Continuum is “a thinking person’s show” says Rachel Nichols

Continuum star Rachel Nichols on big ideas, Alias, and sci-fi fandom

Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron in Continuum Season 1

A gripping mix of time travel thrills, corporate conspiracy, and police procedural, Canadian sci-fi show Continuum, starring Alias, Conan and GI Joe ass-kicker Rachel Nichols, as time-displaced supercop Kiera Cameron, has become one of the genre’s most successful shows. In an exclusive chat with SciFiNow, Nichols reflected on the fans, her relationship with genre, and why Continuum is a triumph of intelligent storytelling…

It seems that Continuum is one of the few unambigious sci-fi shows on TV at the moment…

I love that it’s the way that it is because it’s a real thinking person’s show. Once you start watching it – like that one viewer said – you get one question answered and you get more questions you wanna ask, there’s a really interesting thing that I love about sci-fi is there are no rules – I mean, there are rules when you’re dealing with time travel, but with how many people came back, and when will they surface?

The depth is so extensive, plus you can also say some very interesting things within the sci-fi genre that can be quite political, quite socially toned, and you can get away with it. There’s a big social commentary going on in our show. You know, in 2077 the corporations blatantly run the government and tech runs the world – I believe Episode Six was the Occupy movement episode.

It’s a very intelligent genre, it also allows people who like sci-fi and like time travel to be interested in the show, and people who like that procedural element to be interesting in the show, and then because the show is character driven – the people who enjoy meeting new characters and identifying with them and watching their story arcs and how they change, there’s that element as well so sci-fi like ours encompasses it all.

Is this why it resonates with fans?

I’d like to think so, I really would. We’ve done panels in Vancouver, we did panels in Toronto and I know my co-stars were in London in the Fall – it’s fascinating to see… sci-fi fans are amazing, sci-fi fans I find are the most zealous, the most in tune with the legacy or the lore behind the stories or behind an element like time travel, and they really know their stuff so when you’re sitting in front of a couple of hundred fans and you get to stand up and do a Q&A, sometimes you get asked these fascinating questions about the shows – and that’s really rewarding because it means they’re really watching it, they’re really paying attention and they want to know more.

They want to see more episodes and i think, yeah, that’s what’s made this show so well received, because it works for someone who wants to sit down and enjoy it on a superficial level, but for anyone who wants to delve deeper and ask some interesting questions, there are limitless possibilities, and it’s nice when people take advantage of that.

Have you always been into sci-fi, or did you find yourself falling into it through your roles?

There were definitely elements… I found a lot of sci-fi ever since I joined Alias, that was probably my first time I was on a show that was slightly sci-fi –

probably because of the Rambaldi artefacts, probably because of that storyline. People were fascinated with that. The programming has always been interesting, whether it was out of space or time travel, or anything. There is a fantasy element that I like, but there’s also a science element which even if something seems impossible there’s the scientific element that almost grounds it, and makes it believable, which I really enjoy.

Continuum Season 2 is expected to air Spring 2013 on Syfy in the UK and on Showcase in Canada. Pick up Continuum Season 1 on DVD now for £17 from Amazon.co.uk.