Continuum Season One presents the first season of the low-budget Canadian science fiction series on Blu-ray in the best manner possible. The picture and sound quality are both quite good. But the high definition presentation can’t get past the mediocre quality of the material. The idea is roughly the same as the 1990s series Time Trax – In this show, a cop in the future is transported to the present along with a group of terrorists, and must hunt them down before they can do damage or change history. The problem is that there are so many holes in the story that they quickly overwhelm any interest the actors might have generated.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/VC-1
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 7 Hrs 20 Mins
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: MM/DD/2013
If you get a strong feeling of déjà vu while watching Continuum, you’re on the right track. The show’s premise combines the usual action crime procedural with a time travel idea, bringing several unrepentant terrorists and one stubborn cop from 2077 to the present day. Rachel Nichols plays the lead role as Kiera, a future cop now trapped in 2012 Canada, while she tries to prevent the Liber8 terrorist group from wrecking havoc and possibly changing history. Helping her in the present are a local cop (Victor Webster) and a young tech whiz who will one day become the villain of the future. Erik Knudson plays the teenage boy while William B. Davis makes a few appearances as the old villain, continuing to play off the malevolence of his “Cigarette Smoking Man” persona from The X-Files. There are several germs of good ideas present here, what with all the discussion about whether it’s possible to change the past, or whether you can change the future from the past. Unfortunately, almost all of these good ideas come from earlier, better series. The combination of a crime procedural with a sci-fi approach has certainly been done, not only in The X-Files, but more recently in Grimm, not to mention any number of short-lived series on SyFy. And the endless debate about not being able to change history or “whatever happened, happened” should sound very familiar to fans of Lost. But the biggest lift is clearly from an early 1990s TV show called Time Trax, which featured a future cop following criminals into the present to track them down and apprehend them.
The Production Rating: 1.5/5
SOME SPOILERS: Getting past the obvious similarities to earlier shows, Continuum runs into trouble with even the basics of its premise. Frankly, it is a bit much to believe that a cop from the future can somehow jump into the past with no money, no identification and no resources, and yet somehow not only arrange a hotel room and lodging for herself but also bluff her way into a police station and get assigned as a detective. (Either that, or we must conclude that the people of Vancouver are generous past all reckoning…) There is a concept called “suspension of disbelief”, but this requires that there be enough plausibility in the scenario for the viewer to stay with it. Continuum simply doesn’t have much in the way of plausibility. And without that, the show winds up looking like exactly what it is – a low-budget local production made for Canadian television, picked up and aired on the SyFy channel. Granted, the show has some good CGI work here and there to expand its scope – and this work actually looks better than the more expensive morphs currently being done on the higher-budgeted Grimm. We should also be thankful that the show just plays Vancouver for itself and doesn’t try to pass the location off for a major US city, as is the norm for many TV shows and movies. But there just isn’t any “there there” with this show, and there are too many other, better options for viewers to spend much time here.
The Blu-ray set includes all ten episodes in 1080p HD picture and DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound, along with a single 480p featurette on the second disc.
The discs’ contents are:
“A Stitch in Time” – The series pilot, in which 2077 cop Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) is sent to 2012 along with 8 mean Liber8 terrorists. Hijinks ensue.
“Fast Times” – The second episode at least tries to address the fact that the Vancouver police could maybe figure out that Kiera isn’t the usual cop she’s pretending to be.
“Matter of Time”
“A Test of Time”
“The Politics of Time”
“End Time” – The season finale sees Liber8 plan a major terrorist attack and suggests there may be a plan behind everything from the future.
A single featurette is included on the second disc, with Simon Barry and the cast discussing their work.
Continuum: Season One is presented in a 1080p VC-1 transfer that accurately presents the HD imaging captured on the show. Detail and color range are strong, black levels look solid, and the occasional moments of high end CGI (mostly in the pilot) are relatively seamless.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
Continuum: Season One is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that mostly focuses on the front channels, but has a satisfying amount of life in the surrounds, particularly during bigger action sequences or the CGI moments of the pilot. The subwoofer does get a little bit of life when things go boom.
Audio Rating: 4/5
Meet the Makers, Protectors and Terrorists (18:55, 480p, Anamorphic) – This featurette consists of Simon Barry and the cast discussing the making of the show. Barry discusses the show as being a cop show with a twist, although he doesn’t mention the earlier incarnations of this idea. Nichols discusses the casting process by which she came to this show. Some on-set footage is shown as well as clips from the show. This is the sort of thing that probably could have aired on Canadian television to promote the show, or even on SyFy after it was picked up by that channel. And we should be clear – this is a Canadian production, intended for airing in Canada.
Special Features Rating: 1/5
Subtitles are available in English for the episodes and the featurette. Standard chapter menus are not exactly included here – instead, each episode is itself a chapter. There are chapters within each episode, but they are not itemized in a menu – which means you may have to hunt through an episode if you stop the disc and restart it later.
Continuum: Season 1 is sadly not the heavy duty action drama or the mind-bending sci-fi adventure it would like to be. It’s an okay procedural at times, but it’s saddled with such an outlandish story that it’s difficult to spend much time on it before throwing up one’s hands.
Overall Rating: 2/5
Reviewed By: Kevin EK
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