The Sarah Connor Chronicles

11 out of 13 nots
for Terminator fighting awesomeness

When I first heard about the new TV show The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I was excited.  I love the Terminator movies, and I always wanted to know more about the points in between, particularly the gap from Terminator 2 to Terminator 3.  However, after watching the premier episode, I was left with a general “meh” attitude.  The show certainly didn’t suck.  It wasn’t garbage, but it also lacked a certain pizazz I was hoping for.

I’m glad I stuck with the show, because in my opinion it got much better… more after the break.

The pilot really was just setting up the show.  Introduce the characters to the audience, introduce the new “good” terminator cybernetic organism, and the “bad” one.  Then the show threw me its one and only curve-ball.  John Connor of the future didn’t rely on just Kyle Reese and a couple of reprogrammed robots, he prepared better than that.  In fact, he dropped an engineer back in 1963 who was to spend his time inventing a time travel machine, hidden inside a bank vault in case of emergencies.  Sarah, John and Cameron (the terminator) jump from 1999 to 2007 to escape.  And from there, the series took off.

Much like in the movie Terminator 3, when the bad guys come back to bump off all of the leaders of the resistance, John’s captains, but reversed, the show is about Sarah deciding to take action to protect her son.  Much like in Terminator 2 when they go after Charles Dyson believing that he created Skynet, and maybe he did, but with him gone, Skynet still happens, so they need to find out how it comes to be this time.  In their efforts, they discover that not only did John of the future send back soldiers sprinkled through time, so did Skynet.  Some terminators have orders to kill, while others are gathering supplies.

All in all, the show illustrates one of the maddening joys of the theories of time travel.  Excluding the first film which is an example of a time paradox (without Skynet sending a terminator to kill Sarah, John wouldn’t need to send Kyle, his father, back to meet his mom, so in order to win, Skynet would just need to not send the terminator), the rest of the Terminator universe can be viewed as being in a separate trip through the time loop.  In T2, Judgement Day was declared to be in 1997, and the movie is happening in 1995 (based on John’s birthdays, set by his conception in 1984 in the first film).  In T3, Judgement Day is in 2004.  In the series, Judgement Day is now 2011.  Every trip through, the resistance seems to be able to delay Judgement Day, but it is inevitable.  The most important aspect to the universe though is actually uttered in the first film, when Kyle is asked how he’s supposed to get back to 2029, he says “I can’t. Nobody goes home.”  The future you leave ceases to exist the moment you leave it, for better or for worse.

The best part of the show for me, however, is the fighting.  In many sci-fi films, there is, in my opinion, too heavy a reliance on using cool ninja-like fighting styles.  The Sarah Connor Chronicles has, thankfully, stuck with the tried and true brute method of fighting of the previous films.  Cameron doesn’t perform double back flips into scissor kicks and the like, she punched things, she shoves things, she grabs them and slams them into walls.  Watching two terminators fight is brutal, yet fun.  I definitely prefer it to the overuse of Matrix style “I know Kung-Fu?” super aerial combat.

11 out of 13 feels right to me for this show.  Its not perfect, but it is enjoyable, and better than a lot of the TV shows out there.  I look forward to seeing where they go with it if they pick it up for a second season.

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