Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Review
They thought they were safe, but destiny can’t be rewritten. Now they are hunted not only by machines but also by humans. They have one protector; she will not sleep nor stop, Summer Glau is a Terminator.
Genre: Action / Drama / Sci-Fi
Created By: Josh Friedman
Cast: Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau, Richard T. Jones, Garret Dillahunt, Brian Austin Green, Shirley Manson
Average-Runtime per Episode: 45 min.
Series Release: 13 Jan 2008 - 10 April 2009
If you are following my posts on my movie reviews, then you’d know that I am currently writing a string of reviews for the Terminator franchise, before Terminator Genisys is released in theatres on July 2nd. I therefore will be reviewing the complete Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series, as I am a completionist. Are you ready? Let's start!
— WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! —
I am a great fan of the Terminator franchise! The second part was my first contact with these series, watching it at the young age of 4 - of course without the knowledge of my parents (I had nightmares for weeks to come!) and in later years T2 had a greater impact in my growing appreciation for movies. I watched The Terminator in my teenage years, having an identical influence on me as it’s sequel. Now while the series did have it’s fair share of problems; including a very messy discrepancy concerning the time line, I did enjoy this series and thought it was a good addition to the saga.
A spin-off from the original Cameron films, TSCC follows a different timeline, straight after the events that take place in Judgment Day and ignores the two following sequels Rise of the Machines and Salvation. The show was created and developed by Mario Kassar, Andrew G. Vajnar, James Middleton, David Nutter and Josh Friedman from C2 pictures and was produced by 20th Century Fox Television, with Warner Bros. Television as the shows distributor. The Halcyon Company replaced C2 Pictures during the production of Season 2.
The series main cast consists of: Lena Headey as Sarah Connor, Thomas Dekker as a young John Connor, Summer Glau as the T-900 named Cameron, Garret Dillahunt as the T-888 Cromartie, Brian Austin Green as Derek Reese, Richard T. Jones as FBI Agent James Ellison and in season 2 the cast was expanded by Shirley Manson as Catherine Weaver.
Lena Headey is brilliant as Sarah Connor. She reminds me so much of Linda Hamilton in the role of the loving mother, who will go through immense lengths to protect her son. Summer Glau, as well as Garret Dillahunt, portray their respective cyborg models amazingly. Especially Summer Glau, who I knew from the previous TV series Firefly, was great as the teenage cybernetic model Cameron.
The series main plot revolves around the lives of Sarah and John Connor. Following the aftermath of Judgment Day, the two find themselves being hunted once by the FBI but also by Skynet’s infiltrators from the future. To their aid comes Cameron Phillips, a Terminator sent to the past as a protector for John and Sarah. When the Connors decide to quit running and set their goals on stopping the creation of Skynet once and for all, they clash with several unpredicted factors and find new surprising allies.
TSCC has an overall good story running through the shows lifespan, although, it does contain some continuity and character flaws that did hamper the shows enjoyment. Still, it is not a bad television spin-off and it does have a strong plotted topic. Even though I can understand why fans of the franchise did not come to like it, I really enjoyed the fresh take on this franchise. Also, since this review would turn out too long if I'd go into detail about the script and story, I will simply list the things I liked and disliked about the show.
Positive aspects I found in this TV series are; the respects paid to the source material, in form of trivia and expanding story lines, such as naming the T-900 after James Cameron. I also appreciated that they answered the question of what happened to Miles Dyson’s family and his reputation after his death. John Connor’s story, his growing attachment to the machines and the pain caused to him by the people that die in his name, is another strong story arch. The best parts, however, concern everything that surrounds Cameron; her background story, the chemistry with John Connor, etc. is fantastic! Summer Glau is simply perfect as the T-900, and it felt as if that role was practically made with her in mind.
Other great casting choices are: Lena Headey as Sarah Connor, Garret Dillahunt as Cromartie - the main antagonist - and Richard T. Jones.While I do like the idea of a second T-1000 that is sent back in time to assure the creation of Skynet, I do not like how that characters arc develops. Finally, the ending sequence of the Series before it was cancelled reminded me of the Universal T2: 3D movie ride, directed by James Cameron himself and seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong returning to their roles.
Among the aspects I do not appreciate as much were; Cameron being sent back from the year 2027, when the time machine was first discovered in 2029. The casting choice of Thomas Dekker as John Connor and his portrayal of the character was a big error; he behaves like a little girl and is always moaning. While I had no problem with John finding a girl he likes, I did dislike the love story between him and Riley, especially the twist and how it developed. My final complaint is about the inclusion of Derek Reese, brother of Kyle Reese and John Connor’s uncle. I was not sure how to feel about that, as I always envisioned Kyle being more of a loner in the future, with his only friend being John.
Cinematography wise, the series has very good action sequences. I am aware that the budget of a TV series is limited in comparison to that of a movie and, therefore, can look cheaper at times looks. The Sarah Connor Chronicles, however, made very good use of its budget. The special effects have a brilliant mix of practical effects and CG, while Summer Glau’s previous training for Firefly benefited her character immensely!
Verdict: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles takes the franchise in a complete new direction, ignoring the events of T3 and Salvation. This show started a complete different timeline, following the story of T2. This TV series does have some errors but it also includes quite unique ideas that enrich the saga. I will, therefore, give this series a rating of 7.0 out of 10 and compliment Summer Glau and Lena Headey on their portrayals as Cameron and Sarah Connor respectively.
If you are interested in reading my previous reviews scroll down to find my posts for: The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. I will post my review for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines this Wednesday, so keep an eye out for that one if you are interested.
What was your take on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles? Did you enjoy this show and have you been disappointed when Fox cancelled the series? Leave a comment below and if you like my reviews please like, share and subscribe!