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