“The Sarah Connor Chronicles” fights the good fight

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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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