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SyFy’s show Continuum: how it highlights Sci-Fi trademarks

This weekend, I was visiting a friend of mine. We ended up watching a SyFy network’s show Continuum. Being a fantasy/paranormal writer, you would think I’d venture into the SyFy realm more often. Truth is, it’s only recently I realized this network hosts a lot of its own shows…and they are pretty good. The show is on its third season, but through the beauty of Netflix, I was able to watch the first two episodes. 

The show takes place around 64 years into the future. This seems like a lot, but I started thinking about the changes between now and 1950. Sure, fashion and cars have changed. Computer technology has certainly changed dramatically. But it is arguable if our way of life has vastly changed. I believe Back to the Future had us in flying cars by now. Instead, I discovered that the show, while not set a long time into the future, held true to a few must-haves when writing a futuristic piece.

1. the presence of space suits. I find this funny on a few levels. First, everyone else was wearing normal business suits. The officers, however wear this nifty gold suit that protects them from bullets and simultaneously is a super-computer. But, I did ask my friend…why the skin-tight space suit? Besides it being a hallmark of science fiction, I have to say I’m not sure. But, the technology certainly was pretty cool.

2. questionable government control. I see futuristic dramas go in one of two directions. The first is the big-brother avenue. I think we are still leery of our freedoms being taken away by a dictator…even if that dictator comes in the form of a group instead of one individual. Our fiction, therefore, always warns us of this. This show, however, takes the second approach. The world is now controlled by corporations. I don’t see this as much in literature, but it is still an interesting concept. Our society…at least in the US…is built on capitalism. There is even debate on how politically linked big corporations are to our candidates. It isn’t a large leap to say corporations will take over…just think what would have happened if Donald Trump would have run for president (or even won…yikes!).

3. the advancement of technology…which is cool and yet scary at the same time. I think the appeal of science fiction is its believability. And it is this believability that leads to the devices actually emerging years after publication. A good example, I am currently reading Orson Scott Card’s book Ender’s Game. In it, they reference “desks” that the kids take around to play games and learn. At first, I was like “why don’t they just call it an Ipad?” Then I realized the publication of this book is 1985. The internet wasn’t even widespread back then, let alone handheld computers. That’s pretty cool. What makes this technology also scary is that it always references a robbery of freedom. For instance, the show uses retina readers that make it almost impossible to commit a crime. Sounds great until one thinks about what else the readers can discover…what privacy is forfeited. 

Science fiction is fun in the possibilities it presents…even if it has to stick to the science fiction trademarks (which kind of goes back to the cliché discussion from earlier). And, while I am a few seasons behind this show, I think this is a must-see for any Sci-Fi fan. Has anyone seen more episodes (again I only watched two so far)? Is it worth me checking out the seasons?