Some of you may know that I’m a big fan of the Canadian science fiction show Continuum. Like, I once wrote a ridiculously long post recapping the entire first two seasons and giving some thoughts for where the show might take the story in the future.
Now that the third season is premiering, I’m here to recruit some new fans — so here are some reasons to watch (with no big spoilers, don’t worry!):
The Time Travel Twists
The show is about a cop in the year 2077, who is on duty when a group of terrorists calling themselves Liber8 is going to be executed for their crimes. At the last second, these terrorists use a time travel device to escape to 2012 — and the cop, Kiera Cameron, is sucked in with them. Stranded in our time period, she wants to stop Liber8 in the present while trying to preserve the timeline to make it back to 2077, where she has a husband and son. If too many things change in the present, the future might shift accordingly — meaning her family may not exist if she ever does make it back to 2077.
It’s an original premise and allows the show to be sci-fi yet set in the present day, with no need for major special effects, etc. But what I really love about it is how surprising it is. It plays with familiar time travel concepts such as the grandfather paradox, but it always makes them feel unique. Part of this is because the show’s characters are so strong, and everything presented in the storylines is personal to someone.
A Cop Show That’s Not Your Average Procedural
I would describe Continuum as a cop show, but it’s not an episodic procedural. Kiera teams up with the local police force in 2012 to help take down the Liber8 terrorists, which is the big “cop” arc that the show has. There are no separate crimes that are solved at the end of each episode; instead, Kiera and her fellow cops are specifically tracking Liber8 throughout the series — plus all of the other stuff going on. And while I’m all for a good cop procedural like (Almost Human), I prefer Continuum‘s long game.
The Importance of the Tech
The futuristic technology in Continuum is mostly limited to whatever Kiera has on her when she time travels, such as her cop suit that lets her decipher codes, turn invisible, create crazy shields to block bullets, and more. She also has a Cellular Memory Review (CMR) that records everything, as well as a HUD that can show her readings on people she’s interrogating so she knows when they’re lying, among other things. Plus, during flashbacks to 2077, you get to see a lot of the tech that makes that future world go ’round. Still, if you’re really into lots of tech, it might feel like Continuum doesn’t have enough.
Personally, I like that the tech is limited but well-developed. The Liber8 members are always after Kiera’s cop suit because they know what it can do; there’s even a very cool episode about the suit falling into the hands of people like us, living in modern times, who don’t know what it is. (But don’t worry, I won’t spoil it!) The rarity of the tech, and the fact that not everyone knows Kiera has it, works its way into interesting storylines and adds a lot to the stakes. It also makes the flashbacks to the future more exciting.
The Focus on Characterization
I love Continuum‘s characters. When I haven’t watched the show in a while, I sort of miss them. And what’s really cool is that the “villains” in Liber8 outnumber the good guys and are just as well-developed as Kiera and her friends. Each of the Liber8 members has a unique purpose, personality, and back story, and they have their own conflicts with each other as the story unravels.
Kiera also meets interesting allies in the year 2012. One is her cop partner, Carlos, who defends her when the rest of the station doesn’t know what to make of Kiera. But the most important of Kiera’s allies is Alec Sadler, a teenage computer genius who is able to tap into Kiera’s tech… because he’s the one who designed it in the future.
Kiera herself is one of the less accessible characters, which I actually love. She’s serious — sometimes too serious. She’s also got tunnel vision on getting back to her family, which can make her seem selfish sometimes with people in the present. And though the Liber8 members use terrorist tactics to spread their message and further their cause, they champion freedom from corporate rule — something that a lot of us probably agree with today. Meanwhile, Kiera is the one who is actually okay with corporate rule. In the first episode, she even makes a joke that it’s corporations that make life so comfortable for her family and her friends in 2077.
I’m kind of hoping Kiera will go through a character arc that has her believing in Liber8’s cause. Or maybe she and Liber8 will meet in the middle. Or maybe that’s not what Continuum is even about. The show loves to present different ideologies, but it doesn’t seem to condone any single one, which is very cool.
If you’re interested, the first two seasons of Continuum are on Netflix, and the third season premieres this coming Friday here in the States. I am so ready to jump back in at last season’s cliffhanger…