When it comes to original programming, USA Network is a ham-and-cheese sandwich. Dependably non-different and perfectly fine if you like that sort of thing. (Plus, most of their shows center on two main characters: ham and cheese.) They’re potentially trying to alter that model with a few new additions to the line-up, and they’re returning to the sci-fi genre with a pilot order for Carlton Cuse’s extraterrestrial-filled drama Colony, which the network added to its development slate back in May.
Lost co-creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof have both worked on films involving aliens, so former showrunner Cuse might as well get in on that and see if he can come up with something better than they did. He and co-creator Ryan Condal (Hercules) wrote the pilot script and both men will executive produce. (Cuse and Condal also worked together on the pilot for the comic adaptation The Sixth Gun, though it wasn’t picked up to series.) This is the first scripted TV deal for Legendary Television, so you can be damned sure it will have a pretty hefty budget pipeline constantly flowing.
Colony is a “naturalistic drama,” according to Deadline, and takes place in Los Angeles at a point in the future when aliens have not only come down to Earth but have also forced mankind into living by their rules. Some are fine with helping the aliens out, while others would prefer to fight against the otherworldly powers that be, suffering whatever consequences that come to them.
At the story’s center is one family living amid the occupation, forced to make difficult decisions that obviously won’t please everyone involved. Plus there’s the whole “safety of humanity” thing to serve as background noise. With the right actors serving as the family, this could result in an interesting tale of biological loyalty and revolution. And with the wrong one…well, we’d prefer to hypothesize positive outcomes at this point.
This will be Cuse’s fifth current television project currently in some form of production. He has the Psycho prequel Bates Motel and the Americanized version of The Returned, both at A&E, as well as FX’s The Strain and the Civil War pilot Point of Honor, which is set up for Amazon’s next Pilot Season. Can the world handle that much Carlton Cuse?
Meanwhile, this is USA’s first big sci-fi project since the cult favorite The 4400 left the airwaves. There was a really interesting alien-based drama taking place in WWII called Horizon, but the network passed on it. Will the futuristic setting make them more favorable to Colony?