Interview: Continuum EP and Cast Talk About What Makes Good Sci-Fi

Continuum's Simon Davis Barry, Rachel Nichols and Victor Webster talk about keeping sci-fi real and relatable and the challenges they faced with season 2.

Continuum’s Simon Davis Barry, Rachel Nichols and Victor Webster talk about keeping sci-fi real and relatable and the challenges they faced with season 2.

Continuum is one of those science fiction series that always seems to keep one foot in the real world, all the while giving us what is also a very good sci-fi experience. But how exactly do its writers and actors continue to create something that is so believable that viewers can relate to?  In a recent interview with Continuum executive producer Simon Davis Barry and series stars Rachel Nichols and Victor Webster, I asked that very question.

Simon Davis Barry began by speaking about creating Continuum to look at the problems that exist in society today. For example, Liber8 is relevant as both a freedom fighter and terrorist group that is attempting to take down the corporations that will rule the world in the future. Barry said, “I imagine the things in the news that we perceive as being these challenging conflicts of right and wrong, and I think we’ll be forever debating whether these hard decisions that we make in the world politically or otherwise are necessarily the right thing.”

Barry feels that Continuum can tackle these issues in a way that most shows can’t because it has characters that have a perspective on the future and are making judgment calls on things that the present cannot account for. “I think that’s what science fiction does well,” Barry stated. “It takes controversial notions and explores them and tears them apart. And instead of actually finding a solution, maybe it just creates a debate.”

Barry spoke about how important is was to maintain that particular “gray area” on Continuum.  “We keep the characters’ struggles alive in their challenges as opposed to making things very easy and simple from a moral point of view,” he said.

Nichols spoke up about how important it is to keep the fans interacting with the series and following along with the debates it brings up. She explained that was why she and the show’s cast live-tweet many of the episodes. She said, “I think if you get the fans interacting, they’re always fascinated and they always have these questions. And they want to know. ”

According to Nichols, if you do great sci-fi, the fans will love you and will tell their friends, creating more fans.  “They get their whole family to watch your show,” she said. “And it’s the most rewarding thing.” Nichols also said that the cast and crew’s dedication to the series was also important. She said of science fiction fans, “If you do something half-assed, they’ll have your head on a stake and they’ll march it through town and they absolutely deserve to do so.”

Webster had nothing to add, but was eager to discuss the current season of Continnum and the challenges that a second season of a series brings. He said, “We set such a precendent from the first season – something that was such a well-rounded show, great performances by people. The writing was fantastic. It’s such an intelligent, smart show.”

Mentioning the many directions a series like Continuum can go in, Webster said, “The different paths we can take are endless. And how do we do that without disappointing the fans that loved season 1 so much? How do we take it up to another level? How do we grow and continue to expand them when we’ve introduced them already?”

He continued, “I think it’s kind of a daunting feeling, but now that we’ve done season 2- looking back in retrospect – I think we’ve brought it up to a whole different level. And I don’t know how Simon and the writing staff are going to step up to the challenge of season 3 because now it seems so huge because we’ve gone so far in season 2, so it’s just something to be so proud of.”

As the series has officially been renewed for a season 3, I suppose we’ll find out soon. I’m sure both the Continuum cast and crew will continue to surprise us in future episodes. Meanwhile, here in the states, season 2 is still running. And as for me? I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Don’t miss Continuum on Syfy, Friday at 10/9c. And watch the video below for a preview of this week’s episode:

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