Great escape: The Bowmans rebuild their lives outside the 'Colony'

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Francis Babin / TV Media
Sarah Wayne Callies stars in "Colony"

Sarah Wayne Callies stars in "Colony"

Hollywood's obsession with post-apocalyptic dystopias is at a fever pitch, with countless dramas such as "Z Nation," "The Handmaid's Tale," "12 Monkeys," and "The Walking Dead" dominating the airwaves. In order to break from the pack and stand out, a show's take on the apocalypse must be fresh and original.

Premiering in 2016, "Colony" has done an admirable job making a name for itself in the crowded and ever-growing end-of-the-world genre with its interesting look at the end times. Created by Carlton Cuse ("Bates Motel") and Ryan J. Condal ("The Sixth Gun," 2013), the sci-fi drama continues to explore the lives of survivors and resistance fighters in a new episode airing Wednesday, June 20, on USA.

Here's a brief recap for those who have slept on "Colony," dismissing it as another generic apocalypse survival story: the Bowman family must fight to stay together in a new world order in the wake of a mysterious alien invasion. While that might seem like a fairly straightforward premise, there's much more to it.

In the first and second seasons, we're introduced to a dystopian near-future Los Angeles, whose citizens live under martial law strictly enforced by the Transitional Authority. This military occupation isn't the result of a pandemic or a despot's reign of terror, but that of an alien invasion. The Transitional Authority and its militarized police, "Redhats," were put in place by an extraterrestrial group referred to as "The Hosts."

The Hosts took over on a now infamous day simply referred to as "The Arrival." On this fateful day, impenetrably thick and extremely tall rectangular blocks descended from the sky and formed walls dividing the city and families. Only essential persons and goods can enter the "Colony" via its heavily fortified and guarded checkpoints. Presumably, this is the case all over the world, but no one inside the Colony can be certain.

Through slave labor at "The Factory," electronic surveillance, propaganda, curfews and other means of control, those in power quash any attempts of a rebellion. As with any oppressed people throughout history, however, a resistance movement formed.

This is the world of "Colony," but it's not all hopeless. The eldest of the Bowman children, Bram (Alex Neustaedter, "Shovel Buddies," 2016), has found a way under the walls, while Broussard (Tory Kittles, "True Detective"), a CIA assassin and private military contractor, infiltrates the Redhats and feeds intel back to the Resistance.

The latter isn't the only one helping the rebels from the inside. Patriarch of the Bowman family, Will (Josh Holloway, "Lost"), is a former FBI agent recruited by the new government to help enforce law and order before realizing that his wife, Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies, "Prison Break"), is part of the Resistance. With that revelation, the two start working together, trading information back and forth.

Peter Jacobson in "Colony"

Peter Jacobson in "Colony"

The third and current season is set six months after the events of last season's shocking finale, which saw the Bowmans escape from Los Angeles. Beyond the walls, the family and the disgraced and still conniving Snyder (Peter Jacobson, "House") are enjoying a quiet and simple life in the mountains. Naturally, things get complicated when a sudden arrival changes everything.

The new season goes beyond the familiar L.A. setting that we've grown accustomed to and fully embraces the darkness of its new world order story. The season's darker tone is drawing comparisons to the current sociopolitical climate. In an interview with Variety, Holloway discussed the continuing emphasis on surveillance and the surveillance state, and how it impacts the characters. He continued by drawing a parallel to the omnipresent monitoring in today's society, saying, "everybody is watching everything through our devices. I don't like it."

In addition to the change of scenery and leaning into the heavier, darker themes, the current season of "Colony" has added several new key characters. Graham McTavish ("The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," 2012) portrays Andrew MacGregor, the leader of the most successful Resistance camp in what used to be the western United States. Waleed Zuaiter's ("Altered Carbon") Vincent will be featured as a moral man in a no-win scenario who finds himself caught in an impossible position while working for a powerful Resistance group. Wayne Brady ("Whose Line Is It Anyway?") attempts to distance himself from his song and dance reputation by depicting the head of the rebuilt Seattle Colony, Everett Kynes, a highly successful tech entrepreneur.

In its freshman season, the master of horror, Stephen King, proclaimed via Twitter that "Colony is really something special: smart, suspenseful, subversive ... thought-provoking." He was spot on with his description, and the series has only gotten better and more interesting since then. In the upcoming new episode, the Bowmans will be once again forced to choose sides when they discover the horrifying truth behind Earth's mysterious occupiers. Catch it on Wednesday, June 20, on USA.