Published May 25, 2014 on Vancouver is Awesome.
The present unfolds. The future unravels. The rest is history.
Did you know that Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is a fan of Continuum? Showrunner Simon Barry didn’t until he met Gilligan a year ago at the Saturn Awards in Burbank. Did you know that American Rachel Nichols, who plays the Vancouver cop from the future, is marrying a man from Vancouver and seeking Canadian citizenship? And did you now that Erik Knudsen, whom Barry calls a “stone cold acting demon” for playing two versions of a young tech genius this season, gets unsolicited acting tips from fans on social media.
Continuum is much bigger than our homegrown sci-fi show now. It belongs to the world, sold to 50-plus countries. In the third season, cop-from-the-future Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) makes a deal with the Freelancers, who protect history’s timeline, to try to stop young tech genius Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen) from altering history. Alec travels back in time one week to save his girlfriend from death, which means two Alecs inhabit the same timeline. Kiera arrives in the new timeline to find her other self dead in Alec’s lab. Who killed her? [Kiera believes] it was Freelancer Curtis Chen (Terry Chen) doing his own freelancing for reasons yet unknown. That leaves the problem of two Alecs unresolved. After an epic Alec versus Alec fight scene, Kiera ultimately chooses to hand over time-travelling Alec to the Freelancer gulag (a set inside CBC Vancouver). But history has already been changed and maybe the future. Will Kiera ever get home to her family in 2077? And if she does, what will she find?
Tonight we head into the final five episodes of season three on Showcase in Canada and are introduced to amnesiac John Doe, played by ubiquitous Vancouver actor Ryan Robbins. He pursues Kiera Cameron because he wants her help piecing together his mysterious past. Three months ago, I watched Continuum crew set up Kiera and John Doe driving scenes, with director Pat Williams riding along, curled up on the back seat of the unmarked blue squad car out of frame. And then sat next to Williams in the video village at the top of Andy Livingston Park to watch a Kiera and John Doe walk-and-talk on the monitor, with the amnesiac gazing at the downtown Vancouver skyline and realizing he “isn’t of this time”. What is his connection to Kiera Cameron?
Whatever you think will be revealed, be prepared to be wrong. “One thing is certain, nothing is as it seems,” tweeted Ryan Robbins in the last week of shooting. “Simon Barry loves surprising the audience,” Robbins told me in late February. “And Simon Barry loves surprising his cast,” added Rachel Nichols later, with a laugh.
Did Continuum producers ever consider having Rachel Nichols pull an “Orphan Black” and play two Kieras throughout season three? Nichols said she would have liked the challenge but doesn’t have the time. No kidding. She’s already in almost every scene in the future and most in present-day, while kicking ass with the likes of Luvia Petersen’s Liber8 “tough chick” from-the-future Garza. Nichols credits “brilliant, amazing” stunt co-ordinator Kimani Ray Smith for the visceral fight scenes. Plus in Nichols’s spare time, she’s busy planning an autumn wedding to Vancouverite Michael Kershaw, whom she met at a Super Bowl party. After Continuum wrapped last year, she spent the summer with him in our city where “it didn’t rain once in July.”
By contrast, her character Kiera Cameron found herself in a more rainy, present-day Vancouver two years ago after getting swept up in an escape from 2077 by “terrorists” Liber8 who set out to change the future from the past by targeting the corporations that will come to rule the world. Always the good soldier in the future, Kiera is slowly adjusting “her moral compass” in season three, Nichols says. “Perhaps her beloved future is not a great future at all” and to protect that future so that she can get home is “selfish”. Will we see Kiera changing sides? Probably not yet because she doesn’t support “Liber8 tactics but their goal is not so bad.” Kiera’s world has gone from black and white to a “muddied grey”. She sees a “chance to make the future a better place for everyone else”.
What of Alec Sadler? Is he changing too? Or is the Alec of the new timeline the one who grows up to be the most powerful corporate leader of the future as the ruthless head of SadTech, a key player in the Global Corporate Congress? Season three Alec does suit up, but after inheriting Piron Corp. from his murdered father Escher and cutting ties with Matthew Kellog (Stephen Lobo) and SadTech. Tonight the “raven trickster” Kellog, as Lobo calls him, finds a way to get back in business with the young Steve Jobs-esque exec, who will soon have his own groupies, the Sadlerettes (as seen in a photo tweeted by Victor Webster).
And what of the future-shocked Vancouver detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster), who’s keeping the dead body of his partner Kiera Cameron in a storage locker. That can’t be good and explains the “big old strain on his relationship” with alive-and-well Kiera. Talk about too much information. With the targeted drive-by shooting of his colleague Betty (Jennifer Spence), has Carlos had about as much as one man can handle?
All of these threads culminate in the season three finale entitled “Last Minute” on June 27th which Erik Knudsen says has a “crazy crazy twist” or “double crazy”. Ryan Robbins concurred, calling it “very very clever. At least a double twist.”
But before then, Continuum will be feted locally at the Leo Awards next weekend, going in with 21 nominations for its second season, after winning Best Dramatic Series last year for its first season.
And next month, Continuum returns to the American Saturn Awards, nominated as the Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series for its second season alongside The Walking Dead. Plus a Best Actress nomination for Rachel Nichols alongside Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn and a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Erik Knudsen alongside Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul and Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. That’s pretty fine company.
Be sure to tune in for Continuum 3×09 Minute of Silence tonight.