Posted on October 26, 2015
My first thought was that this was meant to be a CW show. Everyone is too pretty and too young. It just has that “The FBI’s hottest agents are all in one apartment complex” feeling.
For instance, Rachel Nichols who plays time traveling supercop Kiera Cameron was 32 when this show debuted, however she looks like she may be 28 at most. Still, her character is supposed to be a former soldier and current police detective/mother of a six-year-old. She just looked too young to be that person.
Secondly, her present day partner Carlos is played by Victor Webster, a former chin model and star of such soap operas as Melrose Place and Lincoln Heights.
Needless to say, I was not hyped for this show, but I had a whole weekend upended by cancelled plans and nothing else to fill it with so I decided to watch it anyway.
It gets off to an unsteady start (like most shows) but I was struck right away by the quality acting coming from Nichols and Webster. They had almost instant chemistry and never once let a line reading go flat.
This is the problem with dismissing actors just because they’re attractive. Some — though, probably very few — attractive people actually have soul it turns out.
The other thing that intrigued me right off the bat was the show’s murky setup. Kiera Cameron has been inadvertently sent back in time 65 years with the group of terrorists she sent to the death chamber. That sounds like a standard setup for any TV show, I know, except that it doesn’t take long to realize that even though their methods are reprehensible, these terrorists are fighting against a corporate future that we’re all worried about.
It turns out that in 2077 guys like the Koch brothers have triumphed. They’ve done away with government and corporations run everything. The people have no one to serve them and no recourse for justice.
Even more confusingly, the man who engineered the time travel stunt is one of those corporate godfathers. His intention is to send a message to his younger self about the awful future he created with his technology.
So who to root for? Well, Cameron, obviously, but it’s not the standard, knee-jerk support you give to any lead in a show like this because she’s actively trying to maintain the future so she can get back to her family.
Confused yet? You won’t be after this week’s episode of Continuum.
Actually, you will still be confused and that’s another nice thing about this show. It gives you what need when you need it rather than front load your brain with a ton of backstory as TV is wont to do.
One of the first little prickles of dissatisfaction for me came when Cameron gets to the past and immediately hooks up with the kid who would grow up to invent the super smart chip in her head. And he just happens to be working on a prototype of the communications system that allows him to be in her head at all times.
Except that it’s not. You don’t find out until well into Season 1 (or maybe early in Season 2) but that’s the younger version of the man who sent her back in time in the first place. He sent her to that time precisely because it would be the first moment in history when she could make contact with him.
That is ballsy story telling for a medium where writers live in constant fear of cancellation.
Bottom line: The writing is strong, the acting is good and I’m hooked.
P.S. – One little quibble: this is one of the last shows to still indulge in that saccharine TV trope, the sad music montage at the end of every episode. They need to stop.