I am predisposed to like science fiction shows so it's probably not a good sign when part way through the pilot of USA Network's new show Colony I found my attention drifting away from the screen and over to my laptop. It's not that it was boring so much as that I just didn't care about what was happening to the people on my screen.
I guess the opening sequence which subtly revealed the status quo of the world (it's been invaded by aliens, spoilers!) through the lens of a family just going about doing it's normal morning routine should probably have been a clue about the sort of show this is. It's not about action or spectacle and it is all about the character interactions. Some people love that stuff, but it just kind of bores me most of the time.
To make matters worse the science fiction elements were barely in play at all. The invading aliens were never actually seen, just talked about and apart from a lot of drones flying around there really wasn't much sign of advanced technology or anything else. In essence what you have here is people being beastly to each other, because that's what people do. Which is frequently true certainly, but not something I need to watch because it's depressing.
Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies do yeoman's work trying to give their characters personality, but the script doesn't give them anything to work with. They are prototypical mother and father archetypes and the children don't even merit that much personality. Why should I care about these characters if the writers apparently don't?
There's certainly some potential to the series. We're obviously supposed to be caught up in the conflict between the necessity of collaborating to save your family and the drive to resist and throw off the oppressing aliens. But the aliens aren't present so it's hard to care much about them and right now the resistance is exactly like every stereotypical resistance group you've ever seen on tv. Compare this to the pilot set up for The Man in the High Castle which deals with some similar issues and it's a bit embarrassing really.
All of the above could certainly be overcome in the next few episodes if the characters are given some space to grown and show depth and if the villains of the piece get to become something more than jack booted thugs and paper thin collaborator stereotypes but they haven't given me a reason to come back and see that happen.
Even the hook at the end of the episode made me roll my eyes rather than perk up in interest. The last thing I want to see on tv is yet more examples of couples lying to each other in "dramatically interesting" but ultimately dubious ways when as the viewer I know perfectly well it will all come out and then everyone will be outraged and upset and...
You see there's really nothing terribly wrong with this show, but there's also nothing terribly right about it. It's full of familiar elements done to an adequate but unexceptional level and perhaps if you appreciate the family drama elements it will appeal more to you but for me it was simply dull.