Adding: Another comparison with Lost... Lost had, over 6 seasons, 118 episodes. That's an average of almost 20 ep's a season, double that of Colony. So, really, 3 seasons of Colony is equal to a season and a half of Lost. And it was paced with even less overall story arc reveals and story questions. Political infighting was ok, but that and family stuff was basically all there was.
I count 10 scifi elements: big wall, separate colonies, alien suit, alien rubbery material, pods, war with other aliens, "the factory" (oh just get rid of that in one sweep, btw, GONE), the resistance, some religion they dropped out of the plot, and that Will & others were going to be used as fighters.
It would take way too much space to list all the intrigue events in same # of episodes of Lost. It was so brilliant, until it wasn't.
They painted themselves into a corner with Lost. There were so many weird coincidences, deep connections between people and events, you figured it would all come together in some grand fashion but it ended up fizzling. At a certain point I'm sure they realized there was no way to weave a coherent narrative from all the bits and pieces they'd set up.
I seem to remember Cuse saying they had enough material to go for five or six seasons on Colony, something like that. I think he unveiled the plot too slowly though. I mean, the fog of war approach worked for the first season and a half but they should've brought us more revelations more quickly at that point. The religion thing was apparently in some colonies but not others. It was just one style of social control that certain proxies embraced while others didn't. They seemed to have a lot of autonomy to run their individual blocs - as long as they were contributing their share and maintaining order.
We still to this point never got a glimpse behind the curtain with the Raps though. I would've liked to see at least one or two scenes in their command center, or on the bridge of one of their ships, with them talking to each other and whatever human lapdogs they had serving by their sides. I actually thought when Will got Charlie back to the LA bloc the Raps were going to ask for him specifically, after saving one of their own, to work directly with them. We would've gotten to see the occupation from the other side on a regular basis as Will actually interacted with the aliens. And also of course, because of that perspective we'd have gotten an idea of what was happening globally.
They never gave us a second look at the Factory, or an explanation of what they were doing there and why workers got sick occasionally and were escorted out by the red hat guards. I can't help feeling they originally intended to follow Katie's sister Maddy after she was taken up there. But either they never got around to it, or couldn't get the budget to do some cool shots of spacesuited laborers on the lunar surface so they never bothered.
I agree on all your points. Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelhof AND J. J. Abrams are good at the setup and not so good at the follow through. My theory is that it's the difference between screenwriters and novelists. Novelists take years to figure things out, screenwriters are on tighter turnaround.