You can tell Continuum is Canadian, because it’s filmed in Vancouver and doesn’t disguise the fact. Yet, while the show takes full advantage of the city’s modern aesthetic, the scripts could do with more polish.
The premise of a cop who travels back from the future to prevent villains from messing with the present echoes 1985’s Trancers. Audiences’ expectations have advanced in 28 years, though, so instead of Tim Thomerson’s Brylcreemed hair and shoulder pads, we’re given Rachel Nichols in a body-hugging electrified leotard.
Nichols plays Kiera Cameron, a policewoman in 2077 who takes down terrorists that oppose the corporate-run government. When a group escapes execution by zapping back to the present day, she follows them. Luckily, in 2012 the cybernetic implants in Kiera’s brain give her a direct line to 17-year-old computer-nerd-in-a-barn Alec (Erik Knudsen). Despite the fact that Alec might be the person who develops the technology the terrorists use for their time jump, Kiera teams up with him and hunky cop Carlos (Victor Webster) to save the future.
Unfortunately, what follows fails to make the most of time travel’s mind-bending potential as a story device or reflect on the social issues inherent in the back story. The format relies heavily on procedural clichés and the villains are largely one-dimensional thugs and psychos who have no problem killing the people they claim to be liberating. Even when the mythology is developed, pivotal events too often depend on people making daft decisions.
In its favour, Continuum moves at a brisk pace and has enough of an emotional core to make you care about the characters. Occasional appearances by William B Davis (The X Files’ Cigarette Smoking Man) also stand out, even though he plays a character like Fringe’s William Bell. His key contribution to an ambitious climax suggests the writers are aiming higher for the second season.
If that’s the case, Continuum could go a long way.