They’re from the future
In the year 2077, corporations have replaced governments and not everyone’s happy about it. For fanatical anti-corporate terrorists Liber8, the only way back to democracy is through violent action. For example: blowing up the Corporate Congress and killing 30,000 people.
It’s no surprise then that when they’re caught, they’re found guilty of murder and executed. What is a surprise is that their botched execution ends with them somehow travelling back in time, with CPS Protector (future cop) Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) inadvertently dragged along with them back to Vancouver 2012.
They’re new to this time travel thing
Kiera and the Liber8 terrorists travelled back in time by accident, and they don’t know how to get back. For Liber8, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; now they have the chance to continue their work and try to change history so that the corporations they hate never took over in the first place.
For Kiera, it’s a bit more complicated. She has a husband and child in the future, and as much as she’s prepared to keep hunting Liber8 in our time, getting back to them is always on her mind. But with no obvious way back, all she can do now is track down the people who stranded her here and bring them to justice.
Future technology is always handy
Fighting crime in 2077 involves a lot of high-tech gear (and a skin-tight suit), that gives Kiera a serious advantage when it comes to taking on regular Canadian criminals. Which she definitely needs, because it seems like a lot of things we currently take for granted – like knowing how to drive a car – haven’t survived fifty years into the future.
Fortunately, she has help in the form of young computer genius Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen). He’s the only one who can pick up on her futuristic communication devices, because he just invented them (or what will eventually become them). With Liber8 starting their crime wave, Alec helps Kiera infiltrate the Vancouver PD as the best way to take them down, and there she’s teamed up with Detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster).
This isn’t your average police procedural
During the first few episodes Kiera and Carlos seem like your typical crime fighting duo, with Alec back at his secluded farm providing tech support while they investigate a range of bizarre murders and other crimes. But the show also focuses on the members of Liber8, who rapidly develop a range of conflicting agendas. Some want to use their future knowledge to get rich; others want to continue their violent struggle; when their leader Edouard Kagame (Tony Amendola) arrives he wants the group to take a more subtle approach and change society from within.
Soon they realise Kiera was brought back with them and is working against them, which requires more direct action to erase her from the timeline (if you’ve ever seen a Terminator movie, you can probably guess what that action is). Soon both sides are intertwined, as each tries to prevent the other from creating (or restoring) the future they hope to achieve.
That future maybe isn’t so great
Right from the beginning the line between good guys and bad isn’t quite as clear cut as Kiera and Liber8 seemed to think. The corporate future definitely seems somewhat sinister, and the role future Alec plays in it increasingly seems less than beneficial (it’s a bit of a clue that his elder future self is played by William B Davis, AKA The Smoking Man from The X Files). And while Liber8 are definitely willing to kill to achieve their aims, they’re not all crazed fanatics – which makes their fight against the future seem less black and white as things go on.
When you travel in time, things get complicated
Once Continuum establishes the basics, it’s perfectly happy to mess with them time and time again. It soon turns out that time travel is a bit more complicated – and commonplace – than Kiera first thought, while Alec’s future self has a message for the current day version that turns his world upside down. And with Kiera’s position on the Vancouver PD always a little sketchy (she and Alec came up with a cover story that claimed she was a top secret deep undercover government operative so please don’t ask her any questions), there’s only so long she can keep her suit’s powers, and her own origin, a secret.
Meanwhile Liber8 are increasingly split into factions, while their violent actions come increasingly closer to bringing about the grim future they want to avoid. And when people start directly messing with the timeline, that’s when the changes start having serious effects on both today and tomorrow.
Through it all, Kiera’s fighting to save the future. But which future will she live to see?
Seasons 1 - 4 of Continuum will be available to stream at SBS On Demand from 3 January
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