Why Continuum May Be the Most Subversive Television Show Ever to Air

The story is pretty interesting. It’s about a female police officer from the future of about 60 years who travels back in time to today, following a group of fugitives who are hell bent on causing terror. My friend Teramis wrote about the great writing of Continuum a few weeks ago, but I wanted to go in a different direction, mainly talking about the political implications of the show.

What makes the show so interesting is that the group that comes back in time, while being a terrorist organization, is also doing what they’re doing for the betterment of society. Which, when you think about it, is somewhat subversive on its own. The group, filled with really bad people, uses its evil tactics it used in the future to do its evil to the civilization of the past (today’s time). Their purpose is to change the past in hopes of providing for a better future.

The future is pretty interesting in this show, in that what has happened is that corporations have taken over everything, and people are now minions of the overseers, not the other way around. Freedoms are gone. People live their lives in futuristic splendor, but it’s pretty obvious that to get to that future, a lot of rights were trampled on, and a lot of people were made to live some pretty crappy lives at the expense of those who benefited.

What makes it really interesting is that when the main character returns to today’s time, her purpose is still to stop some very evil people from doing bad deeds in today’s time. But her eyes start to open up to the evil that exists in today’s time. This evil is the sort of thing that leads to the oppressive society that will one day emerge, and she is very much a cog in that wheel that uses the tools of technology to act as an enforcer of some very draconian rules.

What is interesting about the show is that there’s a real grey area here where I’m not sure she’s ever going to recognize that she’s actually the problem that came back in time. She thinks she’s doing the right thing, but as she’s doing it, the police agency she’s working with (in today’s time) is slowly becoming very much more oppressive.

I’m reminded of the whole very recent incident where the British government decided to haul in the domestic partner of a reporter it was targeting over the whole Snowden case. Without a warrant, or even a reason, the government hauled him in and imprisoned him for 9 hours (the maximum amount of time it was allowed before being forced to make a charge). What’s interesting is that no one seems to even recognize that a man’s rights were completely ignored for some kind of governmental vengeance. And no one will ever be held accountable.

That is exactly what Continuum is all about. The good guys in this show are the usual cops and white hat wearing people who always save the day. Yet, they are required to do some really horrible things in order to “get the bad guys”. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such grey area in a show before. There are times when I’m watching it when I start to lose focus on who I should be rooting for, even though the show maintains its narrative in a way that keeps you thinking the oppressors are still the good guys.

It’s an interesting premise, and it’s definitely an interesting experiment. If they play it out as the are already doing it, and SyFy doesn’t cancel it, this could turn out to be one of the most important shows to be on television.

duaneWhy Continuum May Be the Most Subversive Television Show Ever to Air

One Comment on ““Why Continuum May Be the Most Subversive Television Show Ever to Air”

  1. Andrea

    After watching the latest episode (this past week the first week in May of ’14)(on Canada’s schedule) I realized this isn’t what US television supports or allows to air. This episode was so overt in scripting than it had ever been. I had been growing tired of Continuum but continued to watch hoping it would stop being so Canadian and be more British because the Brits do subversive well. The US keeps reinforcing the American Dream even in dark shows.

    Let’s see what NBC Universal (and is that Comcast now) does.

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