|It’s not just a brown catsuit … it’s a catsuit of THE FUTURE!|
I recently tried watching Syfy’s new series, Continuum. Hey, time travel is awesome and it stars the the actress who was super-cute as Scarlett (I could watch her jog all day long) in the otherwise unmemorable G.I. Joe the Rise of Cobra. Actually, that’s not true, the movie is also memorable for having exactly one good action sequence; between two children, during a flashback.
This show is kind of a cheap version of time travel. It only occurred once, sending the protagonist and several terrorists into the past, which for the sake of budget, happens to be our present (and in Vancouver, to boot)! Like Stargate Universe before it, the show is very much a pastiche of its time (the present, that is.) It’s filmed like a movie in terms of lighting and other production values (not necessarily a bad thing.) The cameraman appears to have ADHD and epilepsy, unable to stay focused on anything or hold the camera steady in order to artificially bolster the urgency of the action (because heaven forbid the acting, writing, sound, or anything else manage to do that and spare the poor viewers a headache!) The glimpses we get of the future (which would technically be flashbacks) is of the typical Blade Runner-esque dystopia we’ve seen since, well, Blade Runner. Episodes end with some licensed power ballad blaring over slow pans of the characters in forced sentimentality.
However, to this show’s credit, it managed to find a new way to irritate me! You see, for some reason, the natural blurring effect that is achieved through a camera’s depth of field and careful framing of a shot just wasn’t enough for the director (of photography.) Instead, they’ve seen fit to turn blurring up to 11 by the use of filters. It’s apparent this is what’s being done because the blurriness doesn’t appear gradually but along very sharp lines around the edges of the screen. I suppose this is done to try and focus the audience’s attention on a specific part of the screen, which is something that ought to be done with skillful composition.
Some examples are below (all taken from the second half of the pilot episode, when this gimmick became especially grating):
- Depth of Field @ Cambridge in Colour
- G.I. Joe the Rise of Cobra @ The Agony Booth
- ‘Continuum:’ Everything You Need to Know About the Sci Fi Cop Show @ Huffington Post