Review: Terminator – The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season Two (Blu-Ray)


The first couple of Terminator movies are easily two of my all time favourites. Pure unadulterated entertainment. I was really looking forward to the third, Rise of the Machines, but it turned out to be a horrible waste of time. That third movie managed to severely dent my interest in anything with the word “Terminator” in the title. Because of this I avoided the first season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles like the plague. As a huge fan of actor Christian Bale I decided to give Terminator Salvation a chance. My faith in humanity was somewhat restored – or at least my faith in murderous time travelling cyborgs from the future and that’s what really matters. My renewed interest coincided with the release of the second series of Chronicles on Blu-Ray which gave me the perfect opportunity to check it out.

Maintaining continuity can be a tricky proposition even at the best of times. In a narrative which deals with time-travel the number of possible problems is substantially increased. The writing team took the decision to create and explore an alternate time-line, in an effort to avoid continuity issues, and this works much better than expected. Despite there being an alternate time-line the creators knew exactly where they wanted to ground this show. On a number of occasions, most notably when John tells of one man and one machine sent back in time, an effort is made to follow on from the events in Terminator 2. I welcome any attempt to erase the third movie from record books. The story is full of twists, which thankfully avoid making the viewer feel cheated, and ensures the season is kept thoroughly exciting from start to finish. There are many flashbacks from both past and future, if that makes sense, which help paint a detailed narrative around the characters.

Pier Chase

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Liquid Terminator

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There have been plenty of shows with a perfectly good story which was let down by sub-par acting. I am so glad this is not one of them. The acting here is much better than I expected. The title role is played by Lena Headey who played Queen Gorgo in 300. As a big fan of the wonderful Linda Hamilton I wasn’t sure how I’d react to another actress as Sarah Connor but Headey did very well and managed to put her own spin on the character. My only experience of Thomas Dekker prior to this season was his short stint as Zach in Heroes. I think he did a great job playing John Connor especially in his scenes opposite Summer Glau. The inclusion of Shirley Manson, lead singer of Garbage, may have shocked a few people but she did a good job in her first proper acting role. This brings me to Summer Glau, most recognised from her time in Firefly, who plays Cameron the Terminator which Connor sent back in time to protect his younger self. I happen to think Summer is a wonderful actress and found her performance, especially in the very first episode, to be outstanding. In one particularly powerful scene in the opening episode Cameron finds herself trapped between two vehicles and cries out to John. It gets me every time I watch.

The extra features include “Collision with the Future: Deconstructing the Hunter Killer Attack” which looks at the big action sequence in the final episode and is exclusive to this Blu-Ray edition. “Cameron Goes Bad” is the obligatory storyboard extra. “Terminated Scenes” is the same as almost all ‘deleted scenes’ extras in that it’s interesting but understandable why the scenes were left on the cutting room floor. There is a “Gag Reel” which shows off some of the funnier out-takes from the season. Four of the episodes have commentaries from Producer Josh Friedman and Cast/Crew. It’s a shame that only four has a commentary, as I’m always interested in hearing why certain decisions were made, but they did choose four of the most important episodes. Overall the extra features are good but there’s nothing extra special here and as a huge fan I would have appreciated a substantial documentary on the Terminator universe. At the very least there should have been a documentary named “The Hunt for Donald’s Trousers” but perhaps we’ll never find out what happened to them.

On May 18th 2009 commented on the decision to cancel a third series of the show and I quote: “The FOX upfront presentation where the network revealed its 2009-2010 schedule didn’t include Terminator, and now there’s no chance of it coming back.”

The most important part of that comment comes right at the end – “now there’s no chance of it coming back.” I can’t imagine how that could possibly be the case. Perhaps it won’t continue on FOX. That is fine because if they don’t want the show they don’t deserve it. Surely another company could come in and pick up where FOX left off. I am not sure how James Cameron feels about the show but he is a man who can make things happen. This isn’t the first time a show has been cancelled without a fair run. The words Fire and Fly spring to mind. In that instance a great deal of support for Whedon’s baby resulted in the release of Serenity which pleased some fans but left most wanting more.

This is one of the most enjoyable TV series I have seen in quite some time and it upsets me that this may be the last we’ll see of it. On the strength of this season Sarah Connor Chronicles deserves at least one more and I hope someone out there has the power to resurrect this from the ashes. A follow-up in the shape of a DVD/Blu-Ray movie is likely but episodic content is where this show really flourishes. To the fans who may have given up hope, remember one thing, “There’s no fate but what we make.”

GS Reviewer: Tigervamp



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One comment

  1. Ditto for me! If you consider yourself a fan of TV Dramas and Sci-fi, this has to be on your to-do list. An excellent show that I still miss.

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