Friday, May 25, 2012

Continuum: A New And Smart TV Peripheral

Another day, another Canadian "peripheral" makes its debut.
But Continuum which debuts on Showcase Sunday night at 9 is something different.
It's very smart and great to look at.
Canadian TV's "peripherals" are usually made to blend into the American TV landscape.
Think Flashforward or Rookie Blue which has just returned for its third series.
These shows are set in a strange nether world --one never knows if they are Canadian or American. Because they're both.
Continuum is firmly set in Vancouver in 2012.
So how could it be classed as a sci fi show?
Because it stars a time traveling cop from 2077, one Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) , a loving wife and mother who somehow travels through time and space and winds up in present day Vancouver.
She's a stranger in the past. In her world which is 65 years in the future there are no horses. So it's an experience for her to come in contact with police horses and see how they react.
And 65 years from now there's no running water, no taps as in her hotel room, so she's amazed by the simple act of washing her hands. And eating beef fell out of favor decades ago.
Trying to adapt is a matter of surmounting challenges --she has had SMR or cellular memory recall imbedded in her brain and she uses it to contact 17-year-old genius Alec Sadler  (Erik Knudsen) who operates out of his late father's technical workshop.
Until she can find the formula of getting back to her real time, Kiera uneasily joins forces with Vancouver detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) as they investigate the fanatical terrorists who jumped back in time with her.
True, the opening hour has clumsy moments. If you don't believe the premise then this sci fi outing is definitely not for you.
What it has going for it are some pretty audacious conceptions: in the future gigantic corporations rule the world and are far wealthier than any earthly government.
On to this state is matched a TV procedural, the seemingly standard stuff of a mismatched team who somehow compliment each other.
Rachel kicked serious butt on both Alias and Criminal Minds --she does a whole lot of heavy lifting here and seems in great shape.
But having an American actress as the star of this Canadian peripheral is certainly a first.
Partnering her is Calgary born Victor Webster well remembered from such series as Charmed and Melrose Place.
And tn support there's a cast of dedicated Canadians: Stephen Lobo (Godiva's), Brian Markinson (Star Trek), William B. Davis (X Files).
Normally Canadian sci fi runs on Space but Continuum fits right in with some of Showcase's more recent and classy imports. And the series continues Vancouver's dominance as the Sci Fi TV Capital of Canada.
I have this feeling Showcase will attract the sci fi crowd --for one thing it was created by Simon Barry who started out as a camera operator --one reason this series looks so fine.
Continuum's Show Runner is the respected Canadian veteran Jeff King who I remember interviewing on both E.N.G. in 1989 and Due South in 1994. Since then he's produced series as diverse as EZ Streets and White Collar.
So I'm convinced the quality will hold up making this one of those peripherals that's really easy to like.
MY RATING: ***1/2.

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