My Favourite TV: Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Despite the fact that this series had quite a few faults with it I was still very disappointed that it only lasted 2 series. I thought that it definitely had the potential to run for 3-5 years before people got bored with the whole idea. It had lots going for it – apart from the obvious attractions of Summer Glau and Lena Headey – including some kick-ass action and some fairly good acting from the likes of Brian Austin Green who played Derek Reese, brother of Kyle who fathered John Connor – the saviour of mankind.
The first series followed the usual Terminator plot line as the Connors tried to prevent the birth of Skynet – the computer system (or virus according to the movie Terminator 3) that destroyed the world on Judgement Day. The ‘wrinkle’ in this was that Sarah and John – together with Cameron (the diminutive Terminator played mostly superbly by Glau) – jump into the ‘future’ so that they miss Sarah’s death due to cancer. This was a nice touch and took it out of the movie time-line which gave the series a bit more flexibility. The second, and last, series, took a different tack with the introduction of Catherine Weaver played, rather oddly, by the singer Shirley Manson from the band Garbage. She, as we far too quickly find out, is a liquid metal Terminator seemingly with a plan of her own which may or may not include Judgement Day. This was a very interesting development and, along with flashes forward to the war against Skynet, part of the internal conflict between different machine factions. That made things, for me at least, very interesting. The final episode, where Weaver and John travel to the future, was an amazing cliff-hanger which unfortunately will now never be resolved.
Of course because of my love for the franchise and the ideas behind the Terminator idea I inevitably had some problems with the series. Although Glau was great as Cameron and had the robotic fighting down to a fine art she still stuck out like a sore thumb in most social situations – and then – for no apparent reason became quite human. For an infiltration unit she wasn’t very adept. I know that the rebels/survivors of the nuclear war had access to time travel technology but seriously just how many people did they have the opportunity to send back to mess with the time line. Although I understand that its clearer for the audience to have an antagonist to recognise the whole Cromartie storyline was bordering on farce, oh, and as much as I liked the character of James Ellison played by Richard T Jones what was the actual point of him being there? Oh, and lastly John Connor – the future leader of mankind… Get over yourself John. You’ve done the whiney teenager thing who doesn’t want the responsibility. Now get a grip, get with the programme and be who you’re supposed to be.
Finally the things I actually liked about it – some a lot. Glau as Cameron rocked my world. She was superb in a sexy scary killer robot sort of way and if I was gay (or a girl) I’d totally do Derek Reese. I liked the glimpse of the future war which I found exciting. I liked the way some things that Skynet was doing were never explained – though maybe that was planned for future episodes? I liked the political aspects alluded to in the final few episodes where Connor was using revamped Terminators in his camps much to the annoyance of some of his troops. I was also very much intrigued by the idea of metal ‘factions’ within the robotic forces – that was a very nice idea. All in all I thought that the series was a creditable attempt to extend the franchise and could have probably worked very well considering and should have been given longer to settle down. I miss it (or would if I didn’t have both series on DVD). If you liked the movies and haven’t seen the series I’d definitely give it your attention.