Tonight the invasion drama Colony
returns for its second season on USA Network. The series follows survivors of an invasion living in occupied Los Angeles and centers around a family trying to survive while facing moral dilemmas that threaten to tear them apart. Co-creator and executive producer, Ryan Condal, recently talked to SciFi Vision in an exclusive interview about season two. SCIFI VISION: Can you talk about the decision to start with a flashback episode as opposed to jumping right back in where the story left off? RYAN CONDAL:
Because we immersed everybody and sort of dropped everybody into the world last year without any grounding or explanation, I think there was a desire and hunger for that. And it was always something that we were interested in, visiting that part of the story, but, you know, given our show's roots in Lost
, I in particular was always very sensitive about the, quote-unquote, "flashback device." So I thought it'd be really interesting after where we left everything last season, to commit to sort of what we're calling a "prologue episode," that, for me, was a fascinating way to explore who these characters all were before this really seismic event happened in the city and changed their lives forever.
And while it's fun to see the drones arriving in Los Angeles, the EMP attack, and the walls descending and everything, for me, as a writer, the fascinating thing that drew me to wanting to do that episode, was getting to tell the little character stories about who everybody was before this all happened and seeing the subtle differences, you know, in Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Will (Josh Holloway), and the not so subtle in Snyder (Peter Jacobson) and Broussard (Tory Kittles), before the invasion, because when we meet everybody in the pilot, we're all basically a year into this thing and occupied LA has settled in, for lack of a better word. Will we be seeing more of these throughout the season, or is it a sort of "one-and-done" thing for now?
No promises, but the idea was to kind of do it all at once and tell the story and reset a little bit.
And I think the advantage, too, is that in this world of television, where people like yourself have 450-something TV shows to comb through, we thought it would be nice to offer up a kind of second pilot, to be honest, with the audience, so that people that became interested in the show didn’t feel the burden of having to go back and watch ten hours of television just to drop into this new thing that they might be interested in.
So even though I want everyone to go and see the first season and experience all the things that we’ve created in the show, I think this episode is a great way for someone who hasn’t seen anything to just drop themselves in the show and pick up and follow along. And hopefully, we will find some fans that way. Speaking of the invasion, that leads me into another question. Are we ever going to see anything from the perspective of the invaders?
That’s a tough one to answer. I would say stay tuned, but Colony
’s DNA has always been the alien invasion show that isn’t about the aliens. It’s the alien invasion show that’s about the human reaction to the invasion and what it’s like to be living on the ground as somebody who’s been invaded by a much more advanced civilization.
And if you imagine the experience of the Afghani farmer, who is caught in the middle of this unending war between Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the powerful western democracy, without cable television, or the internet, or any real grounding and sense of the world and the players that are at war, all he knows is that he’s lost his farm, and things have been made more difficult for him. The world is much more difficult than it used to be. And there are predator drones flying overhead, and he doesn’t know who’s piloting them, what they see, or what they’re going to do, or whether he’s in danger at any point. I mean, that was really the allegory that we were going for and looking for, is the people that are caught in the middle of this thing versus the V
version, where it's the invaders versus the resistance. Okay, so we won't see necessarily from their perspective, but are we going to, at some point, maybe before the end of the season at least, see what the aliens look like?
You will see a lot more this year than you did in season one. Talking more about the aliens, now you’re actually saying "aliens." And I remember someone mentioned them and called them that in one of the first episodes this season, but in the first season, it seems to be that you purposely shied away from using that word. Was that on purpose to breed theories, or is it just that some people took it other ways, because I know I’d had discussions with people and read some things early on in the series about how maybe they were humans from the future, just because we really didn’t know for sure, but now to most people, aliens seem to be a given. So I’m curious as to what the thinking was with that?
Well, I would say regardless of what they actually are or not, the view on the ground is that these are aliens. And alien can mean [a lot of things]. You know, we use the word "alien" to describe other humans that haven’t originated from our zip code. So I think it’s an easier term to use, but I wouldn’t draw any conclusions from it, one way or the other. You know, it doesn’t mean they’re Vulcans that have come down to earth. All it means is that they’re foreign men from a foreign place. This season we’re going to see what life is like in Santa Monica and how it’s a lot different from life in the LA bloc where our characters have been. We kind of get the idea that maybe as horrible as it has seemed from what we’ve seen of their perspectives, that it could be a whole lot worse. Can you talk a bit about how life is on the other side of the wall?
Well, the human experience is always kind of limited to anecdote. It’s "I see the wall through my own prism and my own point-of-view." The first season of the show, 99% of it is told through Los Angeles blocs, from this one specific bloc and this one specific colony. And what the show is starting to show this season, is that there are all sorts of situations going on all over the place, and not just limited to Los Angeles, and not just limited to the Los Angeles bloc, that are different. And this is a military occupation of different places, different geographies, and different people. There’s some sense of central power, but the "how" and the "why" of the transitional authority government is different from place to place. And it’s going to look different, depending on where it is.
And that’s what you’re seeing in the contrast between Santa Monica and Los Angeles, and then, certainly, in some other places as season two starts to unfold. You'll see little windows into other places, and places that are occupied and places are not occupied.
So, what we really wanted to do with the show this year was open it up a bit, and iris out, and see more of the world, and see more of what this occupation looks like.**UPDATED: Be sure to read part 2 of this interview!**