Saturday, 16 June 2012

Canadian TV: Continuum

Continuum is a new science-fiction television show that started on the Showcase channel here in Canada recently. So far, three episodes have aired and I've enjoyed them all. The premise of the series may sound familiar (a cop sent back in time to stop dangerous criminals) but the execution of it so far has been surprising and a lot of fun.

Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) is a police officer with the Vancouver City Protective Services in the year 2077. She is a wife and a mother to a young boy and her city has been the victim of a terrorist attack which killed thousands. The terrorists responsible were captured and sentenced to execution, but on the day they were scheduled to be killed, the terrorists activated a device sending them all back in time 65 years to modern day Vancouver. Kiera accidentally gets brought along for the ride and ends up having to work alongside Vancouver police in 2012, but with her future tech (mostly) intact. She also finds help from Alec Sadler, a 17 year old whiz kid who will one day be responsible for creating the tech (including a bodysuit that can absorb bullets and some neat implants in Kiera's brain) that Kiera had been outfitted with for chasing down criminals in the future.

I realize this all sounds like it might be riffing off of Time Cop, 12 Monkeys and a handful of other films, but the real difference here is Rachel Nichols. Here is a woman who misses her husband, her son, her friends, and the things she took for granted in her own time period. Stranded in the past, Kiera has to decide if she's changing the future of her own family with every step she takes or if she's simply following a preordained path that has already been laid out for  her. Nichols' portrays Kiera's conflict and her loss with striking emotion, but never to the point that Kiera seems weak or unable to do what is necessary to track the eight criminals (some of which are "enhanced" murderers) and bring them to justice. She handles everything from a fast-talking con man to a highly trained martial artist and does so with intelligence and dignity, all the while trying to fit in as best she can with the primitive time period and the police who's trust she has to earn.

The show itself takes some surprising twists and turns (which I won't spoil here) and the action scenes (particularly the hand-to-hand combat scene in episode 3) are some of the best I've seen on television in a while. Add to this Kiera's cool tech (she can see things in infrared, store video files in her brain and her gun is able to tag criminals in order to find them again if they should escape) and the series becomes a lot of fun. There are also quite a few familiar faces for genre fans in the show: Jennifer Spence and Mike Dopud from Stargate: Universe, Lexa Doig from Andromeda and Tony Amendola from Stargate: SG-1.

For more about Continuum, check out the official website and if you live in Canada, watch it live on Sunday nights on Showcase at 9pm ET/PT.

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