Total Recall 2070 (TV Series 1999) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
16 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
A great show--too neglected.
brucetwo13 October 2006
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.
26 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Fantastic visual representation of Philip K. Dick.
Cedri19 December 2001
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 Recall 2070 is less of an amalgamation of Blade Runner and Total Recall, and more a 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.
57 out of 63 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Unique show about the future cannot rise above mediocrity
FlorisV26 June 2009
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.

Unfortunately the show is not addictive at all and there are some important elements missing to make it great: humor, a clear direction of storyline, well- motivated and consistent emotions. It too often feels as just another bland cop show, just set in the future, although it's really much deeper than your average police fare. 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.

So, there's some good and some bad. I didn't mind the lower production values but compared to this show, writing has dramatically improved for so many shows these days and so has their addictiveness. I hope to see a nice new cyberpunk/futuristic show soon, right now Westworld is the best one to watch.

In particular avid Philip K Dick and sci fi fans should give this show a shot but you may get bored after an episode or 6.
18 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Fantastic presentation of the Dystopic future
Clark Gable17 December 2006
Warning: 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.
16 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Absolutely outstanding, why was it cancelled?
lynn-9116 April 2002
As far as TV series go, this one is perfect in every detail. I particularly 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.
29 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Promising Premise
Flatfoot7711 February 1999
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
9 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Nice show, great "look"
bmpc27 December 2002
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.
18 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Should have been called Blade Runner 2070.
HyperPup18 December 2001
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.
11 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The title of the show was a mistake!
Daraven4 August 2003
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

(pee ewe).
12 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
I Just Watched "Scanner Darkly"
bear9018 February 2007
Warning: 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..
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Irina29 May 2012
I'm a huge fan of "Total Recall" (1990) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone so I was interested in this TV show too. To be honest, I wasn't disappointed at all. They changed the story a little bit and added some new interesting moments here. First of all, I love the visual effects that were really great, especially for TV level. Second, the acting was great except for Cynthia Preston who played Olivia Hume. She was the only weak actor in this series. Anyway, Michael Easton, Judith Krant and Karl Pruner were brilliant. I don't understand why this wonderful series lasted for only one season - it deserved much more and had a big potential.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Totally Unrecallable
suffer-smart-magnet24 September 2005
Based on glowing 'must see' IMDb user comments (and in turn wanting to like it), I watched about half of the first season before giving up on this problematic series.

The biggest problem stems from the distant, restrained writing which leaves us with the shell of a typical cop show that's been relocated to a corporate-controlled future. Flat characters and low production values seal the series' fate, removing whatever potential might have otherwise remained.

As others have noted, comparisons to Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (1990), and Star Trek: The Next Generation (at least as far as the Data-Farve android connection goes) are hard to avoid (and I am a fan of all three). The series has far more in common with the android-laden themes Blade Runner offers than with the Schwarzenegger movie with which it shares little more than a title and a few images. Thanks to user comments, I avoided comparing this series directly with the 'Recall' movie (as should you).

Poor writing remained the series stumbling block. Contention between man and machine (or android) gets touched on, but never gets fleshed out or fully explored. Det. David Hume and his wife Olivia both start the series out having deep-seated feelings against trusting androids, yet Hume's android partner Farve gets accepted by both with only a whimper, after which the issue gets shelved. In particular, Hume occasionally brings up trust issues with Farve, but moments later is willing to act as if he trusts him with his life. We briefly see Olivia deal with her android-related issues, but this seems to be largely forgotten in favor of relegating her to the typical 'cop's wife' role. Their relationship, including why they love each other and questions involving their history, is never expanded upon. The result is that Olivia's presence distracts from the plot, as opposed to revealing something about their respective characters. In another character switch, Assessor agent James Calley at first seems to support Hume (allowing him to keep an illegal weapon), only to later set up Hume to clean up his dirty work (when he kills 'The Technician'). Questions of whether androids are sentient beings are mentioned occasionally, but are never the focus, only serving as a plot smokescreen. Farve is taunted as being 'only a machine', but this question is forgotten before the next scene.

Lesser irritations surface throughout the series. Why is Det. Hume allowed to openly keep an illegal weapon? Why does he actively desire to keep such a weapon? With such prevalent communications, why don't the CPB officers contact Captain Ehrenthal when questions arise (the 'unauthorized surgery' scene from 'Brain Fever' comes to mind)? We hear about 'calling for backup', but rarely see more that Hume/Farve on screen. Farve seemed resilient to some weapons, but he avoids getting in the line of fire (as opposed to Data, who had a willingness to sacrifice himself so that humans might live). Sometimes we go wildly afield of any semblance of plot. Witness the superfluous sex scenes complete with nudity that established nothing other than a cheap grab for attention.

Scene footage reuse was fairly high. Several times I recognized an elevator CG shot, as well as the outside shot of CPB headquarters where the same two people enter the building. A reverse angle of a street scene previously shown would have slipped by had it not been for a rather recognizable extra in a dark tank top.

Scene retakes to avoid errors were not taken advantage of. Someone scanning a corpse accidentally catches the victim's collar. Elsewhere, a person's shadow moves in the background of an otherwise empty room. Other errors added to the sloppy feeling. In one scene, Farve's gun lights up but no CG shot comes out, an error that could have easily been edited out given that the previous several shots worked. Similarly, a spoiled voice-over for a reverse shot of Rawlings sounded jarringly different. These are errors that shouldn't have made it near the final edit.

Acting was mostly reasonable. The one big question in my mind came from casting Rawlings as Capt. Ehrenthal. His 'soft-spoken' approach just didn't seem to fit his character. His diminutive height was another issue, especially when standing next to Pruner. Based on other production shortcuts that were taken, the sporadic dips in acting quality could be attributed to not allowing for necessary retakes to enable the actors to hit their marks. Karl Pruner's interpretation of Farve captured almost completely Brent Spiner's Data of 12 years previous. In a continuation of the Farve-Data comparison, the series quickly focused on Farve trying to find his 'maker', just like Data did in 'Next Generation'.

I wanted to like this series - honest. I was hoping for one of those little-known gems that catches you off guard. Unfortunately, no amount of polish will bring any real shine to this series. The writers just didn't tackle any big issues, not to mention the low production values. This isn't to say that the series is completely without merit - it just doesn't warrant going to any great lengths to see. If you want to see a Sci-Fi series done (nearly) right, try Battlestar Galactica (2003).
10 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Understatedly Stylish
Genie-28 March 1999
The new offering from Showtime for their Sci-Friday lineup has promise - their sets live up to the hype and were shamelessly showcased a few times in the premiere, but overall the look is radical and consistent but not intrusive. So far it is engaging and well-made, with the exception of some pointless nudity which seems to be there simply because, well, they could put it in on Showtime. The CG is smooth and the world convincingly complete. Not exactly groundbreaking, but hopefully it will be and definitely can. You may recognize Easton (Hume) from the somewhat obscure series "Two" on UPN and the even more short-lived show "VR-5". The actor who portrays Hume's android partner does it flawlessly.
6 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
More Blade Runner than Total Recall
Brian-4122 September 1999
Having just seen the first episode of the series the overwhelming impression was that it was a remake of Blade Runner. The the gloomy sets, the constant advertising hoardings, the evil companies (Rekall is no longer a minor holiday company but is the equivalent of the Tyrell Corporation)were all more Blade Runner than Total Recall. Infact the plot itself whereby androids are trying to extend their life was that of Blade Runner. There was a minor plot involving fake holidays and an unnecessary trip to Mars to keep a link with the movie but throughout there was a sense that this was not the movie the producers wanted to make a series of. Having recognised this however it was enjoyable enough. The production values were good and if the plots become more original then it could be promising. Oh..It did answer the question left hanging at the end of the movie ...was it reality or an implanted memory? The movie ended with an atmosphere being restored to Mars but in the series there are still BioDomes and a red sky. So I guess Arnie is really strapped into a chair dreaming his life away.
5 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Misses the mark
Francis716 July 1999
Although it tries to be "Blade Runner", Michael Easton is no Harrison Ford. Probably due to the lifeless direction of Mario Azzopardi, et. al., the series is a cure for insomnia. Karl Pruner's "Farve" tries hard to be ST:TNG's Mr. Data, but his character lacks Data's depth and 'humanity'.

Having seen every episode so far, I still have no idea what the show is about, other than that this amoral company has some insidious plan to take over the world. But there is no life in the show. And no humor. The one character we, the audience, care about - Olivia Hume - has almost nothing to do, which is a shame because the lovely and talented Cynthia Preston is the best thing about the show.

Although the sets are interesting in a Blade Runner-esque sort of way, the lighting is so overdone that everything looks flat and fake. I could go on for pages, but I think I've made my point.
4 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Stylish but.....
NewDivide17011 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is very stylish and sexy in its less than appealing future. Though very watchable, it wasn't very re-watchable with some episodes going nowheres fast.

The series revolves around 2 detectives protecting the rights of the underprivileged. One of them where he and his wife have a phobia of androids, and his partner who is an alpha based android. Made of flesh and blood.

It also involves trying to prove that the organization known as REKALL, from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, is one of the most evil organizations on the planet, yet though their methods are questionable, there is no proof that they are. Reacting on prejudice in a way.

Total Recall 2070 has a great style and atmosphere well suited for the series, and a questionable amount of sexual situations, including nudity and near nudity. Most of the episodes are high pace, and usually easy to follow, but they often lose us in the long run.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews