The Bionic Woman goes a’time travelling . . .
This week saw the premiere of the new science fiction series Continuum on Canada’s Showcase network. (The series is not is being shown on any network in the US.)
Things look bright from the purely numbers side of things: the show reached an estimated total of 1.7 million viewers – surely nothing to sneeze at! With sci-fi shows such as Alcatraz and Terra Nova – to mention only two notable examples – dropping dead left, right and center all over the place this year genre fans must be suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
The question is however whether Continuum, which features many familiar faces from previous sci-fi shows, will manage to attract the same number of viewers to tune in for the next episode.
We’re not too convinced. Continuum is off to a shaky start to be honest. We’ll give the show a few more episodes since serial TV shows such as these take a few episodes to get off the ground, but until then the jury are out on the series.
It is the year 2077. Multinational corporations now run things after they saved governments from economic meltdown and ruin following a global recession. The corporations also got rid of things such as democracy. After all, capitalism doesn’t really need democracy, now does it? In protest a group of radical terrorists blows up the “Corporate Congress” building resulting in thousands of civilian deaths.
The terrorists are captured and sentenced to public televised execution. However they manage to escape by dramatically jumping back in time to Vancouver in 2012. A bionically- enhanced cop named Kiera Cameron (Alias’ Rachel Nichols) inadvertently jumps back in time with them. Now it is up to Kiera to stop the group from wreaking havoc in the past, or rather our present . . .
The pilot is riddled with plot holes and missed opportunities.
Vancouver police are a trusting lot it seems and quickly accept that Kiera is indeed a cop from another division without her so much as flashing a badge once.
The movie jumps right into the action and does little to flesh out Kiera’s future world. Time travel stories have a lot of scope for some fish out of water shenanigans, but Continuum doesn’t seem to be interested in any of this. Instead Kiera adapts quite easily to life sixty years in the past and even manages to steal some cash to rent a hotel room from an ATM using her future tech.
There is some moral ambiguity: Kiera is dedicated to protecting her future world’s political status quo, but, hey, unless you happen to be the CEO of Nike the idea of a world in which corporations own everything isn’t particularly appealing. No doubt Kiera might try to change her future from happening, but her terrorist protagonists are such unambiguous baddies who have no qualms about blowing up civilians and slitting cops’ throats that they might as well be caricatures. Some more shades of grey would have made things more interesting. Is Kiera doing the right thing stopping them?
But it is still early days. Perhaps Continuum will address these issues as well as flesh out its time travel plot lines (we’re always suckers for a good time paradox). We’ll see.
This pilot episode seemed too eager to set up its premise and jump right into the action and become a standard cop show in which a law enforcement official and her partner track down some bad guys. With the same set of villains each week Kiera’s task might become annoyingly Sisyphean in the way that Shredder always managed to flee the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to face them again in the next episode – for all eternity!
It’s doubtful whether the premise behind Continuum has “legs” as they say in the industry. The story idea seems strong enough for a mini-series but not necessarily a new TV series.
Some good, some bad. The time travel aspect is intriguing but the Bionic Woman action stuff not so much. We’ll just have to see what future episodes bring.