If you believe television producers, the end is near. The only thing they disagree on is whether it will be a rapid moving virus, slow walking zombies or mysterious acting aliens who provide the finale. We’ve seen such possibilities from “V” to “The Walking Dead.”
The way apocalyptic programming continues to grow, the end may come at the hands of a herd of TV viewers (or is it a clicker of viewers?) who have been sent over the emotional edge by all the death and destruction. Adding to the fodder that could trigger a viewer revolt is the launch of “Colony” on the USA Network.
This time the aliens have occupied Los Angeles. The locals are split between those collaborating with the invaders because that comes with some privileges and those who want their freedom.
Former FBI agent Will Bowman (Josh Holloway) becomes a key player in the struggle between the two groups. He’s trying to deal with the bigger issue of the invasion while trying to track down a son who got separated from the family during the invasion.
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“Colony” looks like another end-of-the-world program, but the creative team behind it suggest the show is very different.
Sarah Wayne Callies, who plays Bowman’s wife, Kate, is no stranger to tales of impending doom. She spent three seasons playing Lori Grimes in the AMC hit “The Walking Dead” before her character was killed off the series. Her character on the surface looks like the same role of dealing with a strange new world. The only difference is that she’s gone from zombies to aliens.
But she sees “Colony” as the exact opposite of “The Walking Dead.”
“I feel, actually, that in a way, this is the photo negative of the apocalyptic world that I just came from, which is to say that an apocalypse is about anarchy and about chaos and about the loss of control over people,” Callies says. “Whereas an occupation is about a hyper organized state that has absolute control over its people.
“The threat that we were sort of running from on the other show was a little nameless and faceless and disorganized. On ‘Colony,’ what we’re facing is a hyper organized adversary that we’ll never be able to outgun and we’ll never be able to sort of out intelligence. It’s a David and Goliath story.”
That structure comes from executive producers and creators Ryan Condal and Carlton Cuse. It was Cuse who helped orchestrate the mind-tugging stories of “Lost.”
They are looking at this series less like a world-ending event and more like the aftermath of a war. They see this new series as being a closer metaphor to what happened in Paris during the Nazi occupation during World War II or what is currently going on in Afghanistan. The mystery elements are in what is outside the walls surrounding the Los Angeles community and who is responsible.
There is a real hesitation to use the phrase “alien invasion” in describing the series. The producers have seen good TV projects, such as “Falling Skies,” that dealt with that theme. They didn’t want to be doing the same type show.
“It’s really an espionage thriller with a sort of sci-fi backdrop,” Cuse says. “We sort of felt like if you look at the history of the world, almost every country has either been a colony or a colonizer, and that experience of the kind of social dynamic of one group of people sort of having absolute power over another group of people was something we wanted to explore, and that was really what our thematic interest was in, and we wanted to find a contemporary way to do that.
“Also, I love kind of cross-genre storytelling, so the idea that we could have drones and these 300-foot-high metallic walls that would surround Los Angeles and sort of the spectra of this mysterious occupying force out there was something that just felt like it added to the storytelling. But, we didn’t want that to be the focus of the storytelling.”
- 10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, USA Network