Eight terrorists escape a dystopian future to the present day, in the hopes of changing the course of history. But their plans go awry when a really hot police officer accidentally tags along.
That police officer is Kiera Cameron, played by Rachel Nichols. She arrives in the year 2012 wearing her standard-issue, skintight, bronze-colored bodysuit that has the ability to shock people, look up information, or turn her invisible. Plus, she looks great in it.
Kiera comes off as a rather cold person. When she’s on the job, she sounds a little like Judge Dredd, or Robocop, practiced and emotionless to the point of sounding robotic (this is particularly noticeable in the scene on the train). In quieter times, she a little more human; but still fairly baseline when it comes to emotions. She has a husband and son in the future whom she’d like to get back to, though we never see her all that distraught over being separated from them. Maybe she’s just super confident that she’ll get back.
The dystopian nature of the future stems from the collapse of the government, and the subsequent ‘bailout’ by corporations. It’s easy to see this as a reflection of modern times, though the show avoids taking sides. The bankruptcy of the government sounds like a right-wing fever-dream, but the evil corporations taking over is likewise for the left. Of course, this setup isn’t foreign to sci-fi, the robot movie Crash and Burn had an identical corporate-run government.
The eight terrorist are fighting against the corporations to reestablish democracy. But while people can sympathize with their goals, their methods, which include killing 30 000 innocent people to take out 20 targets, are less relatable. It’s hard to get a handle on the terrorists. Everything about them screams ‘homicidal maniac,’ to the point that their ‘freedom fighter’ cause seems irrelevant. Are they true believers, or just killers recruited for the cause? One of the terrorists, Sonya Valentine (who doesn’t get many lines in the first episode, but gets more screen time as the season progresses) is played by Lexa Doig, who also played the ship’s avatar on the sci-fi TV series Andromeda.
While I’m on the subject, there’s a lot of sci-fi veterans in this show. Tony Amenola (Dexter, Stargate SG-1, Once Upon A Time), William B. Davis (The smoking man from The X-Files), and Roger Cross (First Wave, 24).
Kiera, like many a cliched sci-fi stranger in a strange land, quickly adapts. She immediately finds a confidant; a young computer genius, who it turns out has just invented the communications system that she has implanted in her head. Perfect timing. She then finds herself employed by the local police service, despite the fact that she has no credentials, identification, and claims to be a foreign national. (I should note, this issue is addressed successfully in the second episode). And, of course, her new partner doesn’t know her secret. They never do.
With its first episode, Continuum creates an interesting world with a complex central conflict. There are a few too many convenient happenings in the premiere, but the show improves with each passing episode. Kiera is fleshed out and humanized considerably, and moral issues around the terrorists are explored in a satisfying way.