Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Syfy's 'Continuum '- It isn't Breaking Bad but it will do for the moment

Long discussion among friends as to what to follow Breaking Bad with, the census being DEADWOOD - which is featured in one of the last episodes on Hank's bookshelf. Long blogpst will follow on Deadwood. I'm a huge fan but I've seen it plenty

Right now..CONTINUUM is my tv fix

Starts as a cut price Canadian Terminator rip off with some interesting politics and quite a believable 2067, it veers worrying a little towards an overfamiliar timecop buddy cop tedium but then becomes more involved and is never dumb. Certainly better than Terminator : Sarah Connor Chronicles even at its best (and that got pretty good towards the end).

Characters, plots and ideas are up towards X Files level, and I'd go as far to say that some of the future tech, such as the CMR, is not only horribly believable, it is verging on the seriously likely. When future police detective finds the tool which records all her visual experience for evidence has actually been recording her entire life and archiving it for years you can't help but wonder if this will be sold onto us as a desirable security feature in the in too distant future. This is the subject of an episode of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror, in Continuum it is just throwaway detail of the corporate future of 2067.

Season two of Continuum has plenty of surprises. Mostly in the paradox plotting (Main villain is called Escher, which gives you a hint of were its going),
but I was also surprised in the bigger budget and where it was spent.

Still no foreign locations, resolutely set in Vancouver, which is still delightfully raining half the time. Continuum was compared by someone to superficially similar time traveling cop show Life on Mars (which is more backward looking in every respect Somehow Vancouver weather is a lot more like the real weather in Manchester than it was as seen in Life On Mars.)
The digi effects in Continuum are beautifully designed but still are barely the right side of cheap video game in execution, so the budget has not gone there.
Still no big name guest stars.. same great cast
Where has the extra budget gone? Much to my surprise Continuum has some of the best action I've seen shot for tv. S2E2 has a car chase that wouldn't be out of place in a mainstream Hollywood film and after amid semi-regular gunfights that don't skimp on the hardware and ordinance the Season2 finale features a show down between the two main protagonists using future cop tech that is believable and engaging. I've seen a lot worse from a cinema seat.

Other obvious point to make - there are no weak links in the cast. They can't afford weak links, the premise is over familiar and the setting is (a bit) dull, so all the cast are good towards excellent, but Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron, the 'heroine' cop protecting the corporate future, is pretty much carrying the whole show. She does it effortlessly. Great casting I have to say, she is very believable as a policewoman and a mother and refreshingly there isn't a wiff of romance.

Note to writers of Continuum from viewers outside Canada :  we foreigners know this stuff with corporatised police forces, time traveling terrorists and twists in the time continuum isn't going to sort itself without the RCMP (the Mounties) dealing with it so don't leave it too long.

Problem with terrorists from the future and murdering omnipotent 'freelancers'? You need the Mounties

No comments:

Post a Comment