“The Sarah Connor Chronicles” fights the good fight

Well, gosh, that was exciting.
The two-night, two-episode premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor
Chronicles
(henceforth to be known as T:SCC

because, geez, that’s a lot to type over and over again) was an apocalyptic
good time.

Was it perfect? Certainly not. Were there continuity issues? Most definitely.
But you’d be hard pressed to find a weak link in the acting department
(OK, Thomas Dekker’s John Connor is a bit like Zac Efron with
an attitude problem) or a show with more beautiful women kicking
ass in tank tops. Whoever decided to put Lena Headey
and Summer Glau in a series together deserves a raise, or at the
very least, a large muffin basket.

Since I’m just a casual fan of the films, I came to the series with
fewer expectations in terms of the Terminator mythology. But for those
who demand consistentcy, T:SCC

takes place after T:2 and before T:3, thus basically negating
(or, more accurately, reimagining) the final film. But, again, since
I’m a fan but not a fanatic of the movies, I was just looking for
a good story that could balance action with emotion.

And in that respect, T:SCC
delivered like Domino’s. You want action? We’ve got your action
right here. Shotguns blasting. Cars exploding. Robots smashing robots
through walls. But it’s the emotion that really makes things intense.
And emotions don’t get much more intense than that of a mother
protecting her young.

This is, without a doubt, Lena’s
show. Sure, Summer is quite convincing (not to mention easy on the old
visual receptors) as John’s hottie android security detail, Cameron.
But it’s Lena who makes the show’s heart beat. As the mother of
the world’s future savior, she brings less brawn but more brain to
Sarah Connor. With a simple, wordless look she can convey weariness
or worry, ferociousness or fear, anger or annoyance. It’s in those quiet
moments that we see the framework for the show’s emotional themes. Sure,
there’s the saving-the-world stuff. But there is also a mother doing
what she can to hold on to her son, and a woman resolved to cobble together
a life on the run.

[Spoilers, Will Robinson,
spoilers!]

And in the nascent series’ most interesting wrinkle,
Sarah learns that they had to time travel eight years into the future
because she died two years earlier from cancer. Man, like saving the
planet from homicidal robots wasn’t enough of a burden. The dire diagnosis
is also a nice homage to the otherwise ignored T:3, which first
reveals Sarah’s death.

Speaking of time travel, while
it is a sci-fi standard, it always makes my brain twitch a little when
folks start quantum leaping all over the place. I guess it’s best
not to get too hung up on the technicalities and timelines here. I mean,
I’m already taking it on faith that a manmade military computer defense
system became self-aware and then turned on its creators in an effort
to destroy the world as we know it and then sent indestructible killer
machines back in time to assassinate the leader of the future rebellion.
So what’s a little more suspension of disbelief, right?

As for the rest of the series,
I’d like to see a lot more dark humor (Summer mimicking the homegirl
as she leaned against the car was classic), a lot less voiceover work
(I know it’s a throwback to the movies, but let’s keep it to one
per episode, OK?) and absolutely no hooking up between John and Cameron
(robot sex does not compute; abort, abort!).

So, what did you think? And,
more importantly, does anyone know how I can stop the Terminator’s
pulsing “Da-dun-da-dun-da-dun” theme from going through my head?
It’s been stuck in there for two days straight now.

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