TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Colony TV Poster Image
Cursing, scary imagery in sci-fi alien-occupation drama.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Protecting one's family is valued at any cost, including violence. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cast boasts racial and ethnic diversity, though main characters are almost all white. Many characters are heroic but may do dangerous or violent things as a means to an end. 


Family has a child who was kidnapped by shadowy enemies; he is referred to visually and through dialogue. Visual references to danger: Razor wire surrounds a family home, armored tanks drive down suburban streets, roadblocks with uniformed and helmeted soldiers bear arms. Main characters, including children, are frequently in mortal danger; dead bodies are shown on-screen (no blood or gore). A mother looks at a huge billboard of missing children and their parents with sad messages attached. Shadowy authorities violently kidnap a man screaming his innocence. A father is imprisoned and hit in the face. Medicine for a gravely ill child is in short supply. 


A married couple has sex in bed with moaning and thrusting (no nudity). 


Infrequent cursing: "dammit," "rat bastards," many instances of "s--t" (unbleeped), "ass," "pricks."


References to real-life brands (In-N-Out). 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to drinking by of-age characters (no one gets drunk). 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Colony is a tense, gritty sci-fi show about townspeople in the grip of a shadowy foreign enemy. Violence is relatively light but may be more disturbing to kids because it frequently involves family members: young people, moms and dads. Many visual references to warlike occupation, including ominous uniformed soldiers, fencing, razor wire, tanks, and guns. Characters are frequently in mortal jeopardy, guns are brandished, and people are violently hit with fists and objects, in the face and body. Dead bodies are shown on-screen (no gore). Medicine for a gravely ill child is in short supply, cut off by authorities. A father is imprisoned and missing to his family. Expect scary shots of otherworldly ships and cosmic events in the sky and frequent cursing, most often variations on "s--t" that are unbleeped. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byKate D. March 20, 2017

Shows a flash of breasts

I was shocked it showed a flash of breasts when two people were undressing each other. It was completely inappropriate for prime time tv
Adult Written byEB15 August 23, 2020

It has good potential but...

I'm so glad I watched this by myself and not with my kid! I would not recommend this for the family. It's a cool story line with good potential, but t... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byChan10man March 5, 2019

Love love love love the he show! Best for teenagers

I’ve watched all of season 1 and 2 and in the show there are a few makeout scenes and a couple implied sex scenes but never any full sex scenes. Violence is eve... Continue reading

What's the story?

In a future Los Angeles, occupation by shadowy cosmic forces has turned a town into a COLONY. Living there under an assumed identity as mild-mannered mechanic Steve Sullivan is former Special Agent Will Bowman (Josh Holloway from Lost) and his wife Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies from The Walking Dead). The Bowmans are just trying to keep their heads down and take care of their family: rebellious teen Bram (Alex Neustaedter) and sweet 8-year-old Grace (Isabella Crovetti-Cramp). But since their other child, Charlie (Jacob Buster), was separated from the family during the Arrival of what everyone calls the Hosts, Katie and Will naturally want to keep searching for him. But that search, and Will's participation in the Resistance, soon brings the Bowman family to the attention of the authorities: They want Will to work for them, but the Resistance is ready to kill anyone found collaborating. The Bowman family seems to be in an impossible position -- but Will and Katie are wilier than anyone gave them credit for. 

Is it any good?

Canny, creepy, and given to spooling out its plot with weird visuals and unexplained bits of dialogue, this is a sci-fi show that doesn't insult its audience's intelligence. Who is holding Los Angeles (and the whole world) hostage? Why do its citizens ride bikes now instead of driving cars and live inside a sleek silver fence that snakes behind the Hollywood sign? Who exactly has deemed diseases such as diabetes "not worthy of treatment"? And just where is the Bowman's other child being kept, and by whom? These intriguing mysteries percolate along, with viewers forced to look sharp and listen if they want to know exactly what's going on.

It will come as no surprise to viewers to learn that former Lost showrunner Carlton Cuse is one of the hands on the tiller here; this show shares Lost's propensity to keep its plot points close to the vest and dole them out as twists. It's manipulative but, in an age when viewers tend to binge-watch rather than enjoy slow dramatic tension, a lot of fun. Will Colony be the water-cooler sensation of the year? If it keeps up the tension and swift plotting, it sure could be. It's great whole-family watching, though scenes of moms, dads, and kids in danger could be too much for young viewers. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the concept of alien invasions. Can you name other shows, books, or movies about alien invasions? What about life under alien rule? 

  • Are viewers meant to understand right away what type of world our characters live in? Why, or why not? Can you name other shows that attempt to deliver twists the viewer doesn't expect? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mysterious sci-fi

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