Saturday 1 August 2015

TV – Continuum Season 3

At long last the third season of the Canadian time-travel serial has become available on DVD in the UK. To refresh your memories, this follows the efforts of Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) a 2077 "Protector" (paramilitary law officer), thrown back to the present day in an incident which also sends back members of Liber8, a terrorist organisation. Liber8 is fighting to stop major corporations from taking over the country and turning it into a police state, and in fleeing to the past hope to change history by preventing this from happening. Cameron, who despite being the heroine is working for that police state, is desperately trying to stop them since, if they were to succeed, the future she had left behind would vanish, destroying any hope that she might some day return to her husband and child.

The first two seasons are full of plot complexities as the Liber8 members subdivide while Cameron (aided by some high-tech hardware) tries to establish a new identity in the present day as a detective, despite being regarded with suspicion by her new colleagues. Another key figure is Alex Sadler, who in 2077 is an elderly industrialist of immense power and who seems to have something to do with the time-travelling incident. Cameron comes across him as a young computer geek in the present day (Erik Knudsen) and they work together to hunt down Liber8.

In the third season, even more complexity is added by a further leap back in time of only a week by Sadler and Cameron, which results in two of each of them sharing the same timeline. Also featuring are the Freelancers, a covert group with knowledge of the future who act to police time travel in order to prevent the kind of changes Liber8 want to make, and someone who appears to come from a very different alternative future. The original Sadler has inherited control of a large corporation and is trying to establish himself by introducing far-reaching technical innovations inspired by what he has learned from Cameron, while his double from the near future has a different agenda. The complexities pile up and both concentration and a good memory are required to keep track of everything that is going on, particularly since the scenes keep jumping between the present and the future – the latter to fill in more of Cameron's backstory. Meanwhile Cameron seems to be no closer to getting back to her home in the future – and the moral ambiguity which underlies the story becomes more marked, with indications that she is beginning to feel some sympathy with the aims of Liber8, as even more ruthless criminals emerge to fight for the corporations. In the final episode there is twist after twist in the plot, setting up what should be a dramatic final half-season of six episodes, due to show on Canadian TV this autumn.

The standard of the previous seasons is maintained, my only complaint being the lack of any of the flashes of humour that the serial started with. Continuum is still the best TV SF drama since Fringe, and provides top-class entertainment.

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