Continuum: Wasting Time Review - Mania.com



Continuum Review

Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Episode: Wasting Time (Season 1, Episode 3)
  • Starring: Rachel Nichols, Victor Webster, Alec Sadler, Stephen Lobo, Omari Newton
  • Written By: Simon Barry
  • Directed By: David Frazee
  • Network: SyFy
  • Series:

Continuum: Wasting Time Review

An aptly named episode

By Chuck Francisco     January 29, 2013
Source: Mania.com

I guess middling science fiction is better than good normal television programming. Or at least that's the bill of goods I'm trying to sell myself. Continuum extends it's trend of focusing more on the uncompelling aspects instead of the teasing us with vague hints at a greater mystery. Certainly there are many parts of the show's unknown which they could use to great effect, but it appears that the story teller doesn't understand how to best utilize their voice to enrapture it's viewers.


The SyFy channel isn't doing the show's stutter step pace any favors by moving the commercial breaks into different places than where the production team put them. It's incredibly jarring to come back from an advertising spot, only to then have the action conclude then fade to the intended break thirty seconds later. I hadn't noticed in episodes one and two, but it's very much in effect here for the third one. With Continuum needing all the help it can get, purposefully adding obstacles in it's way is not only irresponsible, it's silly (even foppish), and all kinds of bush league.


Perhaps I've had my police procedural expectations blown wide open by Castle, or I'm just done with the genre, because each and every time Continuum brings us to that well, it feels drier than a thousand year old Twinkie. Attempts to spice the investigations up fall largely on the effects team's shoulders. Luckily they have a knack for inventive usage of speculative technology (still the biggest hook in the show's arsenal). But as her technology fails her more and more (as several of you have hinted at in previous episode's comments) I'm worried that we'll see an increase in boring detective work. The only joy from these sequences is the fish out of water aspect of Alec and Kiera's relationship. They have nice chemistry together, for a pair of characters who are never on screen together. Strangely it seems like Erik Knudsen, the young actor playing Alec, is the strong of the pair and brings out the best in Rachel Nichols. It will be interesting when they at last meet (of course Kiera's met him already as a much older man).


Not all is the fire of Mount Doom, though. This episode is a hare's breath better than it's predecessors (though not enough to Merritt a higher grade). As the defacto lead of Liber8, Travis, lies dying and in need of radical human growth hormone treatment, others among the group begin vying to take over. Kellog is emerging as possibly the most interesting character. A master manipulator, he initiates a number of confidence schemes in this episode and we aren't even sure which ones carry his intended effects. It appears that he has been kicked out of the group and that they've tried to kill him. I want to believe that's all part of a long con which Kellog is playing in collaboration with Liber8, but I'm concerned that the show isn't sharp enough for that to be the case. Kellog claims to desire to live out his life in our present, which I can totally buy given the nature of the world he comes from. Is that the truth and would that being the truth make for compelling television though? 


I have to admit that the while the gun battles are still boring, the fight choreography in this episode was varied and visually interesting. It's a welcome and unexpected level of a spice for an otherwise middling show. The sequence between Curtis and Carlos is excellent and explosive. For a few minutes I could believe that this 2012 cop could hold his own against a futuristically enhanced super soldier. Kudos to the stunt coordinator are well earned. The accolades are then quickly taken away once Kiera enters the fray. I don't at all buy the "kick ass" factor which we're supposed to believe she possesses. She wins because of her gun's safety feature and because the villain is dumb (what an accomplishment).


So as one member of Liber8 walks off into the sunset (in very Judge Dredd inspired fashion), we make room to welcome the true leader of the group, Edouard Kagame. Does this new addition signal a turn for Continuum's tedium? Will the waters became muddied, the lines of right and wrong blurred, the black and white blended to grey? Some of you have insinuated so in the comments. I'd very much like to believe you. For now, Continuum continues to be far less than it could be, but still more than standard, non-nerd flavored TV.

 

Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Saturday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famousColonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.


COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 6 of 6
1 
millean 1/29/2013 12:36:18 PM

Is this series any good?  I've got them on my DVR, but haven't watched them yet.

monkeyfoot 1/29/2013 1:55:59 PM

Chuck, you noticed those strange commercial breaks, too? I thought it was my imagination.

It's rare that I agree point for point with anybody's review of a subject, but Chuck you and I see this episode the same. Further information on the mysteries of the plot and the use and displays of future tech are so far the most interesting aspects of the series. But that fight scene was one of the best I've seen on epsodic TV in a long time.

However, there is still that emotional distance from caring about Kiera. I don't feel her pain. I don't care about her mission. I'm only interested in the intellectual and storyline of how the plot will eventually be resolved for the series. I felt like this for the series Lost but I had emotional involvment with that series. I cared what happened to all the characters on that show. Here I'm so far just watching the pieces of the plot line being laid out.

I'll continue watching for now but I've come to realize it isn't going to be a show I really care about.

Chopsaki 1/29/2013 3:42:03 PM

I find it a little strange that Alec and Kiera haven't taken at least an hour for lunch to meet each other. I did enjoy the fight scene with Curtis and agree about Kellog being the most interesting character to date. Alec's fathers anti tech cult or whatever it is clearly is going to have some influence on events and I wonder if his step brother Julian will go darkside on Alec. It's almost like were seeing the beginings of Liber8.

CyanideRush 1/29/2013 3:51:51 PM

 @Millean: Eh, the best word to describe it is middling. You may like it, you may not. It's nothing special. Folks who have seen the whole first season do say that it gets much better, but I'm not hooked after three episodes.

@Monkeyfoot: Yeah, those breaks drove me up the wall man. I also really wish I cared about Kiera. I can't really relate to her at all. The moments where she sees some kid and tears up are starting to make me roll my eyes. My wife, who was only casually watching, asked if Kiera cries this much in all the episodes. 

-Chuck

blankczech 1/29/2013 8:17:09 PM

 This is strange for me because I'm usually the one who rips shows that all the other commenters are praising, but I'm afraid I'm hooked by this one and I don't know why because I totally agree with the revue. Perhaps I've grown weary of the blockbuster super hero stuff and I'm comfortable and relaxed watching this silly little yarn every Monday night. 

CyanideRush 1/30/2013 7:35:00 AM

 @blankczech: And that's totally cool, man. I'm glad you enjoy it. I hope it changes some so I can as much as you do.

-Chuck

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