Filmed in and around L.A. and Newport Beach by Kevin Brown Prods. and USA Networks. Executive producer, Kevin Kelly Brown; producer, Fern Field; director-writer, Rob Hedden; camera, David Geddes; editor, Barry B. Leirer; production designer, Vincent Jefferds; sound, Garry K. Cunningham; music, Dennis McCarthy. TX:Cast: John Ritter, Mary Page Keller, Hal Linden, Marshall Teague, Todd Jeffries, June Lockhart, John Wesley, Alexandra Picatto, Cody Dorkin, Michele Scarabelli, Dan Gilvezan, Frank Bonner, Shirley Spangler, Douglas Rowe, Cynthia Harrison, Steve Kronish, Karen Kim, Heather Marie, Rance Howard, Edith Fields, Lesley Woods, Vince Deadrick Jr., Stacy Courtney, David H. Healy, James Castle Stevens, C. Kevin Light, Brett Harman, G. Adam Gifford, Jilanne St. Clair, Colby French, Nina Dib, Andy Hedden, Richie Fenner, Brandon Lawrence, Betty Bridges-Nicasio. Most disappointing aspect of the new John Ritter TV movie is how taut and scary it might have been. Instead, it’s a routine number about a family isolated among passive folks in a security-mad luxury development. Suspense is minimal, the escape route predictable; director Rob Hedden’s script, instead of threatening, sags. Daughter Alexandra Picatto is quiet about her feelings, but young son Cody Dorkin starts getting snooty. Ritter can’t jog in his own outfit, Keller finds there’s no PTA, and their dog can’t bark. No one can wander in or out of the grounds because of an electrified fence, and security chief Marshall Teague and his minions seem everywhere.
June Lockhart, who knows how to handle the role, cunningly dominates the private school system. There’s no privacy, and there’s a secret attempt by a patrol to search the Ritter family’s house for a vital missing computer disk that the former tenants squirreled away before they were sent over a cliff by Teague.
Presumably comforting is the presence of Ritter’s brother Todd Jeffries in an adjoining community. He’s a cop who for some reason is apprehensive about their moving into the Colony in the first place. As their freedoms are sucked away, Ritter and Keller begin counteracting; when neighbor Frank Bonner, who’s mouthed off against the place, supposedly commits suicide, they know they’ve got to escape.
Director Hedden goes in for overused fright sights as the plot lurches on. Acting, besides Lockhart’s, is unexceptional, and Ritter’s an example of talent wasted. Linden turns on his patented charm until the unveiling, Teague looks menacing. Keller’s pleasant, while Lesley Woods as Ritter’s mom offers a good natural interp. The Colony employees all look clean, and production designer Vincent Jefferds does the same for the Colony interiors.
Tech credits are good. Main trouble with “The Colony” is that, as a suspenser , it isn’t much fun. Plays like a summer throwaway.