Fans of the post-apocalyptic drama series Colony on USA Network were devastated when the series was canceled on July 21, 2018, after three successful seasons. The series premiered at Comic-Con in 2015 and attracted immediate attention for its gripping storyline and well-drawn analogies to the French Resistance during WWII.
Critics praised the show’s fresh take on a genre that has grown saturated with brainless “young adult” dystopian worlds and at first Colony earned good ratings, with 2.2 million viewers. Over the first two seasons, Colony was the #1 scripted cable series on Thursday nights.
Unfortunately, the show’s ratings declined in the third season. Fans and critics speculated that this occurred partially because after failing to win a California tax credit for shooting in Los Angeles, filming was moved to Vancouver BC.
The show may also have lost some focus as one of its co-creators and executive producers, Carlton Cuse, left the show to concentrate on his new Jack Ryan series for Amazon. During the third season, the show dropped to 1.3 million viewers, one of the lowest average viewerships for dramatic programs on cable. On July 21, 2018, the cancellation of Colony was announced; there would be no fourth season.
Is it possible that Colony will be brought back from the dead by Netflix, Amazon Prime, or some other streaming service?
Colony TV Series
The Colony TV series was well-written, with industry veterans Carlton Cuse and Ryan Condal penning many episodes. The premise of the show was relatively simple: Earth of the near future has been occupied by alien invaders who have taken over the entire planet, sealing off entire cities with enormous structures and essentially enslaving the populace.
The main characters were the Bowman family, separated from their child and trying to survive while reuniting the family. The family patriarch, Will, (ably portrayed by Josh Holloway) is coerced into agreeing to work for the invaders, while his wife Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies) has become a member of the resistance.
Season one of Colony began by setting up the background and establishing the characters. The storyline was credible and balanced a swift-moving plot with good character development. The main plotline followed the struggle of the Bowman family to stay together while fighting against occupation.
Season two of Colony started by filling in some gaps about the invasion and about what happened to Los Angeles at the time of the alien incursion, before moving back to following the Bowmans as they struggle to find their son. The tension escalates as Will and Katie come into conflict, pursuing similar goals but by different methods.
Season three of Colony skips ahead several months and reveals that the Bowmans left Los Angeles and are now hiding in a cabin in the woods before being forced on the run. They discover a Resistance outpost which leads to a dramatic season (and series) finale as they must face a choice about what side to be on.
Colony Character & Season Summaries
We don’t want to give away too much for those who haven’t watched the show, but here is basic information about the characters and the plotlines of the first three seasons.
Will Bowman – Played by Josh Holloway. Will Bowman is a former FBI Agent and Army Ranger who is searching for his missing son, Charlie.
Katie Bowman – Played by Sarah Wayne Callies. Katie Bowman is Will Bowman’s wife, who secretly works for the Resistance.
Alan Snyder – Played by Peter Jacobson. Snyder is the initial governor of the Los Angeles area and works openly with the aliens.
Maddie Kenner – Played by Amanda Righetti. Kenner is Katie Bowman’s younger sister.
Eric Broussard – Played by Tory Kittles. Broussard is a resistance operative and is Katie’s contact.
Bram Bowman – Played by Alex Neustaedter. Bram is Will and Katie Bowman’s teenage son.
Grace Bowman – Played by Isabella Crovetti. Isabella is Will and Katie Bowman’s preteen daughter.
Charlie Bowman – Played by Jacob Buster. Charlie is Will and Katie Bowman’s younger son, who was away from the family when the aliens invaded and the wall went up.
Alexander Quayle – Played by Paul Guilfoyle. Quayle is a leader of the LA resistance.
Amy Leonard – Played by Peyton List. A physician in the resistance.
Betsy – Played by Keiko Agena. A worker at Homeland Security.
Bob Burke – Played by Toby Huss. Will Bowman’s partner at Homeland Security.
Bolton Miller – Played by Carl Weathers. Bolton is a Homeland Security officer who works with Will Bowman.
Charlotte Burgess – Played by Kathryn Morris. Maddie’s boss.
Dan Bennett – Played by Christian Clemenson. The head of Homeland Security.
Eckhart – Played by Charlie Bewley. A member of the LA resistance.
Everett Kynes – Played by Wayne Brady. Head of the Seattle colony.
Helena Goldwyn – Played by Ally Walker. Goldwyn later becomes governor of the LA colony.
Hennessey – Played by William Russ. A former spy.
Hudson – Played by Cooper J. Friedman. Hudson is Maddie Kenner’s son, who has diabetes.
Jennifer McMahon – Played by Kathleen Rose Perkins. A Homeland Security Agent.
Lindsey – Played by Erin Way. Gracie Bowman’s tutor.
Morgan – Played by Bethany Joy Lenz. A member of the LA resistance.
Noa – Played by Meta Golding. A member of a resistance cell from outside LA.
Nolan Burgess – Played by Adrian Pasdar. An important figure in the occupational government.
Phyllis – Played by Kathy Baker. Phyllis is Will Bowman’s boss at Homeland Security.
Rachel – Played by Kim Rhodes. Rachel is a resistance member and physician.
Scott Garland – Played by John Hoogenakker. A military officer hunting resistance members in California.
Sgt. Jenkins – Played by Mac Brandt. A guard in a labor camp.
The Plot Of Season 1
In season 1, we are introduced to the Bowman family, most of whom live in the occupied Los Angeles colony. Will is coerced into working for Homeland Security as an agent by threats to send his family to the Factory, a lunar outpost where slave laborers work to mine radioactives for the aliens. Kate Bowman sides with the Resistance and begins working against the occupiers and spying on her husband. Will begins to question Kate’s loyalties as events unfold. At the end of the season, the resistance captures a high-valued hostage and the LA block is placed on lockdown.
The Plot Of Season 2
Power dynamics inside the LA colony shift as various factions make different plays for power. Charlie Bowman returns home, while Katie struggles with whether or not to stay part of the Resistance. The Bowmans begin looking for ways to escape from Los Angeles. The family discovers that the entire colony is scheduled to be sent to the factory on Luna, and escapes into the wilderness.
The Plot Of Season 3
The Bowmans are living a simple existence in the mountains when an alien ship under attack flies past their cabin. Will and Katie attempt to re-establish contact with the resistance and seek out the Seattle colony. Civil war looms as the season ends on a cliffhanger note.
Why Did Colony End?
Fans of the show never got a clear-cut answer as to why the show came to an end, although speculation about causes was rampant and the show’s falling ratings speak for themselves. Showrunner and executive producer Ryan Condal sent out a Tweet regarding the reasons for the cancellation, but provided little hard data , saying only: “Colonists, Thank you from the bottom of my stone heart for all your passion and effort. But, sadly, #Colony is dead. The reasons are complicated, mostly dumb, and would provide little comfort. But know that @WesTooke and I shall return with new things from new places.”
The efforts refer to the multiple petitions and activities the fans, or ‘Colonists’ launched to try to convince USA Network to change its mind.
Den of Geek  had this to say:
“Colony got off to a strong start for USA. It was the most-watched scripted cable series on Thursday nights for its first two seasons. Then the show lost a crucial California tax credit and was forced to relocate to Vancouver, and ended up changing its storyline to accommodate the move. Since then, ratings slipped to among USA Network’s lowest.”
What’s The Likelihood Of Netflix Picking Up Colony?
It isn’t flatly impossible that Netflix, Amazon Prime, or some other streaming service will pick up Colony and resume making episodes. Streaming services are always hungry for content, and picking up an existing program with a pre-existing fan base is a decision that’s been made before.
It certainly seems true that USA Network is not interested in reviving the property; they are putting their time and energy into their new Purge series partnership with SyFy. There is a hardcore Colony fan base who have attempted to pressure the networks into a reboot with at least two  different  petitions.
On the negative side of the ledger, shows like Colony are relatively expensive to produce. They use expensive special effects and are heavily reliant on location shooting, which adds to the budget. And although Colony attracted strong critical support from its audience, the loyal fanbase remained relatively small. Critical success is great for a cable show, but it isn’t what pays the bills.
Still, those loyal fans haven’t given up. The Colony community’s petitions of 37,000 signatures  should be compared to the pre-Internet petition by hard-core Star Trek fans who successfully petitioned to win the classic show a reprieve from cancellation in 1968 and 1969. The Star Trek campaign generated more than a million letters – letters, written on pen and paper and sent through the mail. Unfortunately, Colony’s fans, though steadfast and loyal, haven’t demonstrated the kind of public support that makes streaming network executives want to risk money on a show that has already failed.
What Do We Know Now?
As of November 2020, there are no networks talking about picking up the show to produce the missing seasons. The last we’ve seen is an article in SyFy  where Josh Holloway discussed his reaction to the showing ending so abruptly. Holloway did state that the producers did have a five-season plan rather than only four seasons.
TechJunkie will, of course, continue following the story, and if there are future developments we will definitely report them. For now, Colony is dead, and there are no signs of resuscitation on the horizon.
So you should be able to find something great to enjoy even if Colony doesn’t come back!