Third-episode verdict: Continuum (Showcase)

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

In Canada: Sundays, 9pm ET/PT, Showcase
In the UK: Not yet acquired

Three episodes into Continuum and I think I’m going to recommend it. Despite the somewhat derivative nature of the show – it’s Time Trax with a female protagonist, fighting against the evil version of Blakes 7 – it has a lot going for it.

As mentioned in my review of the first episode, it does a good job of depicting a futuristic future (as opposed to the likes of Terra Nova, which merely show a future, but not one that suggests society has changed), there’s an interesting moral ambivalence with the heroine fighting for the rights of evil corporations, the baddies fighting for the oppressed individual, and there are some really very good action scenes, too.

A little of the lustre has gone, most of the budget having been spent on the first episode by the looks of it, so although we do pleasingly maintain the occasional flash-forward to the future, it’s a future that’s mainly in dark basements that don’t cost a lot. We’ve also lost contact with the future characters, such as Rachel Nichols’ husband and William B Davis (aka The X-Files’ Cigarette-Smoking Man), who presented an opportunity for a more nuanced show, rather than the more police procedural, present-day show that we’re starting to get. And Nichols’ catsuit is becoming something of a sonic screwdriver, as is her Jesse Eisenberg-alike helper monkey, who can crack any IT system, no matter how secure.

All the same, we are also gaining a few things. There are some interesting twists involving the bad guys, who aren’t one block of people but a conflicted bunch who don’t all agree on political methodologies. Supporting hunk Victor Webster is getting some characterisation, fleshing him out into an almost interesting sidekick, which might present some interesting romantic issues for Nichols’ character if she believes she can no longer get back to her family.

On the whole, although it’s not the most original of shows, it’s a pretty intelligent, well-made SF-action series, with well-rounded characters, a decent cast, some original ideas of its own as well as a few surprises. It has an ongoing plot to keep you interested and you never know exactly where it’s going. Give it a try if you can.

Carusometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Should last at least two seasons, maybe more

  • benjitek

    It's very entertaining, and great to watch something that doesn't seem to be written on-the-fly as a result of focus-group feedback; a definite story arc and they're sticking to it. �By the 2nd episode, you're hooked 🙂

    There's nothing better SciFi-wise right now — with luck, this one won't be purchased and ruined by the SyFy network…

  • bob

    It's such a bad concept… utterly cringeworthy when you try to explain it to someone. Cyber enhanced law enforcer from the future with a teenage tech-genius side-kick? And yet I am hooked…

  • The other David

    Well, I'm only up to episode two, and while I'm not entirely convinced, I think I'll stick with it. As benjitek say, “There's nothing better SciFi-wise right now.” Which is an awful indictment of the TV industry, but it does bear repeating.

    I would have to agree with you, Rob, that a large part of the budget was spent on the first episode. But if it sold it, more power to them. It's got a few rather predicable story arcs and characters showing (single, good-looking male lead and lonely good-looking woman lead; love-lorn secondary character; gruff, but heart-of-gold, head honcho). But those points aside, it's got a few outliers which make it interesting (besides the ones you point out above, the philosophy behind the Liberat8, while mentioned in passing in a few scenes, sounds interesting) The whole corporate-head-guy-knew-her-back-in-the-day thing had me thinking of some of the story line from the movie, Primer [1][2][3] (excellent make-you-think movie, BTW). What if this William B David-character (I forget the character's name) is looking to create a time loop (see Primer for a pure headbending example of this)? My mind gets all tied in knots trying to consider the implications when it comes to that. But, all-in-all, not half bad.

    However, while I liked some possibilities present in the story, I had to chuckle or cringe (or do both) at some of the implications in parts of the dialog and story. Firstly, when Benjamin (the character who opts to stay in 2012) says, “Even the president can tell off a corporation,” I started thinking, “Canada doesn't _have_ a president!” But then I thought the writers were just trying to cater to selling the show to a U.S. network (because most Americans don't know anything exists outside of the lower 48 [Alaska and Hawaii are just mythical and are only there to make up the numbers ;-)]). And when the head cop says, “You're with the Feds,” I though, “Which Feds? Canadian or U.S.?” Because if it's the later, all diplomatic hell would break loose (can you imagine if a non-liaised U.S. undercover federal officer was busted in Canada! There'd be all kinds of s***e raining down.) If I were a Canadian watching this, I'd be all up in arms. And don't even get me started about the in-office wundergeekess (who actually was on Stargate Universe [RIP]) tracking Tor because the 'intervals are getting shorter' (Tor stands of 'The Onion Network', and the endpoints [where the traffic comes out to the internet] changes all of the time). If anything, the timings on the 'interval' (whatever that is) would swing from one end to the other! A lot of very talented geeks are trying to defeat Tor in Iran and having no luck, you think a lone operator can do it?! Pleezz!

    But besides those somewhat irksome points, it's got a basis which bears inspection and a few points of light.

  • The other David

    Whoops, I was going to provide some links for the 'Primer' movie. Well, here they are:

    [2]… (number 7)