The SyFy Channel just aired the season finale of Continuum, a Canadian science fiction series set in both 2077 and 2012. The series critiques both bloated government bureaucracy as well as corporations, making it a rare show that successfully navigates between ideological poles.
Starring Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron, a Protector in the CPS (Vancouver City Protective Services) from the year 2077, Continuum is about a group of “terrorists” convicted of a massive bombing against the Corporate Congress, that instead of being executed for mass murder, travels back in time 65 years to 2012 to prevent the corporations from taking over in the first place.
I put the word terrorists in quotations because though they most definitely use violence to advance their cause this group, known as Liber8, is fighting to restore individual rights and freedoms that have been stripped from citizens by the corporations. Because of massive deficit spending, governments eventually collapse leading to corporations running the world.
Continuum strives to blur the lines between good and evil, terrorist and freedom fighter–perhaps too much so sometimes. When Kiera Cameron arrives in 2012, all she wants to do is return to her time, to her family and her life. But she quickly realizes that if Liber8 changes history, the world and time she comes from may no longer exist. She decides to stay (not that she has a way back) to stop the terrorists from her time from wrecking havoc in ours.
Aided by advanced technology, including her CMR (cellular memory recall) chip–which is implanted in her brain–and an amazing suit that increases her strength, stops bullets, projects a force field and can even render her invisible, she fights to stop Liber8’s plans.
Kiera teams up with Vancouver Police Detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) by pretending to be an agent from a fictional clandestine agency known as Section 6. Her cover is created for her by a young computer genius by the name of Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen) who is actually the inventor of much of her technology (or will be) who accidentally hears her trying to communicate with CPS before she realizes she’s gone back in time and becomes her confidante and guide to our time.
From a science fiction point of view Continuum tackles most of the usual time travel questions. Can you go back in time and change the future, or is the future already written? If you kill someone’s grandmother in the past, do they cease to exist? Can you meet yourself in the past or does that create a paradox?
But what Continuum mostly does is use science fiction to analyze and question the dilemmas and events we live with everyday. It examines governments trampling upon individual liberties, while also looking at the role that corporations play in our daily lives–both in terms of the technologies they create that improve our lives and the role they play in determining the direction of government.
There are plots and subplots as some of the characters from the future learn they don’t know everything about how their history was written. Meanwhile the characters from the present day act to prevent terrorists they don’t even realize are from the future from committing mass murder.
If the show has a political agenda (and I’m not sure it really does) it would be a libertarian one. Throughout season one questions about the loss of individual liberties and what is appropriate behavior to resist government and corporate attempts to limit those freedoms are examined.
The show’s first season ends with revelations about characters from both the present and the future that should lead to a intriguing premiere to Season Two.