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Sadly, most people have never read any of Philip K. Dick's novels and short
stories and only connect him with the movie Blade Runner. This is
unfortunate because PKD's stories were more entertaining, layered and
intellectually versatile than what is offered in Blade Runner. Total
2070 is less of an amalgamation of Blade Runner and Total Recall, and more
mix of their literary sources: 'We Can Remember It For You, Wholesale'
[short story] and 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' [novel], both by
PKD. Both of these have very real, flawed characters with a quirky,
inventive mood that always entertain.
The story of Total Recall 2070 was nearly that of '...Sheep.' For the benefit of the movie going masses' recognition, the names of things from the movie version of Total Recall were used. The story was about the philosophy behind automated sentiency, mechanized religion and the need for humanity to regain its sense of purpose above the machine, while also living beside it. This is something the series was only beginning to touch before it was canceled.
The lack of knowledge about the show's true roots has led to a complete misunderstanding of it. It is a near perfect representation of PKD's wonderfully strange and murky imagination. People call Total Recall 2070 a rip-off of the movies when in reality the movies were a pale shadows of their sources. Total Recall 2070 is the most genuine incarnation of Philip K. Dick's worlds to date.
This is a great show, with underrated production values and subtlety. People who watch movies, unfortunately do not always read books. Some complains that it does not follow the Total Recall novel. But in fact it is a loving and exciting recreation of the world of Philip K. Dick--his future dystopias. It owes a lot to "Flow My Tears the Polceman Said"--with its mysterious hierarchy of androids. No, this is not an "action" series like the "Ahnold" movie "TR" was. It's a mixture of sci-fi, mystery, police procedural and a lot of Red-Serling like philosophizing and speculating about the future and human nature. Somebody who judges this series based on one episode seems to be a bit short-tempered. By the way, there are now DVDs of this episode available on the 'net.
As far as TV series go, this one is perfect in every detail. I
appreciate the way relationships between the main characters are explored
and developed. At last someone has created characters that are flawed and
full of insecurities; nobody is a jock or a superhero.
I have tried to participate in a "Save the Program" campaign, along with others who have enjoyed the series, but it seems that our efforts have been unsuccessful so far.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Total Recall 2070 was a 22 episode series which premiered on the ON TV
Canadian channel and was later introduced to US audiences on the
ShowTime cable channel. Being on a premium cable channel meant minimal
exposure for the series and as such it was not only under-appreciated
but also difficult for a wide audience to actually view it and give it
a chance -- and so the show never really got any kind of head start and
was condemned from the get go to the point where it had to be scrapped
after one season--But what a season it was. A real shame because Total
Recall 2070 was one of the most original, cutting edge and unique shows
to ever appear on television.
Total Recall 2070 has absolutely nothing to do with Verhoven's Total Recall film except for a few references (the Mars colonies, Virtual Trips, the Dystopian future concept and of course the name of the show). In fact, Total Recall 2070 has much more relation to Blade Runner and many dub it simply "The Blade Runner Series". To an extent this is true, however Total Recall 2070 goes far beyond Blade Runner in almost every aspect imaginable. It's just as dark, foreboding, hard-core and intelligent as Blade Runner was.
At an early glimpse the show looks like just another one of those cop shows that have littered our screen for years, but a deeper, more focused look reveals just how good this show really is. If ever there was a show that rewarded repeated viewings of episodes--this is it.
Total Recall 2070 follows the escapades of two cops in the Citizens Protection Bureau (The CPB). One is human, the other is not. During the pilot episode, Detective David Hume (the human cop) and his partner go on to check a simple disturbance call in a Rekall facility (Rekall is one of the Consortium mega corporations). Oddly enough, once they enter the facility they find several Androids which are opening fire on them. Hume's partner is killed during the shootout with the Androids and this sets the stage for Hume's new partner, Ian Favre. Hume learns that his new partner is in fact not human, but rather an Android--A Flesh and Plasma based Alpha Android, the first of its kind. Hume is of course reluctant to partner with an Android, but eventually learns to work with him. The extremely complex relationship between Hume and Favre is what this show is about.
Needless to say, the show contains many subtleties and nuances one does not pick up on first viewing (again, a similarity shared with Blade Runner). Detectives Hume and Favre solve different cases as the show goes on, but many of these cases simply serve as a background to the real dilemmas and questions this show poses. Many shows have filler episodes (filler episodes are shows which provide no insight into the main characters or the main story behind the background). Total Recall 2070 has no such episodes. With every episode, one learns more about Hume, Favre, the world in which they live in. Sometimes it's all out there for everyone to notice and at times it is presented through little subtle hints and nuances. It's those subtleties that make this show so unique and worthwhile viewing. I was finding myself eager to learn more and more about the world, about the characters (all of whom are very interesting, deep and complex characters).
The show's background seems fairly simple at first. As the show progresses one realizes how much that world affects its characters and how complex it really is. The year is 2070, the moral breakdown of society is evident, the sun is nothing more than artificial lighting, the world is dark, people are paranoid, Consortium companies (Mega Corporations) have unlimited control over the citizenry and over the government who are no more than puppet figure heads supported and funded almost exclusively by the Mega Corporations. Naturally, those corporations all vie for more power, more money, and most importantly perhaps--more control. In their quest for absolute power they will do whatever's necessary and they have no moral or legal force to truly stop them. And so, Hume and Favre solve cases (all involving a Consortium company in one way or another) and try to restore some order into an extremely chaotic world where moral and legal boundaries are nothing but extinct.
One truly has to see this show and appreciate it to realize just how great it is. Granted, it's not nearly as revolutionary as films like Metropolis, Blade Runner, Brazil, etc. But the show goes into details like no other Dystopian film has ever done. There was an absolutely enormous potential for a 2nd and 3rd seasons as is evident by the fantastic 1st and only season. Unfortunately one can truly lament about this show's relatively quick demise and realize that perhaps today's generation is simply not ready for the subjects discussed on the show. I can only hope more shows like this arise in the future. It was mesmerizing, it was cutting edge and most importantly, it was frightening. A true Libertarian's nightmare. Such intelligent shows are an extreme rarity on today's pop television and eager and curious minds are hungry for something different, something unique--Total Recall 2070 was exactly that.
P.S. Unfortunately only the pilot episode was released on DVD and on its own it is rather useless as the story truly picks up later during the season. Cable channels rarely replay the show, if ever. Thankfully, I have acquired the Japanese DVDs of the show and I heartily recommend you find them as well.
In the first time I watched Total Recall 2070 I was just thinking "Blade Runner". The backgrounds, the style, the futuristic look of the sets and the technology, all of them look like "Blade Runner". A nice show in overall, not only due to it's looks but also to it's story and sub-stories in each episode.
When I read this show was very much Philip K Dick inspired, using many
of his ideas, rather than just a spin off, I knew I had to see it.
Total Recall 2070 shows a futuristic world dominated by multinational corporations, many of them operating on Mars as well. While crime has reduced spectacularly, there are still many problems in society. The show deals with a lot of cyberpunk topics: brain manipulation, androids, genetics, virtual reality, viruses etcetera. The CPB, a type of independent police force, often competing with other jurisdictions, has their hands full on it.
Visually the show is literally very dark with sparse lighting and often a foggy, rainy scenery whenever things take place outside. Clearly the show had a tight budget, often repeating the same cgi imagery transiting between scenes to show parts of the city, but it was very cleverly used. The backgrounds show us but a glimpse of a grim world that is rebuilding itself on technology, nature having been destroyed mostly.
The show is not overly addictive, but I think this is because it is not as easy to digest as a lot of other shows. Also it may have to do with each episode being stand alone, limiting the complexity, though to a still more than adequate level.
It may come across as just another cop show, just set in the future, but it's really much deeper than your average police fare. Granted, some characters, like David Hume's wife, or the female lab researcher, Olan Chang, are underdeveloped. But Hume and Farve, his android partner, are excellently casted. Hume is the cool, but emotional and aggressive agent, while Farve is the brilliant investigator, looking for his unknown origins.
The ambient synth music fits very well with the whole Blade Runner feel. It would be unfair to compare it all with what Vangelis and Ridley Scott did for atmosphere: for a TV show they've done a good job transferring the script to a very watchable programme.
Total Recall has occasional swearing and some sex but it is all functional, not just for the heck of it. Overall a very smart show with a lot of conspiracy, cover ups, tensions, but most importantly very relevant issues regarding humanity's fate in a world where technology can be one's friend or worst enemy, depending who is using it, who wants to have it, who owns it and who decides what is legal to do with it.
Highly recommended for the patient viewer, in particular avid Philip K Dick and sci fi fans.
Easton & Pruner play a perfect pair of cops who work off each others strongpoints and makes for enlightening scenario of the future mental battles of crime. Easton keeps his character as dark and moody as he has in the past. Pruner is great as an android partner who craves human traits and feelings so he can fit in with his human counterpart Easton. Great series set with a toned down "BladeRunner" motif. Brings back memories of "Mann & Machine". Hopefully this series will last longer than "M&M" CDB
By no means am I saying this was bad series or anything, but it copied alot. It did have a neat sense of techno style that to me seemed taken from Phillip K. Dick's other famous movie adaptation: Blade Runner, and not entirely from the movie Total Recall. It also reminded me alot of the series TekWar with its future cops trying to thwart criminals that use the future's techno devices to commit their crimes and spread chaos in the uncertain times of the 21st century. Its a shame it was cancelled so early when we have bonifide sci-fi crap hogging our screens. This show at least proved refreshing in the old cops and robbers game can be dressed up to look new.
This show was great, although everyone who sees it is reminded
of another P.K. Dick Movie Bladerunner. The look and feel of the
show was such. And the whole thing was very compelling. Lots of
plot twist and decent dialogue. But since the name of the show
was based on a movie that I would rate at best as a two on the
scale of 1-10 the audience was not drawn to it.
It is a shame that it was taken off the air after only two seasons. If
you have the chance to see this pilot movie try it out and cast a
vote. Lets get them to release the entire show on DVD, once again
its more like Harrison in Bladerunner than Arnold in Total Recall
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
and as result, I can truly appreciate everything the creators of this series were trying to do. Yes, it is is in the "Bladerunner" universe with SOME elements of "Total Recall" (otherwise know as "We Can Remember it for You Wholesale") but, it does so much more. We recall the cliffhanger episode that ended the first and last season and get an intimation of the direction the creators wanted to take the show. The use of drugs and direct stimulation of the brain. Of memories wiped and different lives created. Of drugs (both chemical and electronic) and their repercussions on society are all dealt with (only on Canadian television by the way eh) This is good science fiction. I think the only show besides this one that created believable coherent (if somewhat less dark) culture in as short a time was "Alien Nation". I have seen few series so far ahead of their time as was this one..
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