Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles – (a eulogy)

It was a big hit to me when this show got cancelled. I never felt it got the attention it deserved, I had come to really love the characters, and worst of all it ended in a very awkward place. But it is not truly gone, not as long as you can still pick it up on DVD.

Okay, there are some reservations to watching it, all of which are valid, I had the same concerns as I got into it.

First off – it is by no means a Terminator movie, but then again neither was Terminator Salvation. You have to remove the expectations you would have of a Terminator movie before you can begin to appreciate this show for what it is – a well-written action serial set in the Terminator universe. This show explores aspects of the Terminator concept that a two-hour movie just doesn’t have time for. Nowhere else will you see a 1930’s gangster Terminator.

Second – who are these people? This show uses none of the original actors from any of the films. Lena Headey takes on the role of Sarah Conner in this show. And no, she’s not Linda Hamilton, but you know what – she is a very believable Sarah Conner. At no point in the show did I feel like she wasn’t being true to the character, I found her to be protective, passionate, dangerous, and scary – exactly like the Sarah Conner I know.

Thomas Dekker is still the most believable John Conner that we’ve had since Terminator 2. Mainly because he doesn’t act weak.

Summer Glau took a few episodes to grow into her character. Unfortunately the show had to get the whole it’s-a-hot-teenage-killer-robot-girl-who-doesn’t-know-how-a-VCR-works out of it’s system before it could actually take the character seriously. Her performance reflects that. But as the character developed, Cameron really found her place in the Terminator mythology.

Third – the plot for this show seems to either misunderstand or completely ingore the third Terminator movie, which is a pro or a con depending on how you felt about the plot of Terminator 3. If you try to reconcile the two plots you will probably give yourself a headache, personally I’m inclined to ignore the story of the third movie completely.

One problem you might not have foreseen is that – apart from a few exceptional scenes – the villains are not particularly scary-looking. Perhaps that’s what the director was going for, to get across the fact that even a totally mundane-looking person could be a killer robot, but the end result is still a lack of coolness.

Also, the fact that the heroes had to jump forward in time (from the nineties to present-day) is difficult to accept at first. BUT, it was necessary to have the events set in present-day in order to make the whole thing relevant and scary – an essential element of the franchise that Terminator Salvation lacked.

If you gave Terminator Salvation a shot, then you definitely owe it to this show to give it a chance. It feels far more like a proper continuation of the story from Terminator 2 than either of the last two films.

I understand the Terminator franchise as a whole is in a flux right now as it changes hands. When all settles down and people start making Terminator movies and video games again, I hope they find room for an obscure, little, killer robot chick named Cameron.

About benjaminfrog

Yo. I'm a 30-something Christian guy and published author with a love for gaming, fantasy and sci-fi. I blog about pop culture, living as a young Christian guy, and living with A.S.
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6 Responses to Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles – (a eulogy)

  1. 100% behind you on this one. This show is the best thing to happen to the franchise since T2. Really a shame that it was cut down in its prime. Though one of the things that bothered me was that it actually ignored a couple of the terminator universe facts in order to easily progress the story line. Mostly minor issues, but still seemed sloppy at the time.

  2. Hey Benjamin!

    Let me say from the gitgo that I agree with your comments about the series. We don’t have cable or satellite TV, so when we do watch a series, it tends to be the WHOLE series–or at least a whole season–on DVD. A few months ago my sister leant me seasons 1 and 2 of the Sarah Conner Chronicles, so the next weekend I sat myself in front of the TV and watched the entire series in one sitting (well, a few bathroom breaks!!!).

    I LOVED IT!!!

    When I first saw Terminator back in 1984, it immediately became my favourite movie. It had everything I wanted: action, time travel , romance; you name it, Terminator had it. The love that Sarah and Kyle Reese shared, a love that transcended time itself [as does Christ’s love] made my heart ache. I STILL sometimes cry when I think about it. you can’t get a love much mire unrequited than when the object of your affection lives in another time “zone”! To this day, Terminator is STLL my favourite movie. It still resonates in my heart, soul, and intellect as it did when I first saw the movie. Watching the first movie is what forced me go see the second movie (not bad but–for me–it lacked the power of the first), and the third ( raise your hand if you figured out the terminator would be a woman even before the writers started work on the project!). And watching the first movie also meant I owed the Sarah Conner Chronicles a look, too.

    I’m glad I watched the series. It hooked me right from the first episode . . . and yet something inside me KNEW from the first episode that the series was not long for this world. Sad. I would gladly have sat through another 10 or 20 seasons of the show, and to me, Benjamin, it sounds like you would have sat there with me! So let’s pop some corn, settle into two comfy chairs, and dream about battling terminators while we watch Sarah and John fight to survive . . . with a bit of help from pretty little Cameron. Two thumbs WAY up, eh Benjamin? Your place or mine?

    I’ll Be Back,

    Shawn J. Pollett (Model 101)

    • benjaminfrog says:

      Thanks for the feedback Shawn. It’s great to hear from you.

      Although I appreciated the original Terminator movie, it didn’t resonate with me as much as Judgement Day. I was too young at the time to care about romance on that level, but I connected with the unusual father-son relationship that grew between John and the T-101 – and I also connected with the super-protective mother. 🙂
      I probably also related to John’s sense of specialness and self-importance. Growing up with autism gives you something of a complex (at least I’m assuming I’m not the only one) which comes from several years of believing you are the only person in the universe. These days I know there are other people in the world around me, but I still struggle with some old habits – remnants of a time when I believed I was the only person I needed to take care of.

      I still have Terminator 2 listed as my favourite action movie of all time. As a kid it was just about the robots and time travel, but now that I’m older I can appreciate the genius that went into the details of the plot. Plus, the T-1000 is one of my favourite villains of all time. I’m amazed how rarely liquid characters are used in other franchises.

      • I’m 100% with you there (as you already know) judgement day was the first action movie I ever saw; more importantly, it is the first movie I REMEMBER watching. It became such an important point in my life. I can safely say I’ve watched it at least once a year, most years 5 or more times. It sparked in me a certain John Conner complex that most are all too familiar with lol.

        Judgement day inspired me to prepare myself for any outcome, (including theoretically leading the human race agains an overwhelming and malicious robot army) and more importantly it taught me that no matter whether I’m a child or an adult that when things seem absolutely bleek that I must endure, and do so without comprimising myself.

        Thanks guys for bringing back so many awesome memories of this amazing franchise (yet again)

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