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Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Reviewed by Joe Crowe, © 2008

Format: TV
By:   Josh Friedman (director)
Genre:   Robot fightin' action
Review Date:   February 28, 2008
RevSF Rating:   7/10 (What Is This?)

"No one is ever safe." -- Sarah and John Connor, at the same time

Sarah Connor Chronicles is like watching a Terminator movie. I mean that as a compliment.

TV versions of movies are new creations that are semi-inspired by the movie and do their own thing, like Stargate SG-1.. Or they're knockoffs with new people in the famous roles, like the Bandit series that didn't have Burt Reynolds (It had Brian Bloom, who's on this show as a Terminator).

This one has new people playing the famous parts. Other than that, everything looks the same. The Terminator actors look like little Arnolds. They have the same robot skeleton that looks excellent with burned flesh. The show has the same storyline, stopping Skynet from destroying all humans, except for bonus stuff used to pad out between robot fights, like the cop who pursues the gang.

The movies aren't a vague outline, they're the whole source material. From what I remember, the show lines up nicely with T2 and T movie continuity. The show skips Terminator 3, figuratively and literally.

The only difference is everything is slowed down to second gear. There is plenty of time for grimacing and talk about feelings, and then being grim some more, just like the movies. But the movie only had two hours and lots of stuff to blow up. The show blows up stuff, too, they just take their sweet time doing it.

But when the fightin' starts, it ain't bad. Summer Glau is beloved from Firefly, but there are no wire-work jump kicks. She's right in there with the Arnolds and the slamming and the hurting.

Some good parts: My favorite episode. The one with the troubled girl at school. It looked exactly like every other superhero show, where the hero learns something Very Special, and helps a downtrodden innocent.

But in this one: splat.

I feared every episode would have John Connor and Cameron the naive super-robot in wacky hijinks at school. But the splat showed us the show is about fightin' robots.

The crap-ass future is awesome. Terminator is about averting a crap-ass future. But we never saw it. The short clips of robots on fields of human skulls in the movies is all we've ever seen, unless you went to Terminator 2 in 3-D at the Universal Studios park, which had new video of Arnold and Edward Furlong, and stunt guys that looked like them if you were sitting in the back of the theater.

Brian Austin Green. The de-flowerer of Tori Spelling on 90210 is our first view into the robo-pocalypse. In one episode, the show spent more time there than in any of the movies. With Brian Austin Green.

His character's link to T jazzes up the whole show.

Some bad parts: John Connor is a putz. He was a twerp as floppy-haired Eddy Furlong in T2, and he's one here, too. We all know he grows from a punk-ass into a robot fightin' man, so this show charts his growth. But it's slow.

It's very Smallville in that the kid is irritating. Unlike Superman, we don't even really know how awesome he is as a grown-up. We just have Michael Biehn's word for it.

But then, he never steered me wrong before.

You have to see the movies. It's best if you saw both movies, like, yesterday. Or better, right before you watch each episode.

The show is totally beholden to them, especially T2 since nothing really happened in T except running and blowing up stuff and a guy totally getting it on with Linda Hamilton and me watching it when I was but a mere lad of 14.

The only way the show could attack the nerd front more directly would be adding movie guys Michael Biehn or Robert Patrick. Which would be awe-some.

But even if you have no Terminator nostalgia, Sarah Connor is a free action flick every week. That's not a bad deal.


Joe Crowe is RevolutionSF news editor. That's what he does. That's all he does!

 
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