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Genre: Sci-Fi, TV series
Starring: Michael Easton, Cynithia Preston, Karl Pruner, Judith Krant, Michael Rawlins, Matthew Bennett
Guest stars: Martin Sheen, Titus Welliver, Jayne Heitmeyer, Art Hindle, Xenia Seeberg, Victoria Snow, Anthony Zerbe, Kristin Booth, Lisa Ryder, Clint Howard, Adrian Hough, Chad Allen, Sara Botsford, Kim Coates, Nick Mancuso, Laura Harris
Creator: Art Monterastelli
Run time: 16 hours, 8 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
Total Recall 2070 is what I like to think of as a “blender” TV show. Take everything you know about science fiction, throw it in a blender, and hopefully what comes out makes at least a little bit of sense. The show is based partly on the movie Total Recall (in that there’s a company called Rekall that gives people vacations in their brains). It’s also partly based on the movie Blade Runner, the Philip K. Dick book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (also the basis for Blade Runner), and the Philip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, which inspired the movie Total Recall. Make sense so far? OK, bear with me.
Individual episodes appear to be inspired by things as diverse as I, Robot (the Will Smith movie based on the Isaac Asimov short story), The Andromeda Strain (the James Olsen miniseries based on the Michael Crichton book), and a few episodes of The Outer Limits. With me to this point? Alright, let’s continue.
The star of the series is Michael Easton, who plays a cop in the future who is for some reason named David Hume. David Hume is ALSO the name of a famous 18th-century Scottish philosopher who founded the school of Empiricism along with John Locke and George Berkeley. Empiricism is a philosophy that states that all ideas and beliefs a person holds must come directly from their experience and evidence – particularly sensory evidence that one can touch, see, smell or hear. (Hence the term “empirical evidence”.) Perhaps Hume’s most famous quote is “reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions”, suggesting that desire predicated human behaviour more readily than did reason.
Why do I bring this up? Because it has absolutely nothing – nothing – to do with the TV show. Now, I suppose there could be a simple explanation for this. Perhaps the character was named by people who had no idea who David Hume was, and it was just a strange coincidence. But I doubt it. Hume is a famous enough figure in Western Philosophy that someone, somewhere along the line would likely have caught it. I suspect that the reason the main character in Total Recall 2070 is named David Hume is that someone wanted specifically to make a reference to Hume, and then forgot somewhere along the line WHY.
Like I said, it’s a blender show. And the name David Hume was thrown into the blender along with Philip K. Dick stories and science fiction movies and dozens of other books, TV shows and films. Now, here’s the weird thing. Although it’s a terrible, insane mishmash of a million different styles and themes and ideas, it almost works! The show lasted only one season, 22 episodes (all of which are on this one DVD box set coming out February 22nd from Alliance Films). But I think that had it continued its run a little while, it may well have caught on. There is something strangely compelling about the program despite its lack of focus.
I think the vast majority of the charm comes from the relationship between the central characters – the inappropriately named David Hume and his cop partner, Ian Favre. Hume is a tough-guy, old school cop. And since the show is set in 2070, the “old school” in this case means “the school of 100 years ago”. Hume is no fan of the androids that are all over the world, working for human beings and sweeping the floors. He suspects them, you see. And yet, he is partnered with one such android, Favre (Karl Pruner), who exhibits human emotions and occasionally has his feelings hurt. The dynamic between the two really works, and is by far the most interesting thing in the show.
Less interesting is the office politics constantly being played by the superior officers, or the sex between Hume and his wife (the smoking hot Cynthia Preston), which for some reason happens during EVERY show. We get it – they love each other and have lots of sex. Amazingly, I got pretty bored with it pretty quick. Actually, the very first scene of the very first show involves naked boobs. This bodes well. I then saw NO naked boobs for the rest of the series. Weak. But I would say it’s a testament to this show’s strange watchability that I didn’t get bored watching the whole mess of a “complete series”.