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‘Colony’ review: Murky, threatening futuristic series on USA

Josh Holloway as Will Bowman confronts a future

Josh Holloway as Will Bowman confronts a future L.A. in "Colony," premiering Thursday on USA. Photo Credit: USA Network / Paul Drinkwater

WHEN | WHERE Premieres tomorrow night at 10 on USA


WHAT IT’S ABOUT No spoilers, plead the publicists at cable’s USA Network — as they deliver a show where “no spoilers” means not explaining at all what the darn thing’s about.

Like I could, anyhow. “Colony” is as murky as its new Syfy sibling,“The Expanse.” But “Colony” isn’t set in space; it’s set in near-future Los Angeles. There’s been an “arrival” by some ominous power. (Aliens? Nazis?) There’s razor wire rimming the suburban home of a mechanic (Josh Holloway), his wife (Sarah Wayne Callies) and their two kids. But, wait — the fridge photo shows three.

They want their “lost” boy back. And they’ll do anything to make it happen, including turning on each other and turning on “the occupation” and/or “the rebels” (one or both are “terrorists,” anyway). And turning “Colony” into a procedural, despite its eerie edges. Holloway’s character is, of course, not the everyday dude he appears to be. That makes him a valuable agent to those in charge. Whoever they are.

MY SAY Just as life is sort of the same, but not, for the “Colony” characters, their show is sort of TV-as-usual — dialogue like “What do you wanna hear?” followed by “I wanna hear the truth!” Turns out “We live in a moment where we do what we have to do for the people that we love” because “The history of free men is not written by chance.”

Around this pap is much ado — tanks in the streets, deadly drones and a really big wall hemming in our family’s shrinking “block.” Tense music promotes an overwhelming sense of dread that’s just wearying amid this underwhelming framework. Co-created by “Lost” producer Carlton Cuse, “Colony” proudly sets up Big Existential Dilemmas while withholding the context the characters possess — the enemy, the stakes, the larger universe in which everyone operates. The episodes’ hectic “action” often lands perfunctory or incongruous, and character development languishes in favor of sex scenes and left-field encounters “to be explained later.” Will we still be around?

BOTTOM LINE Too bad USA’s mesmerizing brainteaser “Mr. Robot” got our expectations up.

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