Red Alert

Ex­ec­u­tive Pro­ducer Si­mon Barry on the fi­nal sea­son of his mind­bend­ing sci- fi se­ries

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

On the news agenda: Con­tin­uum, Pa­trick Mac­nee, Hay­ley Atwell, Mad Max, Flash Gor­don and more.

Si­mon Barry didn’t need time travel to dis­cover how Con­tin­uum was go­ing to end. While the se­ries cre­ator planned for seven to 10 sea­sons of the in­ter­na­tional sci- fi hit, the Cana­dian tele­vi­sion chan­nel Show­case an­nounced late last year that the up­com­ing fourth sea­son would be its last.

That’s fine by Barry. De­spite all of its time loops and time­lines, the be­gin­ning and end­ing of Con­tin­uum were al­ways crys­tal clear for the Bri­tish- born TV pro­ducer and as long as he was able to share those best bits with view­ers, he was ready to adapt and evolve just like Kiera Cameron – played by Rachel Ni­chols – the time- trav­el­ling law en­force­ment of­fi­cer from 2077.

“Like a lot of TV shows, you want to build a sand­box where you can tell mul­ti­ple lay­ers of sto­ries with mul­ti­ple threads and we were no dif­fer­ent with Con­tin­uum,” ex­plains Barry about the Saturn Award- win­ning se­ries that is now seen in­ter­na­tion­ally in more than 132 coun­tries. “We were hon­estly pre­pared to make it even shorter if those were the cards that we were dealt but it’s re­ally sat­is­fy­ing to be able to write an end­ing and es­pe­cially write the end­ing that was

“Kiera starts to con­sider her own needs. She needs a new goal. and that’s her try­ing to find her way back home”

al­ways in­tended. And we’re def­i­nitely telling the two most im­por­tant parts, which are the be­gin­ning and the end. Those wouldn’t have changed and haven’t changed since the in­cep­tion of the idea.”

One thing that did change in the writ­ers’ minds was a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of what the se­ries’ pro­tag­o­nist was truly ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing, be­cause it wasn’t un­til the first sea­son of Con­tin­uum that Ni­chols’ full range as an ac­tor be­came ev­i­dent.

“Af­ter sea­son one, we all re­alised that Rachel brought a sen­si­tiv­ity and emo­tional core to Kiera that was re­ally res­onat­ing with au­di­ences. She was truly the heart of the show,” says Barry. “It was her de­sires and her needs that were re­ally fuelling the show. And once we re­alised what we had with Rachel, we started writ­ing to­wards the fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of that char­ac­ter, which was as much an emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal growth as op­posed to just a straight- for­ward plot mover. We re­ally did see an op­por­tu­nity in Rachel for Kiera to have an evo­lu­tion that wasn’t just based on story.

“She re­ally inspired us to build a much more vivid por­trayal of her char­ac­ter that changed from some­one that was in­doc­tri­nated in this world that she came from and saw things in re­ally black and white terms, to some­one that could re­ally em­brace the nu­ances of pol­i­tics and the other side of the coin that Liber8 rep­re­sented. And in a way, we al­ways wanted to do that but we could re­ally push that agenda know­ing that Rachel could pull it off.”

Barry teased that some of the big re­veals planned for the six- episode sea­son four, which will air early in 2016 on Syfy UK, were planted by Kiera, Alec Sadler ( Erik Knud­sen/ Wil­liam B Davis) and Matthew Kel­log ( Stephen Lobo) way back in sea­son one. And con­sid­er­ing that Kiera not only killed an al­ter­nate ver­sion of her­self but es­sen­tially joined forces with Liber8 – the ter­ror­ists/ free­dom fight­ers she fol­lowed back to 2012 – dur­ing sea­son three, the fi­nal sea­son of Con­tin­uum will no doubt be the most ex­plo­sive yet.

“At the end of sea­son three, we al­luded to the fact that in hav­ing come full cir­cle with her as­sess­ment of what is best for the fu­ture, Kiera is now mak­ing choices that re­ally un­der­mine her abil­ity to get back to her fam­ily,” of­fers Barry. “We thought that was a very honourable place for her to get to as a char­ac­ter and a re­ally sat­is­fy­ing jour­ney that played out well at the end of sea­son three.”

Mov­ing into sea­son four, Barry says now that Kiera has re­con­sid­ered what the fu­ture holds and is see­ing things from an en­tirely dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive, the emo­tional el­e­ments of the story will go to a higher level too.

“This isn’t re­ally su­per- spoil­ery but it fits into where I think that ev­ery­one ex­pected the show to be head­ing in sea­son four, which is, now that she feels her mis­sion has been ac­com­plished, Kiera wants to see if there is a way to get back to what she is miss­ing. And that’s her fam­ily and her son. We re­ally felt like at that point, Kiera can start to con­sider her own needs. She needs a new goal, a new mis­sion. And that’s her try­ing to find her way back home.”

Asked point blank if there was a happy end­ing for Kiera at the end of Con­tin­uum, Barry quips, “You’ll have to watch the sixth episode of sea­son four to find out.”

Con­tin­uum airs early 2016 on Syfy UK, and from 4 Septem­ber on Show­case Canada.

Kiera and car­los are in for a busy fi­nal sea­son.

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