The Canadian science fiction & Leo award-winning series, Continuum, starts in 2077 where a futuristic “Occupy Wall Street” style movement (with a 2012 style name) called Liber8 conducts acts of terror against a corporate run world. Even the Constitution has been altered to include a Corporate Congress branch of government. All hail the mighty profit.
At this point I was ready to turn the channel. Great, I thought. More proselytizing against corporate greed from a TV show that makes money. But I’m glad I hung in there for the rest of the show because just as the terrorists were about to be executed en masse, somebody swapped a time machine with their execution device. Don’t you hate it when that happens?
The violent members of Liber8 were sent back in time to 2012, but unfortunately for them, super cop Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) was dragged along for the ride. Here in our time, Kiera has to form uneasy alliances with the Canadian police while helping them deal with the new problem plopped in their lap: terrorists hellbent on destroying their society while using future tech.
It seems that the trip back in time was a surprise only for Kiera. Liber8 knew exactly what had happened and quickly got to work trying to bend history before current events created their corporate future. Kiera certainly wanted to bring them to justice, but she had a stronger reason to prevent Liber8 from altering the timeline: Kiera wanted to preserve the future so that she could preserve her son’s existence.
The show uses flashbacks of Kiera’s past (our future) to build her character and establish her motivations, as well as give context for Liber8’s actions. It also features a killer soundtrack of alternative music to establish mood. Science Fiction fans will also enjoy the cool tech at Kiera’s disposal. Not only does she have a super suit with healing and cloaking technology, but she has computer implants that augment her vision with data. She also has Alec Sadler.
The mastermind of the technology that made the corporatized future possible is a young man in our time. As Kiera thwarts Liber8 through the season, she and Alec learn more about her tech, evade detection from suspicious government Agent Gardiner, and unravel the mystery of who sent them all back in time. Did Alec’s future self have something to do with it?
The first season has only ten episodes, with most of them being strong additions to the story arc with the exceptions of “A Test of Time” where Kiera tries to prevent Liber8 from killing her grandmother, a pregnant, homeless street punk, and “Matter of Time” where Kiera inexplicably lets a murderer go free for the good of all mankind. Fortunately, the other episodes are entertaining and provocative, including season ender “End Times” which raises more questions than it answers, but in a way that will have you anxiously awaiting season two.
Rachel Nichols is worth watching as Kiera Cameron. As a cop she is convincing, her hand to hand combat is impressive, and her moments of anguish as a mother separated from her husband & son by 65 years are heartbreaking without being too maudlin. She holds the show together.
The characters of her partner Carlos Fonnegra and budding genius Alec Sadler are also played by strong actors, and although the Liber8 crew doesn’t stand out as well, Tony Amendola as Kagame, their leader, brings a gravitas to the role with a menacing grace. The use of Kiera’s augmented reality future tech in our world is done to great effect as well, and fortunately, her super suit is used in moderation, allowing Kiera to be vulnerable and human.
Brains wins over brawn in general in this series. Continuum is well deserving of its all-time record of 16 Leo Award nominations, 7 of which it won for costume, design, acting, and directing.
Release Date: May 27, 2012 (Canada)
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (mild, social drinking, drug use in one episode)
Language: 3 (occasional expletives)
Sexuality: 2 (implied sex, waking up in bed and smoochin’)
Violence: 3 (gun fights, martial arts, fisticuffs, explosions, people die)