Colony Co-Creator Ryan Condal Shares Source of Inspiration

In this exclusive interview, the executive producer of USA’s Colony talks about what makes this post-invasion story different.

One of the most compelling sci-fi offerings of the midseason has been Colony on the USA Network, which stars Josh Holloway of Lost fame. Ryan Condal, who co-created the show with another Lost alum, Carlton Cuse, spoke exclusively with Den of Geek about how the series builds on a historical context to focus on the human element of an occupied Los Angeles.

A unique aspect of Colony is that viewers never actually get to see the aliens who subjugated Earth. “We see Colony as entering the lexicon of alien invasion tales that probably began with War of the Worlds, and in order to have a place in that lexicon, you have to have something new to say,” Condal explained. “And we thought it was really fascinating to tackle this idea of the ‘after.’ The invasion has already happened; we’ve already lost, and now let’s tell the story of what happens next.”

What happens next is the separation of families by massive, unassailable walls marking off a series of blocs within the colony. But is it the aliens who are keeping relatives apart, or are their human collaborators to blame?

“There is a difference between the occupying force and the human collaborationist government that is put in charge,” Condal clarified. “So if you imagine when the Nazis stormed into France, and then they put in their own proxy governments… the Nazis said to them, ‘Look, we’re putting you guys in charge. As long as you meet x, y, and z metrics, we will be happy. If you don’t then we will get involved.’

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The atmosphere of mistrust that arises in this sort of totalitarian occupation causes rifts even within the loving family of protagonist, Will Bowman, whose wife and son have their own secrets in the show.

“Who you trust and who you allow to trust you are such huge things now,” insisted Condal. “They have these real life and death stakes around them… it becomes a part of the post-invasion trauma that these people are experiencing.”

Despite the involvement of Cuse and Holloway, the show has clear distinctions from shows like Lost, according to Condal. “Lost was based on the mystery of the world,” Condal admitted. “In this show, the mysteries are mysteries only to the people that are experiencing them. So we have all the answers, and they will be doled out over time.”

Colony has done a great job of making all of its characters interesting, sympathetic, and flawed all at once, and no one on the show is safe. One character in particular who recently died in the show was just garnering audience adoration. Without spoiling the specifics, Condal laughingly explained, “That’s great storytelling when you can pull somebody out of the mix like that in a way to shake up the drama and piss off your fans.”

The full interview with Ryan Condal can be heard in the March edition of Sci Fi Fidelity on the Den of Geek Podcast Network, or you can listen below. Colony airs on the USA Network at 10pm ET on Thursdays.