8:00pm PT by Josh Wigler
'Colony': Four Ways 'Lost' Inspired USA's Josh Holloway-Carlton Cuse Drama
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the series premiere of USA Network's Colony.]
It takes about two minutes to realize that something's wrong in the Sullivan household on USA Network's freshman drama Colony, which premiered on Thursday. At first, the biggest conflict in their lives centers on what to eat for breakfast: eggs or cereal. When Will accidentally cracks shells and spills yolk all over the floor, the matter seems settled, and both life and breakfast move on.
Then Will's son Bram steps outside to pick some oranges for the family, and we see something truly bizarre: Barbed wire lining the otherwise peaceful picket-fenced backyard. It's a moment that's evocative of Lost, the six-season science fiction series that told stories about tortured souls on a torturing island in the middle of nowhere, testing its inhabitants with high-concept mysteries, clashing ideologies and even the occasional polar bear — and this opening scene in Colony brings to mind the season-three opener of Lost, which focused on an apparently quaint neighborhood that was actually the headquarters of the island's indigenous and dangerous population.
Really, it's no shock to see the similarities between USA's new sci-fi series and Lost, considering two of the most important creatives involved in the latter show are driving forces behind this new endeavor: Carlton Cuse, executive producer and co-showrunner of Lost, as well as Josh Holloway, the snarky Southern confidence man better known as Sawyer.
In terms of setting, story and character, Cuse and Holloway's work on Colony is a long way away from Lost. But as far as themes and mysteries are concerned, the two shows share some DNA, with some small similarities that only the deepest cut Lost fans will pick up on, as well as overt connections between the shows. Here are some examples of both, as seen in the Colony series premiere:
1. The Name Game
Aliases were all the rage on Lost, particularly as it concerned Josh Holloway's Sawyer, whose real name was James Ford. Aliases are very much in play with Holloway's new character, Will Sullivan, who is actually Will Bowman, a prolific fugitive hunter who fakes a new surname in order to avoid detection from the alien invaders.
Beyond the "Sullivans," names from Lost echo (not to be confused with Eko) throughout Colony: Will's wife is named Katie (like Austen), their missing son is Charlie (like Pace, Hume and Widmore), the resistance leader goes by the name Geronimo (like fictional 1970s band Jackson), and a black market chemist's name sounds a whole lot like Eloise, the name of twitchy science guy Daniel Faraday's ex-girlfriend as well as his lab rat.
2. What Katie Did
Let's dial back to Katie Bowman, the co-lead of Colony played by The Walking Dead and Prison Break veteran Sarah Wayne Callies. Not only does her character share the same first name as the female lead of Lost, she also shares the erstwhile Evangeline Lilly hero's music cue.
In the pilot, Katie visits an underground insulin dealer in order to score medicine for her diabetic nephew. Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight" plays during the scene, a very familiar tune for fans of Lost; it was the musical avatar for Kate, ever since the character's first flashback episode (and second episode of the series), lasting through several future appearances. As if their first name and shared connection to Patsy Cline were not enough, both Katie Bowman and Kate Austen harbor deadly secrets from their closest loved ones and allies — namely, that they're both on the wrong side of the law, albeit for very different reasons.
3. The Big Bang
Both Lost and Colony begin with massive crafts descending from the sky, crashing into the lives of anyone lucky enough to survive the impact.
Of course, in the case of Colony, we only hear about the arrival of visitors from a world beyond ours — but we do see a form of crash, too, when an explosive attack from resistance fighters upends Will's truck as he attempts to sneak into an off-limits Santa Monica. Both crashes change Will's life forever; the first unseen arrival takes away his son, and the second gives him an unorthodox opportunity to find the missing Charlie. After six seasons of jungle living, Sawyer could certainly appreciate the magnitude of both events.
4. A Tiger Can't Change His Stripes
Make no mistake: Will Bowman and James Ford are two very different individuals. If anything, Bowman's more of the put-together police officer Sawyer glimpsed in Lost season six's sideways universe, and even then, it's a stretch; even at his season-five best, it was hard to picture Sawyer as a family man.
Still, it's impossible not to think of the quick-witted con man when looking at Holloway's new role, from his scenes behind bars (a la Sawyer's imprisoned stint on Hydra Island in season three) to his shirtless visage (a la virtually every other Sawyer scene). But the most profound contrast between Sawyer and Bowman comes when Will grills Proxy Governor Alan Snyder over his willingness to turn against mankind in favor of the visitors.
"I'm doing what anyone with a brain would do in this situation," Snyder responds. "I'm taking advantage of my opportunities."
It's a more verbose version of one of the great Sawyer lines, when the rugged con-man once defended his questionable actions: "Same thing I've always done, Kate: Surviving." We'll see if Will Bowman finds his way to the Snyder/Sawyer side of the philosophical aisle before all is said and done on Colony.