Remember Rachel Nichols in GI Joe? Clad in a one piece outfit full of hi-tech gadgetry? She’s here again in Continuum, clad in a one piece outfit full of hi-tech gadgetry. However, the producers cleverly disguise it as a two piece outfit with the lower half turning into a pair of trousers. And then the top half gets frazzled in an electrifying encounter with a non-empathising villain. . . .
It all sounds like hokum, but Continuum has a magnetism about it that may hold my attention for a few more episodes. It’s not The Wire, but then there’ll never be anything to match The Wire, so we have to make do with the rest and hope.
In 2077 corporations have become the government. (What took them so long and why did they choose to make it public knowledge?) Nichols plays Kiera Cameron a police officer in a police force which defends the interests of the law and the lawmakers. Terrorists caught and ready for execution have some explosive devise which goes off and transports them back in time.
But like a lot of fictitious villains’ plans, things go wrong. They’re blown back over sixty years in time, not the six they were hoping for. And a pesky police officer standing too close to the explosion goes back in time with them. The police in Vancouver can’t figure out why Nichols knows so much about the terrorists who have literally just appeared in the city, and a young man in an attic surrounded by computer monitors just happens to be at the embryonic stage of a company that will take over the future.
On this premise Continuum becomes a fairly straightforward hunt-em-down race against time cop show. But rather than the officer being an ex-alcoholic drug user with marital issues, Nichols’s cop is a stranger in a strange land. What Continuum does explore, subtly, and possibly not often enough, are the ramifications of time travel and what the terrorists might do to affect the future they’ve come from. If they do the wrong thing in 2011 they might discover an altered future in which either the corporations don’t exist or they all end up as CEOs. (And when you think of it, half of the hippy idealists who survived the sixties went on to become big business types!)
Whether I’ll survive another set of episodes I can’t predict, but that’s time travel for you. The omens are not good. In the first four episodes there have already been two ‘misery montages.’ You’ve seen them: ten minutes from the end the dialogue stops, there’s a sequence of moribund images and either Linkin Park or some other whining muso droning on about something nobody cares about.
Continuum doesn’t need it. None of these television programmes need it. Maybe at some point in the future it’ll be a trend that producers move away from.