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Total Recall 2070 is a 1999 Canadian sci-fi television series. It is loosely based on both Total Recall and Blade Runner, both based on works by Philip K. Dick (with just a dash of William Gibson’s Johnny Mnemonic), as a Spiritual Adaptation. Like the works it is inspired by, the tone is a mix of Film Noir and Cyberpunk with occasional action.

The series is set in a late 21st century Earth in an American megalopolis after a series of nuclear wars. Mankind has since established off-world colonies and made major advances in both android technology and memory implants, while massive corporate networks have become independent powerhouses in their own right. Protagonist David Hume is a detective working for the Citizens Protection Bureau (CPB). He’s partnered up with an android detective after his previous (human) one is killed during an investigation at Rekall headquarters.

This series provides examples of:

  • Amnesiac Lover: After Olivia Hume’s fake memory implant is destroyed, she doesn’t remember ever meeting her husband David Hume in the first place, so they have to rekindle their romance all over again.
  • Androids and Detectives: Senior detective David Hume is paired with Alpha Class android Farve.
  • Androids Are People, Too: Detective Farve is an Alpha-Class android who is treated as human by his colleagues in the CPB, whereas Beta-Class androids are treated as machines since they lack true sapience. The question of exactly how human Farve is and who created him is one of the main mysteries of the show.
  • Automated Automobiles: New York City in 2070 is shown to have an extensive network of automated automobiles to move occupants across town.
  • Bald of Authority: Martin Ehrenthal, both bald and black, is the head of the local division of the CPB. He’s an incredibly competent administrator, not afraid to stand up to any Consortium representative or someone from the Assessor’s Office trying to browbeat him or his agents to back away from their investigations.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Appears to be standard for most androids.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: A mine worker is implanted with a brain chip that forces him to assassinate a union leader in public.
  • Cliffhanger: The show ends with Farve getting possibly damaged beyond repair and going into hibernation to repair himself, the future of David and Olivia Hume as a couple being uncertain because of trust issues, and Calley getting contacted by Farve’s creator, who has apparently survived the destruction of his body. Since the series was cancelled at this point, these dangling plot threads were never resolved.
  • Containment Field: Detective Farve (an android with a two-way broadcast signal) is held inside a containment field after both him and his partner Hume are captured by rogue anti-machine agents from the Assessor’s Office.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: It’s always dark, gloomy, and often raining in the cyberpunkish New York City of 2070.
  • Da Chief: Hume and Farve’s boss Martin Ehrenthal embodies all the best aspects of the character type: He is unquestionably moral, backs up his people and listens whenever they have a reasonable counterargument to give him. He is also savvy to the behind the scenes politics that can get in the way of police work, and has his own strings to pull there when absolutely necessary.
  • Dead Partner: Agent David Hume’s first partner is killed by a sabotaged Beta-class android who later jumps off a building. He is then partnered up with an Alpha-class android detective.
  • Designer Babies: In one episode, the Citizen’s Protection Bureau is taken over by a mysterious hacker who turns out to be the result of a failed human gene modification experiment. Rather than creating the perfect Transhuman, it ended up creating intelligent children with severe psychological disabilities.
  • Dirty Cop: Hume investigates a former mentor of his who has made a name for himself by quickly closing a large number of cases after seeing him shoot a suspect. It transpires that he’s begun working as a hit man for a group of people who issue orders through VR.
  • Expendable Clone: A doctor who appears to be involved with an assassination plot is hauled in by the detective protagonists, but after the doctor’s attorney gets him released the doctor himself gets assassinated almost immediately. It later transpires that the target was actually a clone of the real doctor, and the clone’s sorry fate is quickly forgotten.
  • Fake Memories: Olivia Hume’s memories have been tampered with. She used to be a woman named Carol, but Rekall used a brain implant to wipe her mind and use her as a spy.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Subverted by the Ray Guns of the setting. Getting hit by one leaves a horrific scorched smoking hole, with what appears to be boiling body fat bubbling up at its edges.
  • Fille Fatale: A runaway teenage girl becomes involved with a Virtual Reality bootlegger of sexual scenarios. The two cops put her up in android Farve’s apartment for her safety, but she later tries to come on to him.
  • Good is Not Nice: Especially in the case of Calley from the Assessor’s Office (a vaguely defined department that has some authority over the CPB and focuses on curtailing corporate crime). He appears to be genuinely dedicated to the public good, but he is also a ruthless puppet master in pursuing it, including towards his own subordinates.
  • Interrupted Suicide:
    • When Detectives Hume and Farve are walking the streets, they get into an emergency involving a woman threatening to jump off a building. She commits suicide right in front of Hume, who fails to talk her down.
    • Later in the series, David Hume’s wife Olivia is driven to suicide by people who want to stop her from testifying for a murder that she saw someone else commit. David catches her in time and gets her to throw up the pills she swallowed.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: There’s an episode about it, which mentions official regulations such as at least X% of workers being human.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: The main characters, including Hume and Farve, work for the CPB (Citizens’ Protection Bureau), a civilian agency that deals with general criminal investigations. Calley represents the Assessor’s Office, another agency that has official judicial oversight over the Consortium, the five most powerful Mega Corps. Although they’re both generally opposed to the Consortium, at times the interests of the CPB and the Assessor’s Office would conflict and Calley would run his own investigation behind the CPB detectives’ backs.
  • Just a Machine: Farve’s creator is revealed to be this, and aware of it. As it puts it after testing Farve, “just because [it] knows its creation shall have a conscience doesn’t mean [it] itself has one”. What makes Farve a total success for his creator is that he is indeed far more than a machine.
  • Love-Interest Traitor: After a passenger transport blows up, Dr. Olham is visited by her former husband, whose brother was killed in the explosion. She even has sex him again. He later turns out to be working with the people who assassinated his brother.
  • Mega-Corp: Each branch of industry is apparently dominated by a single Megacorporation each. Rekall does information technology, Uber Braun robotics (and androids), Minacon produces energy and raw materials and so on. Each company has a private army and an Army of Lawyers to pursue their own interests, often trying to strong-arm the civilian law enforcement agency that the protagonists represent. Interestingly, Uber Braun may be based off real-world consumer electronics company Braun, which is now part of real-world mega corporation Proctor & Gamble, so maybe Truth in Television.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Detective David Hume takes his name from perhaps the most famous philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment after Adam Smith.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Dr. Olan Chang takes this trope and runs with it. Not only is she the Citizen’s Protection Bureau’s coroner, but she’s also depicted as an expert roboticist, virologist, computer scientist, and neurologist, among other things.
  • Ray Gun: Blasters exist alongside regular firearms and are issued to all CPB officers.
  • Recursive Creators: Detective Farve is an Alpha-Class android with a Wetware CPU and human cognition. His creator turns out to be a more primitive type of machine intelligence who initially built its own crude android body to become more human, but was fully aware that he was Just a Machine and built Farve in its own image to be more truly human.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Alpha-class prototype androids. This is in explicit contrast with ordinary androids in the series.
  • Robotic Reveal: Farve is revealed to be inhuman when he regenerates his arms’ skin after having it burnt/melted by high voltage cables. He then explains that he’s an Alpha android, a prototype Ridiculously Human Robot using Wetware CPU.
  • Romantic Candlelit Dinner: In episode 4, David arrives home late to find his dinner cold and his upset wife Olivia putting out the candles she prepared. However, he really did have a good reason: he was the closest officer in the area to handle a jumper whom he ultimately couldn’t save, so Olivia forgets about the ruined evening and comforts him.
  • Secret Test of Character: In the last episode, Farve’s creator simulates an attack by good guys over a communications failure, to force Farve to choose between self-preservation and greater good. Farve succeeds, but his creator itself admits it would have failed. However, there is something it values more than its own life: Farve, its masterpiece (at least after he passed the final test).
  • The Sleepless: Being an android, Farve doesn’t need sleep. Little attention is drawn to it, the most significant mention being that his apartment doesn’t have a bed.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: In the episode “Burning Desire”, several people spontaneously burst into flames inside their private VR machines. This later turns out to be the result of a remote signal that causes some sort of chemical reaction inside the body that acts as the ignition. The guy responsible for this is eventually killed by his corporate masters in the same way to silence him.
  • Stock Footage: The pilot episode, in which the protagonists go to Mars to rescue a kidnapped boy, re-uses footage from Total Recall (1990) of Quaid’s ship landing at the Mars colony spaceport.
  • The Television Talks Back: After Olivia Hume witnessess a powerful businessman committing a murder, the company tampers with the Hume’s vidscreen broadcast so that Olivia sees people on the television talking to her. As she’s already dealing with having her memory tampered with at the time, she thinks it’s a hallucination at first.
  • Title by Year: A 1999 show set in the titular year.
  • Underwater Base: Farve the android’s mysterious creator is hiding in a derelict underwater base inside a radioactive lake that hasn’t been visited by humans in decades.
  • Video Phone: Ubiquitous in the future setting, usually with the detectives communicating with each other this way while they each go off on seperate assignments.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: A spokesman for human labor sabotages an android so that several humans are killed in an industrial accident to force the employer to remove all the androids. When he’s confronted by the police, he asserts that he’s trying to protect humanity from android encroachment. He swallows a Cyanide Pill, ironically dying in the arms of Farve, a Ridiculously Human Robot.
  • Wetware CPU: Alpha-class androids (still on the prototype stage) use cultivated neurons. Alpha technology is not yet fully understood, as android inspector Farve experienced weird “connections” with people under an Alpha Mind Control implant. According to Word of God, had there been a second season, it would have been revealed the Alpha neurons originate from alien biological material discovered on Mars.