Sunday, 6 April 2014

Continuum S1x01 "A Stich in Time"

I share my thoughts on Continuum, a 2012 Canadian SciFi series that sends Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols), a City Protective Services Protector, back to 2012 from 2077-era Vancouver. This show also stars Victor Webster and Erik Knudson, and is created by Simon Barry. 

My count of Canadian shows that I watch extends to just one – Orphan Black, which is an incredible show in its own right. Until I discovered Continuum, I knew of just one other – Lost Girl. Now I can successfully add Continuum to that list – and based form what I’ve seen in the show’s pilot episode, Simon Barry’s time travel series is going to be one that I can safely add to that list.

Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) lives a normal life. She's a mother of one child, and has a happy life with her husband, working as a member of the Vancouver Police Force. The only difference? She lives in a tech-based, high-surveillanced police state in the year 2077. 

However, when Kiera oversees the execution of a group of terrorists from Liber8, they manage to escape the Death Penalty by jumping back in time, fleeing to the year 2012. There’s just one problem – Kiera is dragged along with them, and with no apparent way of getting back, she has to form an alliance with a teenage computer genius Alec Sandler (Erik Knudsen) and Detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) and the Vancouver Police Department – and now must track down the Liber8 terrorists.

I’m a massive fan of the time travel genre. There’s a reason after all why Doctor Who is just one of my favourite shows, and I loved the respective novels The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare and 11.22.63 as much as I did. As it turns out, the same is very much the case with Continuum – the pilot episode is solid enough to get me invested in the lead characters and their struggle, as well as keep me coming back for more.

The acting on display here is pretty solid. Rachel Nichols portrays a Cop out of time very well, and she definitely has the charisma to be a lead actor in the show – and the fact that it’s lasted three seasons proves it. The connection between Nichols and Webster’s characters will no doubt develop over time, but it has little to do as they are only starting to know each other. The only real weak spot is the Liber8 gang, who are currently incredibly bland and easily interchangeable – but hopefully this will improve in future episodes.

The episode makes use of some impressive CGI in the future to create a seemingly lite-version of Blade Runner. However, don’t get attached to the futuristic setting too quickly – you’ll be whisked back to 2012 before the opening credits, but considering the efforts made in production and development, we may be returning to 2077 closer than one would expect.

Whilst the pilot itself is largely formulaic, a good attempt was made to moralise the Liber8 characters rather than paint them as outright one dimensional villains. However, it does seem somewhat forced, and not as well pulled off as it could have been.

Continuum is also one of the shows shot in Vancouver that actually takes place in Vancouver – both The Tomorrow People and Arrow have been shot in the city but Arrow uses it for Starling City. I believe the upcoming Flash series is going to be shot there as well, making it a common staple for shows on the CW Network.

On the whole, the series pilot gets off to an impressive start. Kiera’s cooperation with Detective Fonnegra doesn’t really work as well as it should as it takes a portion of disbelief  to make you believe that Fonnegra will ditch Cop protocol just to follow this woman. And also the world in Continuum’s 2077 setting doesn’t look as though it could have been built a mere 65 years into the future as well – resembling something that would take hundreds of years to develop. However, these two problems are only minor niggles, and Continuum is otherwise a really enjoyable show.


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