Some spoilers for Continuum.
Running from 2012 to 2015 Continuum is a Canadian TV show that has a lot to say about cyberpunk. Underrated and overlooked, Continuum does a lot of things right while steering clear of a lot of the normal missteps that happen in the genre. It's a female-led show that has the benefit of better-than-average casting in terms of acting caliber and representation. It does not sexualize the protagonist via the narrative or with the wardrobe. And oh yeah, there's time travel! I can't even think of something else with time travel in it in cyberpunk... And it does so in a very compelling way.
Right off the bat, the premise revealed early on in the first episode weaves a few mysterious questions into the narrative, and doesn't really let go. Ever. Kiera Cameron is a detective/enforcer/cop/protector 65 years in a futuristic Vancouver.
As a quick aside, as a Canadian it is pretty exciting to see a cyberpunk show, which is also very good, be set in a Vancouver as Vancouver. You see the city a lot in other shows, but it's usually being put forward as someplace else in the narrative.
In this future, Kiera has a son and a husband and believes in the system she is protecting. She's got the futuristic tech to do it, too. In fact, at one point she is told that if she trusts her technology that's what will make her a good corporate "Protector". You see, 65 years from now there's a corporate congress that has become the government. Capitalism rules and there are, of course, the punks who are trying to take down capitalism: Liber8.
When Kiera pulls duty to oversee the punishment of Liber8 members recently captured, instead she gets caught in the same time travel technology that allowed them to escape to the past, the year 2012. In the "present", she finds herself ripped from her family and cut off from her corporate support. She has her futuristic tech suit that allows for her to go invisible and her cool gun... that's about it. When she tries to communicate with this support, the protectorate, instead she communicates with a young Alec Sadler, the designer, and CEO of SedTech. In the future, he's the most powerful person and basically the engineer of the corporate Congress and pretty much everyone's way of life. In 2012, though--he's just a kid in a barn who's a genius; eventually becoming one of Kiera's only allies. Together they try to stop Liber8 from altering the past and preserving the future. If they were to succeed at altering it, then her son and her husband won't exist. On top of allllllllll of that, she also needs to find a way home.
This cop procedural mix with the cyberpunk future works so well. Kiera is maybe the first character I've been able to empathize with every episode. Her struggle is the most interesting and grounding device for a cyberpunk character, who generally are detached and anti-social. Instead, she's a mom, a kick-ass cop, and someone who wants to genuinely do the right thing. Each episode works as a scaffold to get flashbacks to her future, continually reminding us of the stakes and also slowly shedding light on how this future... maybe isn't so peachy after all.
Over the course of five seasons, a lot is revealed. The best thing about this story by far, though, is the fact that moral relativism is brought into it. Kiera isn't truly good, though she believes herself to be. She is contributing to the oppression of people for a corporation, despite attempting to do the right thing her whole life. Conversely, Liber8 is not "good", either. Their tactics and their drive to change this oppression comes at the price of the humanity of some of the members, all for the sake of their goals. This is also problematic at some points, as the leader is a black man at the start of the show and is painted as an unthinking meat-head who just wants to fuck people up, jacked up on augmented tech. They never really break that mold but they do add more depth later on. But It was just a weird thing to see for a show that took care to make seemingly good casting decisions and to take pains to not sexualize characters, make the women badass and interesting and not dependent on men, etc. For the most part, I'd say the show massively succeeds at what it's trying to do with few hiccups.
Kiera's conflicting actions make her relatable and work to humanize her. She doesn't always make the right call. She isn't always right. All she has is her moral center that slowly gets turned on its head as it's continually challenged. Meanwhile, she's a mother who just wants to see her family again and go home. The show continually asks the character what price she's willing to have that and isn't afraid to insert moral ambiguity in a show where people are capable of killing people.
The acting is good, the casting fluctuates from season to season but is usually excellent. Music and CGI, something usually that is lacking and marks Canadian television is also great. By far, this show is my favorite cyberpunk TV show, bar none. It's cyberpunk that explores many subjects through more than just one lens. It calls into question the privilege the protagonist has and it isn't afraid to explore the human condition with some hard topics shows typically will not tackle.
I picked it up on Itunes in HD for $15 a season; totally worth it, in my opinion!