With season 2 behind us and season 3 confirmed, Simon Barry, creator of the hit Canadian time travel drama Continuum
(of which I am a big fan, and have covered at length
), spoke to Collider
at length about how the writers have structured the show, and how he sees it moving forward, and for how long.
Speaking to the growing complexity of the show's mythology, Barry revealed, "In the first season, we had an over-abundance of ideas. We had more ideas than we could possibly put into the episodes, so a lot of things were pushed into Season 2, and some things are actually going to be pushed into Season 3." This long form method of planning certainly shows in the series' tendency to slow-burn the mythology, a pace I prefer to the "throw everything against the walls and see what sticks" attitude of a lot of genre shows. He elaborated, "The big things in the show were certainly planned, early on. Some of the smaller little things are either happy accidents or sometimes they’re just discoveries along the way that we wanted to expand because either the idea just improved with age...with characters like Kellog and Garza, I might not have been able to predict how deep we’d go and how many surprises we could have mined from them."
Of the many things that impressed me about season two over season one was how much they owned what they were, what Barry refers to as "backdoor superhero show," though that label seems too narrow band and sensationalistic to me. The mythology became deeper, the characters became more complex and the procedural aspects of the show took a back seat to just letting the show be what it needed to be. Happily, all of that was by Barry's design, with him saying that "Season 2 was really our attempt to be the show that was not just trying out." And it showed. Some shows, especially those on network, struggle to balance their own creative force with audience accessibility for their entire runs, to the detriment of the show. Continuum
has shrugged that off, in favour of doing a quality programme.
Looking ahead into season 3, Barry has a plan. "Season 3 definitely has a major component of Freelancer activity and the mythology of the Freelancers, as it relates to the larger mythology of the show, the future and Alec Sadler... It is a time travel show, after all, and we’ve always wanted to explore more time travel on the show. So, we really planned ahead, that this would be our second use of time travel, after the original incident in Season 1... I think in the first episode of Season 3, there will be no more questions about how this works or how to tell stories using time travel." I hope they don't answer all
of the questions, as part of the fun of the series is trying to work out how everything works for myself. but it's not all just timey-whimey stuff that is left to explore. Said Barry, "I
actually do know what’s going to happen to Carlos and Julian, and they’re both going to have interesting lives in Season 3... Julian’s role is going to evolve in a way that’s surprising, and I think Carlos is certainly going to show a different side of himself that will challenge everyone."
There will be at least two new characters added to the already diverse cast, but ultimately season 3 will "look at sacrifice as a theme... Especially in time travel, every decision has a consequence. We always felt like we hadn’t really mined the notion of sacrifice to its full extent, given the world that we’re playing in. There are high stakes." Looking even farther ahead, when asked about the future of the series, Barry's writers "had an arbitrary number of seven years," which is the standard goal for science fiction series, based off the success of Star Trek: The Next Generation
's run. And they'll continue to do it on "not even a real TV budget. We’re on what we would call a good Canadian budget... The struggle for us is making a show that looks like it has the same budget as Arrow
, or something that is in our wheelhouse, but we’re doing it for half the price." I say they are doing a far better job than what others would do with triple their budget.
To read the complete interview, including how far planned Jason, Escher and Alec's relationship was planned out, and some of the other challenges season 2 presented, I recommend heading over to Collider