Become an Outlier and help to save ‘Colony’ from network dystopia
It’s a tough old time for TV show fandoms right now, as a number of shows have faced the ruthless network axe while as the 2018-19 schedules are mapped out. One of the shows to face the chop is USA Network’s Colony.
Starring Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies, the dystopian alien invasion drama got off to a good start when it hit our small screens back in 2016 with strong ratings, launching it to the No. 1 scripted cable series on Thursday nights in total viewers.
Three seasons later and the show has garnered a strong and dedicated fandom thanks to its gripping storyline, compelling character arcs, and its fresh and surprising exploration of authority and totalitarianism.
Despite all of these high points and the fact that the third season was airing at the time, there was no trace of Colony at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. As Deadline reported, this was because the network was in fact laying the sci-fi show to rest. After 36 gripping episodes, Colony had been cancelled.
Some argue the reasoning behind USA Network’s decision points towards troubles the show faced heading into S3 when Colony didn’t land a California tax credit and was forced to relocate production from Los Angeles to Vancouver. The storyline was adjusted to accommodate the move, the show started airing Wednesdays, and ratings began to slip.
But instead of nurturing the show, listening to the fans’ reaction, or trialing new scheduling times and dates, Colony was cut with all the ruthlessness of a robotic drone vaporizing its human target.
Much like the similar treatment of such adored genre shows as Shadowhunters and Timeless, a feverish #SaveColony campaign has been launched by the fandom in a bid to call on USA Network and other streaming sites to pick up Colony for its fourth season.
As Twitter user TheJohnBaker2.0 said, “the show is still developing its storyline and characters in new and fascinating ways.” Elsewhere, The Kerb wrote, “Hey @netflix Please #SaveColony, I want to see the next chapter!!” and Darryl Staw declared, “Don’t let another great program get cancelled. Stop renewing junk and #SaveColony.”
Social media is awash with similar messages of Colony fans rallying to the rescue of the show. But the campaign doesn’t end there – a number of online petitions have been launched too, including this Change page aiming to get the show picked up by another network.
The fandom’s also launched a SaveColony webpage, with the inspiring description: “We, the fans of the television show Colony want either USA Network or another media outlet such as Netflix or Amazon or Hulu to pick up the show for a fourth season.
“There is precedence for a TV show to be saved by its fans. On Colony, the term ‘Outliers’ refers to those that are combat ready to fight for the survival of Earth. While the ‘Outliers’ are held in suspended animation to fight on behalf of an alien race and the ‘IGA’, ‘Outliers’ are also those who are rising up to be an insurgency.
“We Are The Outliers, fighting to #savecolony.”
And it looks like these Outliers are not giving up without a fight. But what’s the motivation behind their battle talk?
The show itself is a dystopian sci-fi series centering on the survival of humanity following an alien invasion and the power dynamics that strain between everyday people, oppressive regimes, and resistance groups. But as TheJohnBaker2.0 went on to say, “It’s not just sci-fi, it’s sci-fi that asks questions.”
As opposed to the slew of clumsy dystopian dramas out there, Colony dared to experiment with the genre while tying current societal issues into its narrative framework. Centering on former FBI agent Will (Holloway), his wife and rebel spy Katie (Wayne Callies), and their three kids, the family must try to survive in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, which has been infiltrated by elusive Hosts.
No one knows what these Hosts look like and instead citizens are controlled by a number of their AI drones, as well as governmental collaborators called Proxies and the Homeland Security unit (also known as the Redhats).
“Together these forces patrol the bloc, aggressively rationing resources and threatening any resistance against the occupation with death, or worse, lifetime condemnation to The Factory, an ominous work camp looming in orbit over the planet where toxic radiation that ensures human prisoners suffer long, slow, and painful deaths in service of the Hosts’ mysterious plans,” noted The Verge.
This relentless suffrage of course leads to an underground human resistance, with rebel schemes building tension throughout the show.
While the premise hints at themes and plot points we’ve seen time and again in previous and current sci-fi dystopian shows, a combination of stunning CG, complex emotional stakes, and characters whose arcs provide an intense scrutiny of human nature are what elevate this show above the cliches of the genre.
As the families move from one colony to the next, doing the right or wrong thing in the face of survival comes into question and the characters show how uncertainty, motivation, and deception can shape individuals when in a state of unrelenting anguish.
“What The Walking Dead has done with the zombie genre, Colony was trying with dystopia,” added The Verge, “exploring the political microcosms and moral transmutations that evolve and persist in the face of seemingly never-ending apocalypse.”
Perhaps one of the reasons the show is so innovative and surprising is that it comes from a deluge of talent behind the cameras, from directors like Roxann Dawson (The Americans) and Olatunde Osunsanmi (Star Trek: Discovery, Falling Skies) to a writers’ room filled with fresh, new talent. Colony utilized the voices of a truly diverse and audacious group of creative minds who no doubt would’ve taken season four into some exciting new territory.
In short, the sci-fi landscape looks a helluva lot less interesting now Colony is no longer on the horizon and the Outliers will continue to fight until they see their beloved show back on their screens. So what are you waiting for? Join the resistance and let’s see Colony survive another day.