If you take the police procedure of The Killing, the terrorist tension of Homeland, and the science fiction parables of Battlestar Galactica, you get Continuum. This series is so random you just can’t look away. It blends time travel, sci-fi crime-fighting, and political commentary without being too showy about it. It also manages to ground the characters in real emotions and smart science.
Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) is just your average wife, mother and policewoman…in the year 2077. Corporations now control the government and police have unlimited surveillance of the people. Terrorist cell Liber8 travels back in time, bringing Kiera with them. Armed with brain implants, a super suit, and a couple of weapons, she tries to balance protecting the timeline, stopping the terrorists, and trying to get home. Her only allies are police detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster), and Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen), an awkward 18-year-old who will invent a whole new realm of technology.
Continuum does the impossible. It manages to be smart and accessible. A major mystery of the series is whether the time travelers are changing the timeline or bringing it to fruition. Time travel is purely theoretical, so the show plays with what’s possible. It also opens up a dialogue about the role of corporations in our lives and our growing lack of privacy in the digital age.
Nichols’ take on Kiera is unique. She’s not your typical sci-fi heroine. She’s maternal, sensitive, and sometimes, despite her advanced skills, gets knocked out by a perp. The reality of the series is what makes it so addictive. It focuses on relationships, emotion, and destiny while still providing some great action and futuristic fantasy. It also challenges the way we see science and society.
Canadian channel Showcase is making some really fun series. There’s something intriguing and innovative about shows made outside of the Hollywood machine.
The first and second season of Continuum are available on Netflix. At 13 episodes each, they provide a nice marathon option for a winter weekend indoors.