Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why Continuum is my new favorite TV show

It's a rare thing, indeed, to find a television show that is smart, morally complex, surprising, supenseful, and entertaining.

It's even rarer to find said show revolving around a female lead who has power and agency and is emotionally resonant as a full human being.

That is why I love Continuum.

Here's the pitch on the show's 'about' page:

When a group of fanatical terrorists escape their planned execution in 2077 by traveling back in time to 2012, they inadvertently take City Protective Services officer Kiera Cameron with them. Trapped in a more “primitive” past, Kiera infiltrates the local police department to try to track down the terrorists before they change the course of history.

But this only tells part of the story. The brilliance of this show is in the moral dilemma it presents. 2077 is a world where the corporations have won. They control world governments and make all the decisions. It's not quite a Hunger Games dystopia--we see snatches of life from 2077 where people live the way people have always lived, but democracy is a quaint idea whose time has essentially come and gone.

The terrorists (Liber8) are people who fight against corporate control and while we clearly don't sympathize with their methods, it's hard to argue with their desperation and beliefs. They believe they are fighting for democracy and freedom.

When Kiera lands in 2013, her goals are to apprehend the escaped terrorists and try to find a way back home, both for her own sake (her husband and young son are in 2077) and for the sake of bringing the terrorists to justice.

But (and here's where the show edges into uncomfortable and important territory), she starts to see where their ideals and hopes are not necessarily the evil she has fought all her career.

The show doesn't make it easy to sympathize with Liber8. The group's members include amoral killers and manipulators, but the line between fully right and fully wrong isn't so easily drawn.

The other reason this is on my must watch list? Kiera, the lead character. She's resourceful, smart, skilled, brave, and thoughtful. Many of her actions are morally ambiguous (lying, stealing, taking liberties with her future tech to get answers) and yet we root for her. She's struggling to make the best of a difficult personal and societal situation. Plus-a-million to the showrunners for NOT doing the typical love interest story around her 2013 police partner.

So, if you're looking for a new show, you could do a lot worse than Continuum. I'm just not sure you could do a lot better. And it's been picked up for season 2. Yay!

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