Colony canceled at USA Network: What’s next?

COLONY -- Photo by: USA Network -- Acquired via NBC Media Village
COLONY -- Photo by: USA Network -- Acquired via NBC Media Village /

Though fans of the show had been hoping for a renewal, word came out this weekend that Colony has been canceled. Is there any hope for the show to be saved?

Fans of Colony had their fears become a reality yesterday when it was announced that Colony has been canceled. The sci-fi drama went through its first two seasons as the number one scripted cable series on Thursday nights. However, major changes took place going into season 3.

First, the show was forced to move to Canada, which meant a change in the story as well. Then, one of the creators (Carlton Cuse) stepped away to focus on his new show. The third change was a move from Thursday nights to Wednesday nights. On top of all of this, the third season also started at a different point in the year. Season 1 and 2 began airing in January but the third season was delayed until May.

Wes Tooke was humble in saying that the mistakes were theirs but I have a different take.

What happened?

An outsider could look at the above changes and single out any one of them for being the reason the ratings dropped and the show was canceled. As a fan, I can tell you that the move from LA did not hurt the show. The change of scenery has been great and the creators did an amazing job of making the Seattle colony interesting. The move felt natural and advanced the story.

I can also tell you Cuse stepping away didn’t hurt the show as I felt this season may have been the best so far creatively. The flashbacks at the beginning of each episode, adding context to the situation, have been a welcome addition and enhanced the show. Getting out of LA also made the world larger and allowed us to see that things weren’t the same everywhere which allowed for some hope.

COLONY — “Mixed Signals” Episode 303 — Pictured: (l-r) Josh Holloway as Will Bowman, Sarah Wayne Callies as Katie Bowman — (Photo by: Eric Milner/USA Network)
COLONY — “Mixed Signals” Episode 303 — Pictured: (l-r) Josh Holloway as Will Bowman, Sarah Wayne Callies as Katie Bowman — (Photo by: Eric Milner/USA Network) /

The third and fourth pieces are the biggest culprits in my opinion. First of all, changing the day matters. If the show was a success on a certain day of the week, it doesn’t make sense to move it. You change the shows that it’s up against by doing that alone. Add in the 4-month delay for the start of the new season and now you’re facing an entirely different set of circumstances.

New competition and a longer period of time between episodes would be enough to hurt any show’s ratings and Colony was not the exception. While the drop off in total numbers wasn’t huge, it was a drop. Enough of a drop to make Colony the least watched show on USA Network in the key demographic (adults 18-49). If the network plan is to always drop whatever the lowest show is then this move is understandable despite being unfortunate.

What happens next?

A lot of shows have been canceled over the past few months and several, most notably Brooklyn Nine-Nine, have had successful campaigns around saving them. Currently, fans of the show are pushing for Netflix, SyFy, or Amazon to pick up Colony but none of these campaigns seem to have much traction.

The biggest complaint by most fans is that the show will seemingly not have a conclusion. This Wednesday’s episode is the season, and now series, finale and there had been speculation that they may have been somewhat prepared for it to come to an end. It appears that the war between the humans and the alien species is set to begin at some point in the episode so we’ll at least leave off on a new chapter beginning.

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If the show isn’t picked up some fans are also pushing for the writers to conclude the story with a novel or comic. There is plenty of story to be told and I think that this would be a great way to go. There were probably at least two more seasons of story left to tell and the 1.5 million or so fans of the show will want to get that conclusion. We’ll stay tuned for any updates on the show being picked up or continued via another medium.

Colony returns for its final episode on USA Network Wednesday, July 25 at 10/9 Central.