(P)REVIEW: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES
When I first read the script for The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I enjoyed and disliked it both at the same time. I was bringing my own baggage into it and I knew it. I went into reading it being especially critical because I always thought that T2 was a great film that tied up nicely and that any considered attempts (not to mention the piece of crap third flick) strains the concept and it's continuity (which being a time-travelly thing is even more important). Especially since the date of Skynet's take over was very firmly established and has already come and gone. Continuing the tale seems overly contrived.
Now here's the thing. In my head I saw Linda Hamilton and, to some degree, Edward Furlong as Sarah and John. This would make some things a little better, but then I would remember that it's not going to be them and suddenly I become even more critical. I really needed to see this in action to make a judgment.
Now that I've finally seen Lena Headey and Thomas Dekker in action, I don't seem to have a problem with it. Not because they're especially good (and they're good), but because this iteration of the Terminator universe feels very different from the James Cameron flicks. I can almost come at this as being something else. Almost. Wise move.
I'm not really going to get into a plot overview here because all but the last act is your basic Terminator plot and the last act sets up the series and how they move the Terminator concept to continue functioning. If anything, that's my only problem with the pilot. I don't feel like I really got a taste of the series to come and if I really did, then I hope there's some tricks up their sleeve because if this is just The Fugitive with robots, I'm not sure about it. Worse though, I think they're probably just going to stay in L.A. the whole time. I've outlined before how I dislike too many TV shows actually taking place in L.A. Doesn't matter.
Do not take this as the pilot not being well written, because it is. Josh Friedman there. He's got the goods. It does give me faith that the series will be good and that I will enjoy it. I think it can get an good audience going if they can get them over the hump of watching something that doesn't have the original Terminator cast in it,
Then there's the subject of the school shooting portion of the pilot, which is being reshot as, I would guess, something completely different. I've got a few different ideas about this, none of which paints a particularly great picture of the current state of American society.
It's being altered, or so it was said, because of the Virginia Tech shootings.
First thing, this is slated to air in midseason. January. I'll not get into the discussion of how long is long enough, but it is something I thought of. Well just have Fox err on the safe side.
So, in erring on the safe side, one has to wonder why you'd even go for the school shooting thing in the first place. As it's being reshot, it isn't vital that things happen in the school (Unlike, say, "Earshot," which played off of school shootings to some degree and was pulled when Columbine happened). Also, it's probably not giving away much to say that it's a Terminator doing the shooting. Aren't school shootings happening just enough in this country that writing one into a TV show is about as safe a bet as putting everything you've got on boxcars? Twice in a row?
Is it going to be arc-driven, episodic or both? Well, probably not purely episodic. I wouldn't mind if it were totally arc-driven because I think it suits the show, but I think it needs to blend it in order to pick up viewers these days. Too many really bad arc shows have come and gone.
Oh, and Summer Glau is in severe danger of getting typecast as the cute bad-ass on account of she does it so well.
To wrap it up. Good stuff. I recommend watching it. I just need to see more.