Saturday, 4 May 2013

TV series: Continuum

I have watched the first few episodes of Continuum, a new Canadian TV series. This features Rachel Nicholas as Keira Cameron, a “protector” (police officer) living with her husband and child in Vancouver in 2077. She is on duty at the planned execution of the leaders of Liber8, a terrorist group responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people, when a strange force is released which sends them – and her – back in time to 2012.

The world of 2077 is a very different place, one in which huge international corporations have taken over the duties of governments and run police states which tolerate no dissent. Liber8, led by Edouard Kagame (Tony Amendola), is dedicated to breaking their hold on power and restoring democracy, and see their group’s displacement into the past as a golden opportunity to stop the corporations before they can gain power. Keira Cameron is equally determined to stop them and, after they begin a violent crime spree to obtain weapons and money, works with the Vancouver police to track them down. She is aided by Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen), a geeky young computer genius who has devised a communications technology able to link up with her advanced systems.

This series is proving to have a nicely-judged blend of elements with several inbuilt tensions: between Cameron and the terrorists, whom she despises but also needs as they hold the key to her return to her family in 2077; between Cameron and the present-day police - particularly Detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) - who are unaware of her background and are curious to find out as much about her as possible; within the terrorists, between the dedicated fanatics and those who welcome the opportunity to start afresh and use their knowledge to become very rich; and indeed in the conflict between Liber8 and the world of 2077. Who would not support the idea of a democracy battling against a police state? Yet it is the democrats who are the ruthless terrorists and the representative of the police state who is the heroine. There is also a developing mystery about the role of Alec Sadler, who we also see in 2077 (played by William B Davis) as the elderly head of a powerful corporation who has become acquainted with Cameron and is present when she is thrown back into the past.

As an occasional break from the 2012 action we see the protagonists in the years leading up to 2077, revealing their past histories. There are some nice SF touches particularly concerned with Cameron’s bulletproof protector suit, which is packed with advanced technology and can also make her invisible, and with the systems built into her body. There are some impressive scenes when she looks at views of Vancouver in 2012 and then superimposes her knowledge of the same view in 2077. There is even some humour, as Cameron comes to grips with the limitations of 2012 technology, and a touch of incipient romance in the growing attraction Detective Fonnegra feels for her. Rachel Nicholas (an actress I haven’t seen before) is very good as Keira Cameron, revealing an appealing blend of tough competence and vulnerability as she struggles to cope with the loss of her family.

All in all this is shaping up to be one of the best TV series I’ve seen in a long time. The plot is complex and intriguing, the story lines adult and convincing, and I enjoy the effective blend of SF and detective elements, my two favourite genres. Highly recommended.


Fred said...


Thanks for the tip.

Sounds vaguely like another SF/mystery series from England in which a detective from the present is sent back 30 or so years. The title was something like Life on Mars, I think.

Anthony G Williams said...

Yes, Life on Mars was terrific, quite hilarious. It was remade for US TV but I don't know what that was like. There was a follow-up series, Ashes to Ashes.

Chimeradave said...

It is a really great show. I've seen the entire first season plus 4 eps of the second season. It feels more like a mini-series, it doesn't seem designed to go on forever which I really like.

Anthony G Williams said...

Good to hear. I'll be finishing the first season soon but will probably have to wait awhile before the second one is available in the UK.