Monday, January 14, 2008

The Sarah Connor Chronicles


I must say I loved the first two episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox. It is a bit like fanfic gone wild, set in an alternate history which takes place directly after Terminator 2: Judgement Day but upsets the introduction of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Now I wasn't expecting much to begin with, so I was pleasingly assuaged when the beats I define as keen to Terminator canon were hit repeatedly. These include:

  • Hard-as-nails Sarah Connor

  • Random, instant violence

  • Heavy ammunition usage

  • Terminators hit by cars

  • Exceptionally high imbalance of body-to-drywall ratio

While she does know how to kick ass and take names, TV's Sarah Connor played by Lena Heady is quite a bit more accessible than her movie counterpart Linda Hamilton. In T2, Hamilton is freaking amazing as a detached, single-minded lioness who will stop at nothing to protect her son. That transformation from the original movie's terrified damsel on the run is a thrill to behold and one of the anchors of what makes T2 so great. Hamilton's Connor outright personifies someone you do not want to fuck with.



Here in television where the titular character must be sustained for presumably much longer storylines, I understand the choice to take a less intense direction. Luckily Heady appears to play the balance well, and still keeps the thick skin and unflinching trigger finger.

Not surprisingly John Connor plays a big role, as well as his new Termanatrix protector (aptly done, if expected, by Summer Glau). Model number as yet unidentified... though there seem to be plenty of T-800's around.

The alternate timeline takes a little getting used to, I really enjoyed T3 and its striking resolution. Judgement Day cannot be stopped, it is inevitable in the Terminator storyline. Chronicles may not stop it but has certainly postponed it, and it will be interesting to see how much they play around with chronology or if the third film is even referenced at all. Not to mention the fourth film in the works! In its first episode the show has brought time travel into play, which I love, but we've yet to see if it will be overdone as paradox piles onto paradox. I hope the series either stays strong or stays brief. Heroes was a big let down by the end of the first season, and I can barely bring myself to mention the dashed hopes of Bionic Woman. I hope Chronicles keeps itself on a tight leash.

UPDATE: My new guilty pleasure, i09, picks up on the "kinder, gentler Sarah Connor," supposing and fearing it may lead to a downhill trend. And I gotta say that original pilot ending is kick ass compared to what aired. Keep your fingers crossed the character won't stray too far into that territory.

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