Welcome Continuum Time Travelers!
Known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’, the plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament. English Catholics were revolting against the failure of King James I to secure greater religious tolerance.
The day became slowly known as ‘Guy Fawkes Day’, and has been used as inspiration for many creative works since, including the popular movie V for Vendetta – and, of course, the opening scene of Syfy’s newest gem ‘Continuum’ (it should be noted that in both references, the explosions did in fact occur – with breathtaking results).
Syfy says this about its newest series broadcasting in the United States:
“When a group of fanatical terrorists escape their planned execution in 2077 by traveling back in time to 2012, they inadvertently take City Protective Services officer Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) with them. Trapped in a more “primitive” past, Kiera infiltrates the local police department to try to track down the terrorists before they change the course of history…”
Now, without further ado, let the boomerang fly! Out to 2077 – and right back to good old 2012. Spoilers incoming!
First, we will have a little fun. If you see, numbers poke a little fun in the pilot episode. First of all, as mentioned above, the catalyst that leads to the start of this entire plot happens on November 5, 2077 – the famous ‘Guy Fawkes Day’. The terrorist group blowing up the Corporate Congress is known as ‘Liber8’ – and yes, it consists of eight terrorists.
The title of the pilot: “A Stitch in Time”, comes from the phrase ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ – and come to find out, nine people travel back in time to alter the fabric of history, (or so we are at least led to believe. That Edouard Kagame [Tony Amendola] is a slippery fish)!
Silly number tricks aside, let us take a look at the men and women of 2077 – and 2012 – that we are going to get to know over the course of the next few months, (and hopefully many months to come).
“A tall, striking beauty, Kiera hails from 2077, where she is a police officer with the Vancouver City Protective Services (CPS). Kiera is a dedicated wife to husband Greg and mother to her seven-year-old son, Sam. When she is flung back in time to 2012, her separation from them causes her a great deal of pain and longing to get back to the future.
Realizing early on that her chances to return to 2077 are slim, Kiera knows she must do her best to preserve the future by stopping fellow time travelers, the terrorist group Liber8. Posing as a member of an elite government counter-terrorism group called Section 6, she aligns herself with the Vancouver Police Department. There she is assigned partner Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster).
Through Carlos, Kiera finds herself opening to a life of freedoms she didn’t know she’d lost growing up in a corporate society (in the future, big business, not government, rules everyone). Carlos innately understands Kiera’s drive to get back to her family, even if he doesn’t know that they are 65 years in the future.” -from syfy.com
Kiera is a rarity among police officers, a woman who has managed to balance both work and home life. She is happily married with a son she dearly loves, and through some of the flashbacks in the episode we can see that there is little conflict between her home and her work life.
She is warm and kind to her husband and child, and cold and calculating to any perpetrators who happen through her airspace. She is sure and confident, a go-getter, and not afraid to take any risks or be realistic about the situations she finds herself in. She even adapts well, taking the 2012 time-jump in stride and focusing on the job in order to distract herself. It will be a few episodes, I believe, before we start to find out her flaws.
“Good looking, tough, smart and polished, Carlos is a dedicated and principled detective. A mixture of charisma and toughness, he’s a guy’s guy and a woman’s dream.
The son of immigrant parents, his mother fled the country after drug lords killed her husband. He knows what poverty and suffering looks like, he’s lived it, and he can’t stand the disparity between rich and poor. His single-minded obsession with work is his greatest strength and biggest weakness.
Carlos was married at a young age and divorced soon after. His marriage made him wary of commitment. That’s not to say he hasn’t had his share of romantic entanglements (Are you surprised? Seriously, look at him).” -from syfy.com
The pilot shows Carlos to be a solid police officer. He is all about the job, and is not shy about using his brains and his looks to manipulate people into doing what he wants them to do, (in this case, convince Kiera to give up information about one of the escape convicts). He is just this side of not trusting her still, but follows along as her confidence proves to him that she knows what she is talking about. It feels often like he is ‘along for the ride’, and in future episodes perhaps we will find out more about the aforementioned troubled past.
“A wiry, good looking teenager, Alec is intelligent but has always been a bit of an outsider. Like Kiera (who uses his tech expertise as she tries to track down the time traveling terrorists, LIBER8), he’s always moved to the beat of his own drummer. His father was a genius who made a lot of money creating all manner of technology.
It wasn’t until his dad passed away that Alec, feeling grief-stricken and abandoned, opened up his father’s old workshop. Looking through his father’s diagrams and devices, he slowly began to realize he may have a greater destiny. Alec has all the potential to not only follow in his father’s footsteps but one day surpass him. He just needs to believe in himself.” -from syfy.com
Alec comes across as a very mature teenager. He, like Kiera, is quick to adapt to situations, which may suggest why he seems to be perfectly fine in a room full of people he wants nothing to do with, (i.e. his stepfather and friends). He bonds very quickly with Kiera, (granted she is probably one of the coolest things to happen in his life), and shares her passion for adrenaline and her sense of justice.
He is clearly a genius with great plans, and of course we see very early on that he is the inventor of much of the technology that operates the 2077 life. The relationship between Alec and Kiera I think is going to dominate much of the show, particularly as in the last shot of the pilot we see that they have met in the future.
Stephen Lobo, (Fathers&Sons, Afghan Luke), as Matthew Kellog
“Charming, self-serving and vain, Kellog is a master manipulator and a narcissist. He can talk anyone into anything, all in service to himself. Kellog found his talent in charming and manipulating others at an early age. He trained as a psychologist and managed to slip through the cracks of the 2077 corporate structure to create a hedonistic paradise for many years until he was discovered and sent to prison.
Even in prison he was able to create a mini-paradise, managing to get dirt on the warden who secured his early release, but not before meeting with Edouard Kagame, a noted terrorist and leader of LIBER8. The two men had a mutual appreciation of their matching charismatic abilities. Kagame was able to present the revolution that LIBER8 sought as a means for Kellog to create a world that would serve his love for all things hedonistic. Kellog took the bait and became an important player in Kagame’s plans.” -from syfy.com
Matthew does not have much of a role here in the opening show. He is one of the first to question the intelligence of the group’s decision to go back in time and start the revolution again. We can see that he is kind of the naysayer at first, nervous about getting into combat, hesitant to jump in with both feet to things that are happening. He is a little like the Face of the group, (anyone watch The A-Team?) More will likely be revealed about him in later episodes.
“Attractive and cunning, Sonya is a member of the terrorist group LIBER8, which hails from 2077 and is trapped in the past. A survivor and an opportunist, she began as a research scientist for the corporate military. Her interest in genetics was born from a desire to create a stronger human that could survive the next great disaster. It wasn’t long before her experiments became morally questionable and highly controversial.
Sonya was the architect of the super soldier program and was pushed to drive her test subjects to the point of death in order to satisfy her superiors. In order to survive she numbed herself to the reality of what she was doing. But something shifted for her when she met Travis Verta. At some point she ceased seeing him as merely a test subject, a lab animal, and instead became drawn to his intensity and power.
When her superiors decided to terminate the program and all the test subjects, Sonya felt a need to protect Travis and the others. For the first time in her life she chose to reject the privilege and security the corporation had always offered her and switched sides, joining LIBER8.” -from syfy.com
While the character description above says a lot, none of this is actually known about Sonya when she first appears in the series. It is clear from the moment we see her that she is someone in power. She does not so much answer to Travis (Roger Cross) as she does treat him as an equal, but the other members of the group do seem to look to her as one of their leaders with Kagame ‘missing’.
Sonya shares a single ‘moment’ with Travis, (a kiss), indicating that she is either suffused with excitement or genuinely caring for him. At this point, it could go either way. For sure, however, she is going to be one to watch as the series continues on.
”Hailing from 2077, Travis is a warrior specifically trained and enhanced through futuristic science to be a lethal killing machine. He began as a conventional soldier: tough, agile and just smart enough to be resourceful. He was handpicked to be part of a special military experiment to create an elite group of super soldiers run by fellow LIBER8 member Sonya Valentine (Lexa Doig) — genetically enhanced specimens whose sole function was to follow orders without question and to destroy the enemy without remorse.
Travis is also driven by a need for revenge. He is enraged by the way the corporate military that trained him was so willing and able to cast his life aside and realized that he wasn’t the only one. He saw how the corporations took the freedom of choice away from all individuals, treating them as possessions, not humans. Needing something to believe in, he was very swayed by LIBER8 leader Edouard Kagame and his calm philosophical drive.” -from syfy.com
The B.A. Baracus of the group, (continuing The A-Team metaphor), is not only the brawn, he is the enforcer. He is not afraid to throw his weight around, threaten others, get in fights, or intimidate through mere stance. He seems to act as Sonya’s protector in some cases, suggesting a brains/brawn connection, but he is not without his own intelligence.
He exudes leadership, even if it through force only, and so far seems to be the most dangerous of the group that survived the trip. He will become a major player later, especially as Syfy has revealed he is a ‘super soldier’.
Rounding out the cast list for more of the major players of the series include Tony Amendola, (Stargate SG-1, The Mask of Zorro), Omari Newton (Blue Mountain States, Last Exit), Luvia Petersen, (The L Word, Sanctuary), Brian Markinson, (Saving Hope, Caprica), John Reardon, (Arctic Air, Tron: Legacy), and a favorite science fiction legend, Mike Dopud of Halo 4, Stargate Universe, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1, White Noise, and the new series Mistresses coming later this year.
The pilot of ‘Continuum’ is action-centric, starting things off with a dramatic monologue and an explosion that claims the lives of ten of thousands of people. Six months later, we are witnessing the execution with of the eight people responsible for those deaths, united under the name ‘Liber8’. A notable face is seen in the crowd, none other than acting legend William B. Davis (more later).
Things go horribly wrong when, at the moment of initiation, the eight people activate a device that takes all of them – and one lone police officer – sixty-five years into the past.
The police officer – a strong-hearted woman named Kiera Cameron – struggles to apprehend all eight terrorists on her own before running into some aspects of 2012 she cannot escape – primarily a teenage boy named Alec Sadler who can literally get into her head, and a police officer named Carlos Fonnegra who knows she knows way more than she lets on.
Despite the suspicions, Kiera manages to help Carlos and the Vancouver Police Department track down the eight terrorists. The attempted arrest, however, is a diversion, and as a result the department itself is attacked, leaving many dead and Liber8 on the run.
The show comes across at first as very straightforward, moving the plot along at a solid clip and not really slowing down for emotional reactions. We are given a beautifully powerful moment as Kiera relives the morning before she travels through time that is enough to establish her as a caring mother and add depth to her character.
Lucas Ingram, (Omari Newton), adds a delightful comic effect under the effects of truth serum, and Alec Sadler gets a small moment of exposition with his stepfather, but otherwise the writers are leaving the character development out of the pilot, choosing instead to focus on the ‘run and get them’ aspect of apprehending subjects on the lam.
For a pilot, this idea will work, but hopefully they will slow down and take a look at the characters in later episodes, (and I can hear many Canadians screaming: “They will, they will!” The show has been renewed for a second season there anyway!).
From a technical standpoint, I found the show to be very clean. So many action shows have the camera winging around, wildly cutting from shot to shot so fast you can barely keep up with the action. ‘Continuum’ manages to keep the pace up without leaving you completely breathless, (which is in this case a good thing), and it is fairly easy to follow who is shooting at who and where the bulk of the action is taking place.
The usage of technology is also just plain fun, revealing police officers to be partial cyborgs with all of their neurological implants and the information-providing suits they wear. They are almost walking computers, trained for justice and operating on logic.
As stated above, Kiera seems to be a rarity, though we see little else of her 2077 department to compare to. Hopefully we will get a glimpse into 2077 once in a while for comparisons, even if it just to see what Alec is up to sixty-five years later…oh, and where Kagame is.
Did he make it through and Sonya was lying? Or is he still in the future, monitoring things somehow? Questions are a good thing; it means we are going to keep watching.
In all, the pilot of ‘Continuum’ was a solid effort, including the revelation that veteran actor William B. Davis (X-Files, Stargate SG-1), who we see in the opening scenes, is Alec Sandler the elder from 2077 who is apparently the mastermind behind the entire plot!
What it lacked in one area, it made up for in others. Now, we just keep tuning in to see if it finds its balance among American audiences. Keep watching, and we ask, please do not illegally download this (or any) program if you want to see a third season in the United States!
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I and the WHR team look forward to and will be Seeing You on The Other Side“!