Sunday night, I had the pleasure of catching the premiere of a new sci-fi show called “Continuum”. I had seen the TV ads, basically showing one of two people standing on a beach with a spherical device that’s very high-tech and mysterious. In the case of the man standing on the beach, the message is that he is destined to destroy the world — but has to go back in time to do it. For the woman on the beach, it’s the opposite, she’s going back in time to stop it, but has to give up everything in the present. The premiere was a blast as you meet the main character named Kiera Cameron, a cop in the year 2077. The opening premise explains how governments fell, corporations took over, and now there are liberty-fighters aka terrorists fighting against the big corporations by blowing up corporate buildings. Keira arrests one of the leaders, and then goes to his planned execution, only to see him and seven other inmates start some sort of energy device. She rushes to stop them, and in a blinding flash, her and the eight criminals are all transported back to the year 2012. Kiera chases one of the inmates, gets him arrested, and then teams up with a local cop (by pretending there’s a new gang in town, and she’s just following them from another city). She’s traumatized that she has family back in 2077 (including a son) and wants to get back to them, but she remains dedicated to re-arresting the terrorists before they change the future and inflict damage on an unsuspecting society in 2012. The opening episode called “A Stitch in Time” was pretty solid, and there is a lot of meaty threads for future episodes to pick up:
- Not all of the citizens in 2077 like that corporations are in charge, so the terrorists may be egregious in their methods but there is some counter-support for their message (i.e. they’re harsh but they are fighting for their liberties, potentially);
- At the last minute, there’s a change in logistics at the prison, and Kiera is assigned to be a guard in the room at the time of the execution (and putting her there when the time travel event happens)…but just before the event, her husband reacts to her surprised presence and tries to convince his boss and a guard to get her out, thus signaling perhaps that he and his boss were involved in the escape attempt;
- Kiera has a high-tech bio-electrical suit that she’s wearing — fully computerized, lots of implants in her, plus the computer has high-tech weapons, scanning tools, etc. But while it will give her an advantage, it will be difficult to hide AND probably doesn’t have an unlimited power supply;
- She has a comms implant in her head (audio and video) and when she tries to contact her precinct (not realizing she’s in 2012, not 2077), she accidentally contacts a 17-year old kid name Alec Sadler running on the same network, who turns out to be the primary inventor of most of the technology from 2077 (i.e. he’ll be an ally, at least initially); and,
- Kiera took an injection on the second day of her visit that looked both necessary and painful, with little explanation of the meds she injected, but also likely to eventually be in short supply in 2012.
However, the part I found REALLY interesting was not the basic plot (hey, you had me at time travel), but rather the people involved. Rachel Nichols plays the lead, Kiera. If she looks familiar to genre lovers, she should — Conan the Barbarian (2011), G.I. Joe – Rise of Cobra, Star Trek (2009), and a recurring character on Alias. Plus, somebody must have watched Jodie Foster in Contact (1997) because the opening sequence steals her hairdo and most of her facial expressions. Which is weird because nobody would mistake Nichols’ normal model appearances as looking like Foster. But let’s just say Nichols has genre street cred. Then they tagged Victor Webster to play her cop partner…Scorpion King 3 (2012), Castle (2010/11, played Beckett’s failed love interest), and, of course, Mutant X (2001-2004).
For the rest of the show, I just played a game called “Hey, she / he looks familiar…hmm, that’s going to drive me nuts”. Well, no need to go nuts on your own! Erik Knudsen plays young Alec Sadler, and you’ll likely recognize him from Jericho (2006-2008) or perhaps Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010). But, hang on to your hats, cuz young Alec grows up to be, CSM — Cigarette-Smoking Man from X-Files, William B. Davis (okay, his name was Spender, but you didn’t know that when you first met him on X-Files). Add in Caprica, Stargate SG-1, Smallville, Andromeda, etc. Heck, he was even in Airwolf back in the day. He’s not listed as a major player for the new series, not even credited on the main IMDB page. But, then again, neither is Tony Amendola who is the supposed leader of the terrorists but who “fails” to survive the jump (according to one of the inmates, who’s probably doing a misdirect). At any rate, Amendola is busy over on Once Upon A Time playing Marco / Gepetto, and also not credited for his pilot work here. Very curious. Who else do we have? Stephen Lobo (used to be on Painkiller Jane); Richard Harmon (from The Killing); Brian Markinson (Dark Angel); Jennifer Spence (Stargate Universe); Roger Cross (X-Men 2, The Gates); Lexa Doig (Andromeda, V, Stargate SG-1); and let’s not forget Zahf Paroo (Defying Gravity, cancelled WAY too soon).
They had me at time travel.
Perhaps the inmates can start small, with some protests: What do we want? Time Travel! When do we want it? Irrelevant!