Review: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Episode 1)

The cast

Here it is 1:00 in the morning and I’m writing about Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. So let me jump right in with the good news: it didn’t suck. I’d probably watch it again before Blade: The Series or anything like that. (Anybody wanna ice skate uphill?) I still can’t rate it up there with the likes of Firefly, Farscape, or Heroes, but it managed to hold my attention for an hour. Even better, it looks like the writers are going to play around with time travel and whatnot for us. So if you haven’t seen Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles yet, you might just want to catch one of the millions of re-airings that will surely be happening over the next week or so.

For me, the first weak point is – surprisingly – the Terminators. Don’t get me wrong. When I saw the first two movies in the theater, I thought, “To Hell with John Connor!” Yeah, I wanted the T-800 to be my dad. I didn’t want another daddy until Sauron stomped onto the big screen and started knocking down old guys like ten-pins. I soooo wish I could do that. But as I feared, Summer Glau doesn’t quite work for me as a kick-a*s Terminator yet. They dumbed down the evil Terminator too much for the TV viewing public for my tastes as well. Unlike my second most favorite dad (I the T-800 … in a totally not gay way, mind you) this guy is always hamming it up and talking to itself. Apparently the average FOX viewer is too dumb to figure out what’s going on from one scene to the next, so Skynet had to go and build one that liked to mumble about various plot developments. This guy’s performance is about as subtle as Vicki’s from Small Wonder.

The “Small Wonder.”
Hey! She looks nothing
like the State of Delware!

Yes, you heard me right. Arnold Schwarzenegger can actually out act someone.

Still, Summer can act. And the rest of the cast seems pretty good. There’s plenty of action and the writing’s good, so the show is easily better than the B.B.C.’s Torchwood at this point. (Curse you Russell T. Davies! Please tell me that series two gets better for old Jack Harkness??) So I’ll be sticking around to see if they can keep this up or whizz it down their pants leg. With FOX running the show … well, ya just never know. FOX and high quality scifi just don’t seem to mix. One thing I do know: I’ll be hanging around to see how it pans out.

Part 2

I caught the next episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles last night. I realize (now that it isn’t 1:00 A.M.) that I was too quick to praise the writers. One complaint I forgot to mention is that the first two episodes seem to be a rearranging of scenes from the movies. It’s as if someone cut up the Terminator movies and then stuck them into one of those cheesey “edit your own version of the movie” packages. We have bits and pieces from all three movies that have been recreated for us on TV. I suspect the producers wanted this to serve as an homage to the work that’s gone before, but it’s so obvious that it draws too much attention to itself. I find it kinda distracting.

But overall, my feelings are unchanged. Hopefully the series will grow out of this phase and build it’s own identity. The writers are clearly trying to reshuffle the events of the Terminator franchise through the use of time travel. It would have been nice if they used this to explain the inconsistencies between the third movie and the previous two (which were directed by James Cameron, of course). Still, this avoids one of the problems George Lucas had with the Star Wars prequels: the fact that we already knew how it was going to end.

About The Atheist Geek

The Atheist Geek is a former Jehovah's Witness turned secular humanist. He's a lifelong sci-fi geek and a writer wannabe.
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