I wonder if “Matter of Time” was the episode where the writing team had to defer to some executive’s husband’s nephew, who was only let in the door so the executive could get her husband to shut the hell up for five minutes. I’ll call this nephew “Carl”.
Everyone thought Carl would just hang out in his office (why does this kid have an office? He’s 23 and has only ever written Stargate/ Bionic Woman crossover fanfic!), getting high and watching porn all day. But, he started getting indignant about no one ever letting him do anything or write anything or say anything. It’s always, “Shut up, Carl” and “Time travel doesn’t work like that, Carl” and “Kiera’s suit doesn’t make her a Transformer, Carl”.
Well, Carl got sick of it and bitched to his uncle. Who, in turn, bitched to his wife and threatened to withhold sex if she didn’t get Carl some real writing experience on a real Vancouver television show. The executive wasn’t moved by her husband’s sexual blackmail, but he wouldn’t shut up about it. Every few minutes, hubby was grabbing her butt or pinching her boob and saying, “You’re not getting this again until you get Carl a credit!”
The executive finally caved, screaming, “Fine! Just let me sleep! Jesus Christ!”
And that’s how Carl came to so heavily influence “Matter of Time.” I happen to have acquired some of Carl’s development notes (I’ve corrected some spelling and removed the penis drawings):
- “The terrorist girls should be all coy before beating a guy to death. He’ll open his door, see them and thing he’s about to get some. But, he just gets dead. And then they smoke his weed.”
- “The terrorist girl beating should last several minutes. That’s exciting action! Everyone loves girl fights.”
- “Let’s have the terrorist threaten a baby. It makes him super extra terrorist bad!”
- “Let’s have a protest group called ‘Stop Mad Scientists’. That’s a great name! I’d totally start a protest group with that name.”
- “Liber8 should meet at the Chinese garden because it’s irony that a violent group is meeting at a peaceful place.”
My Carl/ imaginary scapegoat story, or something like it, has to be the explanation behind how bad this episode was. There were things that didn’t make sense (like Liber8 eschewing efficiency in favor of loudly kicking a guy to death). There were things that were eye-rollingly silly (making the scary terrorist guy threaten a baby). There were things that weren’t developed (like Kiera’s warrant. Warrant for what? How could she have possibly gotten that with the evidence she had and how she got it? Is law enforcement that much different in Canada?).
Also, the actors seemed like automatons, blandly chirping out dialogue.
So, I looked up the credited party. The writing credit went to Sam Egan, a television veteran who’s previously written for The Incredible Hulk, The Fall Guy, and Northern Exposure.
Sorry, Mr. Egan. I loved Northern Exposure, but this episode of Continuum sucked.