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Continuum season one

March 22, 2013
Continuum-Season-1-Episode-1

She is the law.

One of the joys of watching genre tv is the occasions where an awesome new show that is a real knockout seems to come out of nowhere.  The first season of one such show, the new Canadian series Continuum, recently finish its first season in the US on the SyFy channel.  The first episode really hit the ground running and the remainder of the first season never let up.

Continuum opens in the year 2077 and stars Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron.  Keira is a protector in a future where, due to some rather poor economic decisions, the governments of North America went insolvent and where ultimately bought out by a group of corporations.  These companies are now the de-facto government through a body known as the Corporate Congress.  Little things like the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights seem to have been lost in the process.  Kiera, being a protector, is one of the “police” of this new world order.  Police is in quotes because her function is more reminiscent of the judges of Mega City One for those familiar with the Judge Dredd comics.  Her world looks considerably nicer than the Meg as the streets are cleaner and unemployment doesn’t seem to be as rampant.  Of course, we are seeing this world from Kiera’s perspective so, being a cop who is married to a highly placed corporate executive, her lens is probably considerably more optimistic than people without that status.

The story accelerates extremely rapidly when we learn that a group calling themselves Liber8 (they’re terrorists, not advertising executives) blow up the Corporate Congress building.  This turns into an automatic death sentence once they are rounded up by the protectors, which doesn’t take long given the brutally efficient personal tracking technology of the future.  Before the execution can commence the terrorists activate a time machine that someone smuggled into them.  Kiera, sensing that something is amiss, runs into the group trying to stop the shenanigans and ends up catching a ride back to our time with them.

There is a lot to like about this show.  One of the things I most appreciate is the complexity of the characters themselves.  It would have been far easier, and a lot more boring, to make Kiera a simple good cop from the future.  Instead you have someone who has never had a reason to question the system she lives under now being thrown into a situation where, completely removed from that environment, she has the luxury to do so.  And during the course of the season, we do see her remembering some of the encounters she has had with the corrupt side of her world.  This aspect of Continuum reminded me of the similar sort of story telling done in the previous series Charlie Jade, another (semi) Canadian produced genre show that I have reviewed previously.  In the same vein as Kiera the terrorists, while describing themselves as freedom fighters, are really terrorists.  They have no qualms with unleashing insane amounts of firepower, producing the inevitable collateral damage and associated casualties, to further their agenda.

The only complaint that I could level at the series would be some suspension of disbelief issues surrounding the acceptance of Kiera’s credentials by the temporally local law enforcement officials.  I work with government agencies a great deal as part of my job and, the cross checking involved is considerably more complex than what we see in Continuum.  There is an explanation in the guise of a character named Alec who I really don’t want to say too much more about as I am desperately trying to avoid spoilers here but, I will briefly add that Alec is also Kiera’s link into our time which considerably reduces the whole “fish out of water” aspect that could otherwise overwhelm the show.

A couple of more things that are very encouraging about the series are that the writers made decisions on a couple of issues up front to prevent Continuum from going off the rails.  First, they set in stone exactly how time travel works in their world.  This is a vitally important thing to do in a series that involves time travel as it is far too easy to lose control of the storyline otherwise.  Second, they also decided on what the limits of Kiera’s equipment from the future would be, thus preventing her from turning into your stock superhero character.  Foresight like this is really appreciated and bodes well for the future of this series.

Continuum has already been renewed for a second season which will be appearing on Canada’s Showcase channel beginning on April 21st.  I’m hoping the SyFy channel gets it around the same time as the first season originally aired back in the summer of 2012 on Showcase.  The end of the first season left some really interesting hints about what is coming in the second season and I would really hate having to wait seven months to watch it.  If you are a fan of genre tv I strongly encourage you to check out Continuum.

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7 Comments
  1. “[…] a second season which will be appearing on Canada’s Showcase channel this July.”

    *correction* April 21st is the premiere date for season 2 in Canada.

  2. Article corrected. Thanks Jo.

  3. I just watched the first season of this show and really enjoyed the heck out of it. Also, I can’t wait for the second season because I feel like it’ll have the opportunity to hit more of a stride since so much of the first season had to be a lot of basic establishing story lines.

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