The much-deserved success of Being Human and Lost Girl have amplified the supernatural factor on the Syfy network, which used to be the home for science fiction buffs. Lately, it has struggled to keep the core audience interested in Alphas and Eureka but consider Continuum, Syfy’s mea culpa.
Continuum is a science fiction series about a revolution, spearheaded by a group of rebels calling themselves Liber8, charged for terrorism in Vancouver in the year 2077, but escape their sentence by time traveling to 2012 where they can rewrite history and right the wrongs of the future. Also sent back to 2012 is Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols), a protector (futuristic law enforcer) who gets caught in the teleportation. Stuck in the present day, Kiera must preserve her life in the future, by stopping the rebels and finding a way to back to her life in the future. She is assisted by Matthew (Stephen Lobo), one of the rebels who distances himself after the time travel and Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen) who will eventually become the owner of a massive corporation, but is currently a tech expert who spends his time locked up in a computer lab on his stepfather’s farm.
Since its U.S. Premiere, Continuum has become one our favorite new series of 2012-2013, and we’re certain that next week’s Season 1 finale is sure to cap off a satisfying first season. Here are 12 reasons why we think you should be watching Continuum.
1. Rachel Nichols
She played Scarlett in the first G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, yes that film, and she suffered through being eye candy in several films, like being one of Captain Kirk’s conquests in the Star Trek reboot. The model-turned-actress has really made it work on television, establishing herself as a series regular on Alias and Criminal Minds. In Continuum, Nichols plays a woman out of her time, but also a mother, wife, detective and an action star and is believable in all sides of that single character. She’s the one calling the shots, navigating the systems in the future and present with her experiences and knowledge so she knows when to act and when not to interfere with the present day.
2. Role reversal
TV series that feature male and female leads often have the woman in distress, is shown as the weaker one, or is not as smart as the male co-star. Kiera joins the Vancouver Police Department as part of her cover in the present day and is often bailing her buff partner, detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) out of trouble. It is a fun twist that usually works in their favor since most–except for the Liber8 rebels–believe Carlos is the bigger threat to them, as seen in the penultimate episode, “Family Time.”
3. Kiera’s other partner
Maybe it’s because he grows up to be played by William B. Davis (Cancer Man from The X-Files) but Knudsen plays the role of a tech know-it-all stationed in a watchtower. We like the idea of a young, idealistic Alec and wonder if his experiences with Kiera will alter his timeline or contribute to him becoming one of the corporate heads of the future. His complicated home life on the farm makes him even more interesting, especially how he’s able to sustain his computer lab and help Kiera without ever leaving to earn money. He’s had to help Kiera lead a normal life in the present day and adapt her to the way things used to be, despite being a lonely soul himself.
Comprised of supporting actors from some our favorite shows, the rebel group is a menagerie of mixed personalities all fighting for the cause, Edouard Kagame (Tony Amendola, Stargate SG-1, Dexter) is the leader, Travis is the hotheaded muscle (Roger Cross, 24 and Arrow), Lucas is the tech expert (Omari Newton, Blue Mountain State) while Sonya (Lexa Doig, Andromeda) and Jasmine (Luvia Petersen) are two bad ass femme fatales. Matthew Kellog (Stephen Lobo) defected from the group and used his knowledge of the future to become rich in the present day. He secretly assists Kiera and is tied to her as everyone close to him died in her presence. Why are they a reason to watch? They all act as a group and independently from one another. They’re unpredictable and are each dangerous in their own way. Even when they’re not directly connected to a crime, there is a good chance they are looking to capitalize on it.
5. Smart time travel
We’re not talking about the kind written by Damon Lindelof, I’m talking about good time travel, like Terminator. Alec hypothesizes that either the present day must be preserved in order to keep the future intact, or the presence of the time travelers have already altered the future. We never get any flash-forwards reflecting if any changes were made due to Kiera’s and Liber8’s actions. We do see glimpses of the future, prior to the time travel, to know what it is that Kiera is trying to preserve and as background on all of the Liber8 terrorists. It’s fun to watch how present day events inspire the future.
6. Clues bridging the future with the past
There have been interesting clues about the teleportation that remain a mystery. In the pilot episode, Alec in the future is the only one who seems prepared that the rebels were going to time travel, as if he helped set the plan in motion. Then the most surprising twist is when Travis assassinates Kellog’s apparent grandmother in the present day before she can have children. Kellog did not cease to exist, so now the woman who he thought was his grandmother is in question. If she was who Kellog thought she was, then his continued existence remains a mystery.
7. Cool-ey high tech
All protectors are implanted with a Cybernetic computer system that gives them all sorts of abilities, taking augmented reality to extreme levels. Kiera can monitor biorhythms, record audio and video, link up with her suit and Alec’s computers, and the limits appear to be endless. She also has a few other tools from the future that are too cool for school, like a custom firearm that telescopes around her hand, and a space age forensic Swiss army knife that can spray powder in a room and help her see fingerprints and link up to IAFIS, open locked doors, and probably a lot more we’ve yet to see. One episode showed Kiera tapping into satellites in combination with her suit and implant to watch the heat signatures of a murder that happened a day prior. While she could not identify the parties involved, she was able to witness how the murder was executed through heat signatures.
8. Those kinky threads
Getting Kiera in a tricked out cat suit is brilliant for obvious reasons, but her Protector suit can do all sorts of things like go stealth, tap into satellites, being bulletproof, change colors, is equipped with a built-in stun gun, is lined with computer screens up and down her limbs and it gives her enhanced strength and agility. We’re still combing through still shots to see if there’s an Apple logo on it.
9. But it’s not all about the technology
If anyone were to see Kiera uses this great tech every episode, she would start to raise questions. So she uses them to a bare minimum and her suit was damaged for most of Season 1. She’s not Michael Knight and doesn’t need a talking car to do all the heavy lifting. Rather than being all about the technology, Continuum showed that Kiera was a good at her job, and Alec is an extremely helpful partner. Knowing she doesn’t need her suit makes her that much better of a character, she’s earned viewers’ trust, but now that the suit is fixed, we’re looking forward to seeing how she and Alec put it to use.
10. Who are the real villains?
On the surface the Liber8 rebels or terrorists (however you want to classify them) do their fair share of evil in the series, but for a minute, let’s consider where they’re coming from. In the future, democracy amongst other world governments crumbled and the ones in charge now are large corporations. There are basically two classes of citizens, those that work for the corporations and those who live below basic poverty levels. Liber8 is doing what they can to prevent the dystopian future from becoming a reality but it means destroying the status quo in the present day. They’re looking to expose CEOs who abuse their power, white-collar criminals, and mega corporations (one is patterned off of Monsanto) that do more harm than good. So their message is very relatable. At the same time, how they carry out the change can’t be encouraged. It’s a real dilemma for viewers because both sides have their arguments. Life isn’t easy, why should TV be any different?
11. Tough decisions
Kiera is often stuck having to make decisions to preserve the future. Sometimes that means allowing someone in the present day to make a mistake–like murder–to allow them the chance for meaningful redemption later. Another week Liber8 tried to have Kiera’s grandmother (who was pregnant with one of Kiera’s parents) killed in the present day, and by saving her from danger, she thought about having an abortion. Worrying about her livelihood, Kiera talked her down from the ledge, assured her that becoming a mother is hard work but it’s also worth it.
12. Already set for a second season
Give credit to Syfy for being creative. Like with Lost Girl, the network purchased the rights to show a series already in progress, start it from the beginning and let American audiences catch up. For Continuum, the new season is technically the second, which might be shown in both Canada (on Showcase)
and the U.S. (on Syfy) starting April 21. **CORRECTION** Syfy has confirmed with BuzzFocus as of 3/14/13 that they have not yet announced any news about when or if it is airing Season 2.
Why would Syfy do this? They invested in series that were already hits in Canada, so there was no question whether Continuum or Lost Girl were quality shows. Provided American audiences didn’t take to the bootleg circuit to be ahead of the curve, they were treated to a show that already proved themselves and were recognized as critical successes. Viewers and Syfy’s execs watched with confidence, knowing future episodes were in production, with no worry of cancellation. Television viewers, especially science fiction aficionados, know how tedious it is to invest time into a series, only to see it get cancelled before the initial season is over. Regardless of its success on Syfy, these shows will remain strong in Canada. Syfy provided a channel to build a bigger audience, one, which Continuum richly, deserves.
We realize that audiences are split several ways, but if you have the space for another show, or have been starving for well-written science fiction based in the real world, do not miss out on Continuum. Catch the Season 1 Finale of Continuum on Syfy Monday night at 8/7C and Season 2 on April 21.