Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Continuum” (Sorta.)

Dear Frank,

continuumSometimes this blog is a place where I provide a genuine public service for you and others, by telling you everything you might need to know about a certain media item so that you never have to consume it yourself. And sometimes it is a place where I just tell you about something I liked recently, and urge you and others to check it out, and maybe I don’t reveal too much about it along the way to enable said checking-out.

We’re doing the second thing today. Continuum, Frank! A show worth checking out!

Well, very specifically, a show worth checking out if (like me) you cut your sci-fi teeth on The X-Files and other genre shows that were shot in Canada in the 1990s. I don’t know what it is about the combination of grey skies, pine trees, and low-budget special effects that I find so charming, but any time I even sniff a hint of Vancouver or Toronto in a show’s exterior shots, I feel like I’ve come home.

So Continuum, which is not only shot in Canada but IS CANADIAN and is actually SET IN CANADA, had an easy in with my heart. And we haven’t even gotten to the strong female protagonist yet!

Meet Kira. She is played by Rachel Nichols (who played the Orion cadet in Star Trek and was in the fifth season of Alias and also the first G.I. Joe movie we don’t talk about). She will be our strong female protagonist today!

Kira’s a cop in the year 2077, and she has a son and a husband that she seems pretty into, and she also has some awesome future tech like a cell phone that’s inside her head and a SUPER SUIT that is bulletproof and able to electrocute people and hack ATMs!

Side note: Why are cops so prone to getting sent back in time? (Especially when they’re Jason O’Mara.) It almost makes me want to be a cop, on the off chance I could end up fighting crime Mad Men-style wait no pantyhose every day I take it back.

Why, in today’s example, does Kira get sent back in time? Funny story, Frank. See, the year 2077 does have some awesome tech, but economic collapses have put corporations in charge, and (as we learn over the course of the first season) this has fucked up pesky little things like personal freedom.

Thus, there are “freedom fighters” AKA terrorists who are trying to bring down the system, and Kira’s part of the team that arrests a bunch of them — just after they successfully kill thousands in an explosion. She is also one of the people in the room where the terrorists are meant to be executed, but the terrorists somehow manage to get a time travel device into the execution chamber and WHOOPS back to 2012 Vancouver they all go!

This is all like in the first eight minutes of the pilot, Frank! The rest of that first episode is devoted to Kira struggling with our modern age and integrating herself into the local police force to search for the terrorists. Oh, and she finds herself an unusual ally in a teen genius who somehow is able to connect with the cell phone in her brain with his experimental 2012 tech. How is that possible? That is just one of Continuum‘s many (very intriguing) secrets!

I mean, yeah, she’s a cop in the past on the hunt for criminals from her time. Just like Time Trax! (It is okay if you have never heard of Time Trax. It is the rare human being who remembers that it even existed.)

Hi, Dale Midkiff! Hi.

Hi, Dale Midkiff! Hi.

And there are other elements that do feel borrowed from science fiction classics — when my friend Rudy and I talked about it on our time travel podcast, he offered up some very fair criticism of the show.

But what I like about Continuum is that it’s not afraid to make the terrorists sympathetic or to make its protagonist question things she’s always believed. The year 2077 is a complicated place — tech-rich but resource-poor — and what effects this burst of time travel might have on what Kira thinks of as her world could be seismic.

For, as far as knotty takes on time travel go, this one has the potential to really develop into something special. Like, it takes on the grandfathermother paradox almost immediately, and there are questions about predestination and closed time loops that will have people making extremely complicated charts and graphs for (hopefully) seasons to come, and the time travel device resembles an art deco orange. (That last thing’s not super-relevant — I just think it looks cool.)

Plus, Frank, I know I already mentioned the Canada thing but it really is so refreshing to see a show shot in Canada that actually takes place in Canada. And here’s how Canadian we’re talking: Not only does Helo from Battlestar show up, but there are appearances by not one but TWO X-Files alumni! Cigarette-Smoking Man and Krycek! Seriously!

I didn't even think William B. Davis was still ALIVE. (I am of course glad to hear it.)

I didn’t even think William B. Davis was still ALIVE. (I am of course glad to hear it.)

Right now, the first season is airing in the U.S. on the Sci-Fi Channel (I don’t feel like using the Ys today), and the second season is shooting in Canada. Which I am excited about! And maybe you will be too!

Because there’s an awful lot of TV to be watched — Frank, I am behind on everything right now. But I made time for Continuum. I suppose that’s what happens when you’re a slut for Canada.


About Liz Shannon Miller

Liz Shannon Miller is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor, and has been talking about television on the Internet since the very beginnings of the Internet. She is currently Senior TV Editor at Collider, and her work has also been published by the New York Times, Vulture, Variety, the AV Club, the Hollywood Reporter, IGN, The Verge, and Thought Catalog. She is also a produced playwright, a host of podcasts, and a repository of "X-Files" trivia.

Posted on February 19, 2013, in Some Spoilers, TV and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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