Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Quick Review of “Continuum”

A Facebook friend named Tim Bamford who was also one of my original Blogger connections has been raving about a Canadian science fiction series called “Continuum” and asked me to take a look at it to see what I thought. Since he and I once co-hosted a movie review blog (when people cared about reading more than 160 words at a time) and we scarcely agree on movies or TV shows, I was reluctant to give it a shot.

Turns out I was right to feel that way. “Continuum” is simply dreadful. And it’s not just bad drama, it’s also shitty science fiction.

I’m not sure how things are done on Canadian TV these days—the digital conversion killed my ability to tune into the CBC, a privilege we Michiganders once took for granted— but if this is an example, it’s probably for the best that I don’t know. “Continuum” is one of those shows that would have been considered edgy during the syndication boom of the early to mid-Nineties, when shows such as “Seven Days” and “Andromeda” crapped up the airwaves.

Its plot is nothing special or unique in the genre: Seventy years from now, corporations control the planet and squash any forms of dissent using a police force known as “protectors.” Naturally, there is a resistance movement that has been labeled as terrorists, and they have no problem killing thousands to kill a couple dozen CEOs. I have no problem with it either as long as they got the creator of this piece of crap.

In typical pilot episode fashion, the so-called “bad guys” find a way to escape to the past, where they plan to change recent history. This was supposed to be a trip six days into the past but UH-OH, everybody! Looks like they arrived in 2012! Wonder what madcap weekly antics will ensue now? In case you haven’t guessed, one of the Protectors is swept up into the time jump as well. Her name is Kiera Cameron, portrayed by the astoundingly wooden Rachel Nichols. I wanted to believe she was a Canadian actress, but no such luck. She’s American and she’s terrible. Most of the other actors aren’t much better, although the great William B. Davis, who is Canadian, adds his peculiar charm in the few scenes I saw him in.

Aside from the wretched acting, there’s also the fact that the show’s moral compass seems to be spinning wildly out of control. That would be fine if this were a show such as “Lost” or “Heroes.” But in this instance, we’re expected to give a damn about a cop whose sole function is to make the world safe for future fascism. Despite their extremist approach, the so-called villains are really the good guys. Yet they’re portrayed as complicated bad guys while Cameron gets to be hero by ensuring humanity will not be free in the future.  If she is intended to be a dynamic character –meaning she changes and grows as time goes by—it isn’t established well enough in the beginning to hold my interest.

The actions sequences are listless and paint-by-numbers and the effects work feels flat and portrait-like. There’s also the melodramatic shooting style, where muted but pounding music underscores every bit of rancid dialogue. This show is straight out of the Nineties cliché factory and I can’t believe it made it past a season.

I made it through the pilot episode and half of the second one before I yelled, “This show is so boring!” and turned it off.

Never again, Tim. Never again!



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