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Title: Colony - Season 1

Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :1star:

HTS Overall Score:71

[img] http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=75609[/img]
USA Network has some fun shows in its lineup, but they are decidedly a “sunny skies” type of network that puts forth shows that tend to be riddled with first world problems. I mean, look at shows like “Burn Notice”, “Royal Pains”, “Suits”, etc. They’re all fun shows, but NOTHING in them is something that would be considered down to earth or overly problematic. Most of the issues are rich people problems that get solved with sleeping around, or business deals (well, except for “Burn Notice” and “Covert Affairs” which tends to be “fantasy spy” stuff that is just plain goofy fun). However, “Mr. Robot” came into the picture last year and completely shook up the genre. That brilliant show had more character development and depth in the first 5 episodes than most series do after a full season. Now they have branched out into the sci-fi genre with “Colony” and while it isn’t nearly as intelligent or in depth as “Mr. Robot”, does an admirable job at expanding the network’s skill set and creates a fairly promising first season for the fledgling series.

“Colony” explores the issue that come up when a larger and more aggressive force takes over another population, and the fallout that happens as a result. In this case its Los Angeles a year after an extra-terrestrial attack has taken place on Earth. The humans are now under the rule of this alien force, and the aliens have set up multiple tiers of control, with other humans lording over the masses, and enforcing their version of discipline and order in a world that has lost its support structure. Show focuses on one family, the Bowman family to be precise, and the tinted glasses that form their perception of the world around them. Father Will Bowman (Josh Holloway of “Lost”) is forced to become a collaborator with the aliens, while his wife, Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies) exerts her free will and joins the local resistance. The two have to choose their loyalties, as well as make their alliances in order to survive, and while there are several other recurring characters, these two particular people make up the brunt of the story.

There’s a lot of promise to “Colony” and a lot of enigmatic plot points, but there is also some downsides to that enigmatic nature. Hailing from some of the same creators of “Lost” you can be sure that the show takes its own sweet time getting going. In fact out of the 10 episodes takes a full 6 of them to really start getting into the plot’s major points, which can be a bit frustrating. Strangely enough, it seems like the showrunners are INTENTIONALLY keeping it as enigmatic as possible, much like “Lost” and that particular style of direction seems to clash with the stronger sci-fi elements of the show. Especially considering that USA Network is moving to shorter 10 episode seasons like “Colony” is following, so there is not as much time to insert filler and keep things under wraps like a full 20+ episode series would have the luxury of doing.

“Colony: Season 1” can be called bland at times, and that is true, but that doesn’t make in uninteresting. In fact the decidedly real world politics and interactions of the show make it rather compelling at times, and shows that the show has a lot of promise if the writers can find their groove. However that blandness also stems from the fact that those real world politics don’t give the show its own life. “Colony” is taken from real interactions and real emotional situations so there isn’t a whole lot of room for the show to say “hey, I’m unique!”.

With a guaranteed season 2 I’m really hoping that creators Carlton Cuse and Ryan Condaly can fuse something more engaging into the series and pull the potential out into the limelight. The first season was a bit subtle (almost TOO subtle at times), but there is still more than enough entertainment to have me curiously looking forward to season 2.

The Episode Rundown is as Follows

1. Pilot
2. A Brave New World
3. 98 Seconds
4. Blind Spot
5. Geronimo
6. Yoknapatawpha
7. Broussard
8. In From the Cold
9. Zero Day
10. Gateway


NR by the MPAA

Video :4stars:
“Colony: Season 1” comes to Blu-ray with a rather nice, if not fairly generic, USA Network style DVD encode (for those of you wondering what a “USA Network” style look is, just take a glance at any of their shows. They all seem to sport the same slightly stylized and sun kissed look between them all). There are a few differences in this show though, with the main one being that there is not nearly as much brightness and sunny landscapes as many other USA shows. Dim lighting surrounds the gloomy city of L.A. and the Bowman’s are forced to do some underground stuff which results in lots of dimly lit scenes that occasionally show some black crush and some digital noise. Detail and image clarity are solid enough for a 480p DVD and the image looks quite nice except for those darker bits that show noise and crush as I mentioned before.

Audio :4stars:
Sound design is simple and straight forward, but still more than satisfying for the listener. Given a single 448kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the show maintains a strong front presence with good vocals and solid channel separation throughout the show. There are moments of boisterous activity and plenty of action sequences that get the surrounds going, but there is also a goodly amount of subdued scenes that rely heavily on vocals as the main source of sound, where the surrounds tend to fade into the background more than anything. LFE is impressive and shows some ferocity here and there, but also some rather nice distinction and tonal changes as well.

Extras :1star:

• Deleted Scenes
• "Colony" Behind the Wall

Overall: :3.5stars:

The verdict is that “Colony: Season 1” has a great premise and a solid cast and some really disturbing socio-political undertones that really engage the viewer. I will admit for some blandness and unoriginality to many of the interactions, but you can almost TASTE the potential of the unique situation that is at hand and I truly hope the series can go from rather interesting to really good in the next season. Audio and video are about on par with a modern new release TV show on DVD and the interesting premise alone begs me to recommend this show, so I will give a solid single thumbs up as a good watch for those who enjoy a good sci-fi drama.

Additional Information:

Starring: Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies, Peter Jacobson
Created by: Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: Universal
Rated: NR
Runtime: 444 Minutes
DVD Release Date: July 12th, 2016

Buy Colony: Season 1 DVD on Amazon

Recommendation: Solid Watch

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