An unexpected highlight of the 2015 San Diego Comic Con was USA’s upcoming original series Colony. The show, which comes from The Strain co-producer Carlton Cuse, had one of the most ubiquitous guerrilla marketing campaigns of the convention, generating a great deal of buzz for itself.
The premise of the show remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, but without attending its panels, it’s clear that this is going to be one intense thriller of a series.
Luckily, though, the Colony panel shed a good deal of light on the show. Now, when I say “a good deal,” you have to keep in mind that this is a show from the guy who helped bring us Lost – so I’ll let you decide just how effective it was.
As for the aforementioned guerrilla marketing campaign, which took the form of – among other things – military-ish personnel marching the streets of the Gaslamp District with red berets, we did get a good idea what that was all about.
Before I get into that, let’s discuss the basics. While USA is not known for its original primetime programming, so much as its epic Law & Order marathons, it does look as if Colony is poised to be the channel’s breakout hit.
Starring Lost’s very own Josh Holloway (aka Sawyer) and The Walking Dead’s Sarah Wayne Callies (formerly known as Lori Grimes), Colony takes place in a not-so-distant future version of Los Angeles, California.
In this reality, we have been taken over by a mysterious occupying force – which may or may not be alien in nature (with Cuse, at the panel, all but citing that old “I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens” meme). The mysterious force erects a massive wall, impenetrable except for those who are working with the invading party. There are those who choose to comply with the new world order and reap the benefits, but there are also those who opt to rebel and face the deadly consequences. Holloway plays a man in search of the son from whom he was separated on the day of the mysterious invasion. Callies plays his wife and the mother of their missing son.
Still, not much is known about the nuances of the show’s plot, but the audience at Colony’s panel was treated to an exciting 11-minute clip, which, it turns out, consisted of the uncut first eleven minutes of the pilot episode. I don’t want to give much away, but if you’re into science fiction thrillers, you’re going to want to check this one out.
As for the panel itself, it was some of the best fun I had all week. One of the best parts of this panel was that it allowed fans to draw their excitement for Colony from their excitement about the actors’ and producers’ previous projects. That’s not something you see very often at Comic Con, and it was wonderful. Lost fans were treated to a reunion of sorts, when Nestor Carbonell was planted in the audience to ask a question to Cuse about the show – dressed like his character Richard Alpert, at that! Adorably, his query was followed by one from a sweet young fan of The Walking Dead, who was dressed as Rick Grimes. Her question, for Callies, was in relation to that show.
In terms of Colony’s marketing plan for the convention, USA decided to go big, rather than go home. In addition to the marching formations of soldiers (who would give fans their very own red berets if they posed for photos with a soldier), Colony put a monopoly on convention transportation. The show offered free rides with Uber, which took place in marked SUVs driven by the same beret-clad military personnel patrolling the streets.
In addition, Colony sponsored the city’s bike rental kiosks, resulting in bikes that were pimped out with advertisements.
Wherever you went in San Diego, you would see Colony – and I don’t think those efforts were in vain. If I had to leave the convention with one impression of Colony, it would be that I had to watch it – regardless of the sour taste Lost left in my mouth.
Cuse assured the panel’s audience that, unlike Lost, the resolution for Colony has been decided and planned for, so there won’t be anything left hanging this time!
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