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Continuum Season Two Blu-ray Review

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#1 of 1 Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter

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  • Join Date: May 09 2003

Posted April 14 2014 - 06:42 PM

Continuum Season Two Blu-ray Review

Continuum Season Two presents the second 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, and the basic quality of the writing seems to be a little improved from the initial season. The series idea is roughly the same as the 1990s sci-fi series Time Trax – 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. For the second season of Continuum, the writers have tried to add several layers of complexity to the initial plot, sometimes adding some interest and sometimes adding confusion.


Cover Art


Studio: Universal

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA

Subtitles: English SDH

Rating: Not Rated

Run Time: 9 Hr. 33 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: ABC

Release Date: 03/25/2014

MSRP: $49.98




The Production Rating: 2/5

Continuum seems to be doing fairly well for itself as a niche Canadian sci-fi series with a bit of a following in the United States, thanks to the SyFy channel. The show’s basic premise has been a fairly simple one – that Kiera, a cop from the future (Rachel Nichols) has been pulled back to present day Vancouver along with a group of dangerous terrorists from her time. Naturally, Kiera’s mission is to stop these people from doing any damage while struggling to find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within…wait. Her other mission is to find a way to get back to her own time. Along the way, the show allows Kiera to work in concert with a present day Vancouver police unit, thus combining elements of science fiction and a standard procedural. Now in its second season, the series has found more assurance in its storytelling, even if the basic idea is a bit much to swallow. The cast, led by Nichols and Victor Webster, is certainly attractive and entertaining, and the show makes the most out of the local scenery. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much material here for Nichols or the others to play, aside from the regularly scheduled confrontations, chases and fights.

SOME SPOILERS: The initial premise for this series was fairly simple – a cop from the future tries to bust some bad guys from the future in the present day while trying not to let the natives know her secret and while trying to get herself back to her own time. There’s probably enough material there to keep the burners going for about a season. So for the second season, the showrunners have thrown in multiple complications. Not only do we have the terrorist group “Liber8” conducting mayhem, but now there’s a whole different time travelling group called the “Freelancers” stirring things up and resurrecting characters who have been killed in prior episodes. And then there’s the matter of whiz kid Alec (Erik Knudsen), whose inventions will be the basis for the future technical world that is Kiera’s home. The series toys with the idea that the older Alec in 2077 (William B. Davis, still working in the mode of the “Cigarette Smoking Man” from The X Files) is potentially either trying to change the future to avoid what he’s done or is trying to make sure that the future we are seeing comes to pass. Other characters are revealed to be various characters’ parents or children, usually at the most outrageous moment. And just as Kiera thinks she’s going to be able to use a time travel device to return home in the finale, young Alec uses the device himself to save his girlfriend from death. This of course leaves poor Kiera in the hands of the “Freelancers” as the series cliffhangs itself in anticipation of the third season, now airing as I write this. This is all frankly convoluted material. I’ll give the writers the respect that they’re acting with more assurance as they weave their webs, and they’re definitely showing some wit with their episode titles. The first season included the word “Time” in every episode title. The second season works in the word “Second”, appropriately enough. The current third season is finding every use possible for the word “Minute”. And as with the first season, 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 even with the added complications, there continues not to be any “there there” with this show, and there are too many other, better options available to discerning sci-fi fans.

The Blu-ray set includes all thirteen episodes in 1080p HD picture and DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound, along with a much more generous spread of extra features, including eleven scene-specific commentaries and a 73 minute collection of featurettes about the show.



The discs’ contents are:


DISC ONE

“Second Chances” – The second season kicks off with a new present day mystery for Kiera and Carlos (Victor Webster), while young Alec deals with a message sent to him by his future self. A scene-specific commentary is available, with Pat Williams, Simon Barry and Rachel Nichols..

"Split Second” – A scene-specific commentary is available, with Victor Webster, Kimani Ray Smith (stunts) and Adam Stern (VFX).

“Second Thoughts”

“Second Skin” – A scene-specific commentary is available, with Shelley Eriksen and Jonathan Lloyd Walker

“Second Opinion” – A scene-specific commentary is available, with Brian Markinson and Jennifer Spence.


DISC TWO

“Second Truths” – A scene-specific commentary is available, with Shelley Eriksen and Jonathan Lloyd Walker.

“Second Degree” – A scene-specific commentary is available, with Erik Knudson and Richard Harmon.

“Second Listen” – A scene-specific commentary is available, with Omari Newton and Luvia Peterson.

“Seconds…” – A scene-specific commentary is available, with Mike Rohl, Erik Knudsen and Richard Harmon.

“Second Wave”



DISC THREE

“Second Guessed” – A scene-specific commentary is available, with Omari Newton and Luvia Peterson

“Second Last” – A scene-specific commentary is available, with Amanda Tapping and Magda Apanowicz.

“Second Time” – The second season finale sees most of the major characters have their situations radically changed. A scene-specific commentary is available, with Pat Williams, Simon Barry and Rachel Nichols.

A collection of featurettes is included on the third disc, with Simon Barry and the cast discussing their work over the second season.



Video Rating: 4/5  3D Rating: NA

Continuum: Season Two is presented in a 1080p AVC transfer that accurately presents the HD imaging captured on the show. As with the first season’s blu-ray set, detail and color range are strong, black levels look solid, and the occasional moments of high end CGI are relatively seamless.



Audio Rating: 4/5

Continuum: Season Two is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that mostly focuses on the front channels. Like the mix for the first season, this one 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.



Special Features Rating: 3.5/5

There’s actually a fairly generous spread of special features this for the second season set. First, there’s the eleven episode commentaries I have broken down with the episodes. The third disc adds over an hour of featurette material.

Continuum: Behind the Scenes (1:13:51 Total, 1080p) – This is a collection of thirteen featurettes about the making of the series, covering everything from casting to stunts to visual effects. Some of the material gets a bit too cute for its own good, but there’s a strong sense that the cast is very comfortable while being interviewed in a variety of situations. The featurettes can be viewed on an individual basis or via a “Play All” option.


Subtitles are available in English for the episodes and the featurette. As with the first season, 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.



Overall Rating: 2.5/5

Continuum: Season Two is continuing to gather confidence and assurance as it expands its story from the basics established in the first season. The cast is appealing and clearly up for the challenge of making this premise believable, and there are certainly many more complications to the story this year. It’s just that there really isn’t much more to this premise than you can see on the surface, and adding side issues doesn’t solve the basic problem. The Blu-ray set offers the series in solid picture and sound, along with a much nicer extras package than the first season. The real issue is whether the casual viewer will be interested enough to take the trip.


Reviewed By: Kevin EK


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