Archive for May 1st, 2009

With the release of Terminator Salvation imminent it makes sense to cash in with a spin-off TV series but it appears that isn’t going to happen as it appear Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles will not be back for a third series.  So where did it go wrong?

 Warning plot spoilers below.

sarahSeason one started well with Sarah Conner (Lena Headey) is still on the run with her son John (Thomas Dekker) following the events of Terminator 2.  A terminator (Garret Dillahunt) who becomes known as Cromartie acting as a substitute teacher at jobs school and attempts to kill John.  John is saved by school friend Cameron (Summer Glau) who turns out to be a reprogrammed terminator sent back from the future by John to protect his younger self. 


johnCameron explains that what the did altered but not prevented judgment day and they can more effectively fight against it in the future.  They use a time machine in a bank volt to move forward to 2008.  The cynic in me thinks this device is used to move the action to present day to make the production more simple and the program more appealing to younger viewers.  This also means we have gone beyond the events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and the two exist separately and independently of each other.  This means the series could not tie in, in any way with the new film Salvation.

cameronWith Cameron posing as John’s sister they lead a duel life trying to blend in while preventing the computers that started the war from being built.  Along the way the hook up with Derek Reese, Johns uncle.  The series was cut to a short nine episodes because of the writers strike.  Season two started with a new addition to the cast Shirley Manson from the band Garbage playing a T-1000 who is impersonating Catherine Weaver a woman who runs a computer company who has her own mysterious agenda.

catherineThen after twenty-two episodes in series two it could all be over with a real cliff-hanger of an episode.  John has travelled forward in time with Catherine Weaver who then disappears leaving him to be confronted by his father Kyle, Uncle Derek and Cameron none of whom have ever hear of John.  One assumes that if he jumped forward in time he didn’t exist in those years and therefore did not become the great leader.  Or possibly that he needed to jump forward to become the leader.  Who knows?  There is a line towards the end of the first film where Sarah says something like “a person could go crazy thinking about these things”.  How true!

derekThere was always a real problem with the series.  Probably in an attempt to appeal to younger viewers Sarah Conner is not the star of the program, John and Cameron take over and have the best stories.  The reason this is a problem is that they failed to get this audience and are alienating fans of the original film who want to see Sarah Connor not the kids.  The payoff for this is Summer Glau is brilliant as Cameron a terminator learning to be more human.  With 31 hours to play with this can be explored far more effectively than Arnold Schwarzenegger could in T2.  Glau brings a lot of the oddities to her performance that we saw in Firefly but with a smaller main cast in this we see more of her. 

So if this is the end of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles it is both a fitting way to end but a shame as the series was getting into its stride and had just opened a world of plot possibilities up.

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