Continuum Season One REVIEW

Continuum season one DVD review: In the loop.

Rachel Nichols in Continuum.

In the future, the Crown Prosecution Service looked very different.

Release Date: 28 January 2013
2012 | 12 | 420 minutes | £24.99
Distributor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Creator: Simon Barry
Cast: Rachel Nichols, Erik Knudsen, Victor Webster, Stephen Lobo, Jennifer Spence, Tony Amendola, Lexa Doig

After filling in for New York, LA and pretty much every other city on the planet, Vancouver finally gets to play itself in a sci-fi show. Beyond the setting, however, Canadian megahit Continuum is every bit as slick as the best US TV has to offer – and unlike many of its American cousins, it’s not embarrassed to wear its sci-fi credentials on its sleeve.

Actually, forget “sleeve”. “Interactive bodystocking” might be more appropriate, because Continuum’s heroine cop-from-the-future Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) walks around in one of the coolest pieces of tech this side of a Federation Starship. It’s like a Lycra iPhone, an endlessly inventive box of tricks that – along with the HUD implanted in Kiera’s brain – negotiates that tricky line between wow factor and plausibility.

Originally from 2077, Kiera’s trapped in our present after being caught up in an audacious prison break by Liber8, a terrorist organisation apparently named after a ’90s boyband. Once here, the tech in Kiera’s brain allows her to communicate with a teenage computer genius who’ll grow up to found the biggest corporation in the world – and look a lot like The X-Files’ Cancer Man.

It’s an ingenious format. Not only does Continuum have mind-bending time travel shenanigans, cool gadgets and big ideas for the genre crowd, the fact that Kiera soon hooks up with the local cops means it’s also a police procedural.

Best of all, there’s some shades-of-grey character motivation at work – and a surprisingly overt political agenda. The future government Kiera works for is like something out of RoboCop, where corporations rule and citizens are encouraged to toe the party line. To some eyes, Liber8 – with their manifesto to bring power back to the people – might be the villains of the piece, but Continuum makes sure you sympathise with their cause. This is refreshingly intelligent sci-fi for a post-Occupy world.

So what’s the catch? Well, Continuum’s not always as subtle as it could be: emotional beats are crudely signalled by emo records, the parallels between the case of the week and Kiera’s future flashbacks are often clunky, and her magic suit has a habit of morphing into a “get out of jail free” card for the writers. Nonetheless, the last few episodes invest heavily in the intriguing arc plot, and really raise the show’s game – season two could be poised for greatness.

Extras: Not a sausage.

Richard Edwards

Read our Victor Webster interview.
Read our episode-by-episode Continuum reviews.
Read more of our DVD reviews.