Continuum continues where shows like Stargate, Fringe, The X-files, Sliders, Alcatraz and Total Recall 2070 went before it with principal filming being done in Vancouver, unlike the other shows it is also set in Vancouver, both in the year 2077 and in 2012. Continuum has however kind of slipped under the radar. Even though I first heard of it last summer I had totally forgotten about it until the day it aired. That said it was only aired in Canada, the rest of us will have to wait a bit. After a spectacular year in which four new sci-fi shows aired (Alphas, Person of Interest, Alcatraz and Terra Nova) we are blessed with a fifth which I believe has more staying power than all but one in the previous list of shows.
So what is Continuum all about…
The story begins in 2077 when all governments have been bailed out by corporations, people seem happy though it is a little bit totalitarian, but from what I have seen not unusually so even by our standards. Nonetheless a number of liberal/terrorists have plotted to kill the heads of all corporations in order to start a revolution. They actually succeed but also kill some 30.000 people at the same time. The head of the terrorist group, Edouard Kagame (played by Tony Amendola who played Bra’tac in Stargate), quietly allows himself to be taken prisoner after giving a rousing speech. The arrest is made by Inspector Kiera Cameron (played by Rachel Nichols) who is the main protagonist in the series. We learn she is married and has a kid, in that regards the show tries to introduce drama and it works well though it feels a little forced. Kiera’s husband and friends discuss the terrorist attack and its background thus giving the viewer more background information into the story (this shows tries to be brainy as well). One mysterious character does show up and that is Alec Sadler (played by William B. Davis, Smoking man from The X-files) who is one of the surviving corporate leaders and seems to be behind the major plot developments in the pilot. The year 2077 is mostly shown in a visual futuristic way seems like an update of Cyberpunk, it is more Minority Report with pink billboards than Blade Runner.
The series then jumps six months into the future, Kagame and the other terrorist have been sentenced to death and the inspector responsible for the execution is Kiera Cameron. However the execution goes wrong and the unusual machine that was supposed kill them actually sends them back in time. Kagame is missing and Kiera learns from one of the other terrorist named Lucas that they have a plan for this time period. While Kiera is getting her bearings in Vancouver 2012 she suddenly hears a voice in her head, something not unusual in 2077 but it is in 2012. She finds out that a young Alec Sadler invented the technology that allows implant speech. After overhearing that she is from the future Alec is resolved to helping her, a subplot reveals that his step-father may be a nutcase anti-government terrorist himself, something for later I suppose.
Kiera quickly manages to blend into city life in Vancouver 2012 but not after some hilarious ‘adjustment’ problems which instantly gave this show credibility over other shows such as Alcatraz and Terra Nova. Despite the pilot episode being just 43 minutes long it manages to pack some serious plot development. After Kiera has managed to adjust to 2012 life she teams up with detective Carlos Fonnegra by pretending to be from the gang task force of Portland, Oregon. Fonnegra has been assigned to investigate the strange happenings in Vancouver which we know have been perpetrated by the escaped terrorist. The plot briefly follows their rampage through Vancouver and it really show they are mindless, bloodthirsty terrorist not unlike the prisoners from Alcatraz.
Kiera Cameron and Carlos Fonnegra manage to take down a few of the terrorist but this is revealed as a diversion of the real attack on the police station where Carlos works. The attack secures the freedom of Lucas who is the terrorist’s expert on time travel. Meanwhile the young Alec Sadler uncovers more about his future self but Kiera tries to hide this from him in order not to harm him, Alec believes this reason because he doesn’t want to know his ‘bad’ future. The episode wraps up between the partnership of Kiera and Carlos in hunting down the terrorists and Kiera and Alec in their explanation on the time travel thing. I do sense that like Peter Bishop the character of Carlos Fonnegra is there mostly to legitimize the appearance of the rather attractive female lead on the show, I can’t say I really cared much for his character in the pilot. The relationship between Kiera and Carlos also seems like a reverse Lois Lane Clark Kent thingy with Carlos never finding out she is from the future.
My feelings after seeing this episode are generally positive. Most of the down sides can be explained by the cramming of plot development into one episode. So far I haven’t seen any of the major downsides that I saw in Alcatraz and Terra Nova. I hope this show isn’t going to turn into a ‘Terrorist of the week’ show like Alcatraz was a ‘Prisoner of the week’ show. I also hope this show won’t be like Bionic Woman either because the suit that Kiera wears might be very sexy and tight it also packs a number of ‘rabbits’ she can pull out of the hat at any time. The show seems a little bit like Nikita in style, not in the least because another attractive woman is seen in the lead which after Fringe and Alcatraz seems like necessary part of the formula. Just like Fringe the show attempts drama so that is a plus. I also hope that Vancouver 2077 will remain an integral part of the series, when the time machine was about to be activated we saw Kiera’s husband arguing with the older Alec Sadler and so it would be fun if he would follow his own investigations. That would give this series a real Total Recall 2070 feel that fans of the show have craved for over a decade now. It will also make use of those other cameo’s actors that appeared in the pilot.
Score; 8 / 10. Still some growing pains before this show will really hit.
Viewer rating; 0.9 million (that is just in Canada).
Continuum will be back on June 3rd with the episode entitled ‘Fast Times’