Continuum Interview: Series Star Rachel Nichols and Executive Producer Simon Davis Barry talk about the theme of season 3 and the perils of time travel.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Continuum, the Canadian series that also airs here in the U.S. on Syfy. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the smartest well-written science fiction series on television. There’s just something about the series that gets everything right: from believable technology to time travel to a strong female lead that carries the weight of the world (and the future) on her shoulders.
Season 3 of Continuum begins on Syfy here in the states this Friday, April 4th, and in preparation for that, series lead actress Rachel Nichols and executive producer Simon Davis Barry sat down with the press and answered some questions about what we can expect.
Last season, Nichols character, Kiera, had to come to terms with the fact that she may never see her son again in the future. This season, things look even more bleak: if the present continues to change, her son may never even exist. This leads to the theme of the season, which according to Nichols has to do with “the greater good.” Nichols explained, “Season 3 is very much about Kiera realizing she can’t go back to the future she came from. It’s not a very good future – it’s not a very happy future. The world is not a great place where she comes from.”
This realization is a new onefor Kiera, Nichols stated. “Season 3 is about for the greater good,” Nichols said. “Kiera understands if she were to try to maintain the future that she came from, just to get back to her husband and son, rather than trying to affect change to make her future a better place, should she ever get back, at the expense of, basically, all of humanity, it’s quite a selfish move on her part.” Nichols reiterated by stating that Kiera has come to terms with that and now wants to try to make the future better for everyone and not just for herself, even if that means sacrificing her husband and son for the greater good.
Barry agreed that the idea of sacrifice is very important in the new season of Continuum. “It’s about making the harder decisions,” he said. “We’re sort of trying to take sacrifice and take it down to its more personal state.” Barry stated that every character will be looking at sacrifice as a theme this season so that it feels personal and stays honest with the theme of the show. “It’s really about looking forward and making decisions that have more to do with altruism, as opposed to being selfish. It’s the complexities of those decisions, because there are personal stakes and larger global stakes.”
We’re also going to see a lot more time travel this season than in the previous two. This means that, at times, things can get confusing. Nichols can attest to that and cited a scene she filmed with Eric Knudsen, who plays two versions of Alex Sadler in upcoming episodes. “Alec asked me a question in the third episode… there’s what we call ‘Alec’, which is regular Alec and then there’s ‘Star Alec’ who traveled back in time to save Emily… And I was with regular Alec and he asks me a question, ‘Did you know x, y and z?’ In the moment, as Rachel playing Kiera, I was thinking in my head, ‘okay, this Alec doesn’t know that I know that the answer to that question is yes. But the other Alec knows that I know this… And the other me…” Nichols pointed out that she started laughing in the middle of that particular take. “It is one of the more fun parts of my job,” Nichols said, “and sometimes it’s one of the more mind-boggling parts of my job to remember what I know in which timeline and what everyone else knows.”
Fortunately, that’s what guys like Simon Davis Barry are for. As the guy who gets paid to keep the time traveling details straight, he said, “We realized that we didn’t want to get into a jam with the multiple timelines in a way that would complicate the show and be confusing to the audience.” The first episode, Barry stated, would show that the writers did a good job of making something so complex seem much simpler for viewers. The series’ rules for time travel were figured out early on to keep it from interfering with the overall story of each episode and the season as a whole. “We didn’t shy away from it,” Barry stated, though, “We just tried to resolve it in short order so that we could say, ‘Hey, we are adhering to rules of time travel and we’re trying to be true to those rules that we set up from day one’.” Although Barry says that the writers love the time travel, it’s still important to focus on the story first.
Don’t miss the premiere of the first episode of Continuum season 3 on Syfy tomorrow, Friday at 10/9c.