice. When Will comes home safe and sound, he shares Snyder’s offer with her. Here, the two are much less restrained, and we get to see more of the tension between two people very much in love, struggling through both an occupation and grieving over their missing son. They both blame themselves — and each other — and are clearly dealing with the loss in very different ways. By the end of the episode, they are split: Will has agreed to help the Proxy for a chance to get their son back, and Katie makes an important choice of her own. In an unsurprising but fun twist, Katie is–you guessed it–a member of the Resistance, ready to report on Will’s mission to make sure humanity keeps fighting back.
Throughout the episode, Colony hints at some interesting details (why do the propaganda posters have Raptors on them? Is that what the aliens look like?), with more world-building and backstory to presumably be revealed down the line. It has the same mysterious tone as Lost, but perhaps knows that we need enough reality to keep the story grounded. The code-speak and secret allegiances bring early Alias and the New Caprica days of Battlestar Galactica to mind, and the premise is definitely promising. It’s too soon to tell if the series will fall into cliche or get too caught up in cliffhangers and “gotcha!” twists, but the first episode promises what we love about the genre: social commentary, compelling characters, and enough mystery to keep the plot moving. We’ll be tuning in to see what happens to Kevin and Katie–will you?
For a preview of what’s coming up this season on Colony, make sure you watch our pre-show special with co-creator Ryan Condal, Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne-Callies, and the rest of the cast, right here on Nerdist!
Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of the Legendary Digital Network.