Sunday, January 13, 2008

SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES REVISIT

Last month I did a post about the new Terminator TV show, "The Sarah Connor Chronicles", where I saw the pilot before the premiere debut. In that post, I gave it an overall thumbs up, despite some complaints.

I just tuned into the premiere (nothing else on TV), and I noticed it was different from the edit I saw. Unfortunately, the one that aired tonight was not as good as the one I saw previously. This one had more "cringe moments"; awkward moments, humor and possible relationship setups... like between John and the girl terminator. BAH!

As I posted before, while flawed and definitely TELEVISION (on FOX), I found very few things that made me want to scream. The main gripe is with the young female Terminator that teams-up with Sarah and John... the ROLE itself bugs me. However, there's no getting around it, so I'm thankful they cast SUMMER GLAU ("Rain" on Firefly) who does a decent job. There's also a handful of moments that made me groan, but then I reminded myself its Television and just rolled with them. And then there's the whole "Another Terminator(s) timetraveling back to kill John" plot device... this has been done to death already and I really don't want to see it every episode. Which leads me to "where can they take this"?

As a stand-alone episode, I really enjoyed it and look forward to checking out future episodes. My concerns now are with how the show holds week-in/week-out. Can they push the story without relying on "Terminator of the Week" guest appearances? Can it be interesting and entertaining WITHOUT Terminators? Can I have faith that there will NOT be any kind of romance between John and the Girl Terminator? Can this show ADD to the Terminator mythos/story and not HURT it? I guess we'll soon find out.

While not as good as the pilot version I saw in december, its still better than the unwatchable turd that was Terminator 3.

18 comments:

Scott King said...

My biggest problem with it was not understanding where its going. I mean if every episode every week is just them running or fighting another terminator that has come back in time that will get old REAL fast.

The other thing that I found annoying was that they didn't make it clear that the episode started off in the 90's. So then when they jumped to the future I didn't understand why they came to 2007.

Oh and isn't Sarah Connor supposed to be a freaking bad ass? She was more like a soccer mom who was pretending to be tough.

Anonymous said...

well,.JIM i have to dissagree. It was kind of a poop fest. The whole "Bill and Ted"plot device,."oh we sent someone back BEFORE this event..(huh??) to put stuff here we know we'll need"..and the "I'm a different Terminator, so you can teach me what it's like to be human..." enevibility that is going to happen...the 'bad' terminator, (why not just send a t-1000 back,..why the old t100??). the things go on and on...it's just the McDonalds version of what used to be a great-to good-to now crappy franchise.....typical "let's cash in on this while it's hot" encarnation.and I want no excuses, or rationalizations JIM. as livid as you are about the bastardization of Alien,..this one comes close for me.

Anonymous said...

ps,...you can only go BACK in time,..not foreward.....

pps....you know who i am :)

Jim said...

I never said it was great and emphasized repeatidly that it was TELEVISION, meaning lower quality. I also said it was flawed and not without bad moments. I agree, there's lots of things that bugged me, but even T2 pushed the limits of believability. Like why send a normal terminator back in time when Skynet had the T-1000 ready for a mission? And how did the T-1000 go back in time when it was said in T1 that the time machine was destroyed? The only out is because they keep changing the future with each movie outing, but Fate steps in and Skynet still takes over and sends back a Terminator. If that's the case, then all the bullshit in T3 and the tv show works. Stupid, yes, but works.

Honestly, for me, the first Terminator is the only great one of the series. T2 has so much fun stuff inside it, I like it... but it fucks up the first one pretty hard. T3 is absolute shit.

Oh, and please leave a name.. even if its a nickname. using "annonymous" annoys the shit out of me... its just a pet peeve of mine... especially if you're leaving a highly opinionated comment.

And yes, i know who you are!!!!! :)

Phillip said...

It was ok. Filled with problems and complaints, it could have been worse. It exceeded my low expectations. Like Jim said, its television and that last sequel with the blonde terminator with the inflatable boobs.

Scott King said...

What do you mean you can only go back in time and not forward? They want forward. ...or are you saying that because they went forward they broke some "terminator mythos rule?"

It's all time travel and its all confusing. For example, we know in T3 that skynet takes over no matter what. We see it happen. So for the TV show its dumb having them trying to stop skynet because ultimately we know they will fail.

And what you guys mean that "TV" means lower quality? I love movies, but if I had to pick my favorite medium it would have to be Television. Although the budgets are smaller, so much more happens in the course of a TV season then does in a two hour movie. As long as the writing is of quality characters change/grow and over time those extra hours let you actually get to know the characters.

Jim said...

yeah, as soo as I posted I thought "I'm going to get hell for that television comment". hahaha. just to clarify, I guess I mean that overall, historically, television has been lower quality WHEN a movie has been adapted to the small screen. did that make sense? its monday and I need coffee. But yeah Scott, when the writing is great, tv has alot of potential... I love alot of HBO's series where they can take the time to flesh out characters and storylines. Network TV, however, is usually not my tastes because they feel padded and extended to fit the format... 24 should be 12, in my opinion. Again, I'm not making much sense today. apologies.

Scott King said...

So you're basically amending your statement not to be "TV is of a lower quality than films" to be more along the lines of "A film adapted to a TV series is generally worse than the original film?"

Here is a list of films made into TV shows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_made_into_television_programs

What I find interesting about that list is how the majority of the films/shows are sci-fi. Also the only two shows that completely outdo their film counterparts are "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and "Friday Night Lights." So I guess films adapted to TV generally do suck.

BUT TV as a medium still rules!

Jim said...

I think with any medium (film, tv, books...) it all comes down to good writing and storytelling.

TV can rule when done right, but because of the "machine" that is in place for producing television, the cards are stacked against. Time constraints being one of the biggest challenges.

I'm not saying that Movies are not without the problems. In fact, more crap is made than quality in Hollywood. However, I rarely see television that makes a huge impression, whereas film has moved me and changed my life.

Both mediums are wonderful and full of potential. But historically, television has rarely inspired or moved me. But television is currently changing and growing. HBO is doing some great original series programming that would not work if it was in a Movie format.

So yeah, MOVIES to TV is a tough transition.

johnny said...

It's never stated you cannot go forward in time. Or did I miss something?

Dr Lazarus said...

It was my understanding that with each Terminator movie, the timeline changes and they essentiall have to redo it all over again: terminator sent back in time, stop skynet, etc. that is why the terminator-x in T3 was an in-between model of Arnold and T-1000, she was from a skewed future. the point is the story is tragic and skynet is unavoidable. the world goes to shit, mankind is brought to near extinction and john connor is always the saviour. I thought I heard this in an interview or commentary.

Jim's anonymous said...

yea,..in the first film, Reece states that you can only go back in time.
example,..why not in Reece's future,do the terminators go foreward in time, see what the humans are doing,..then hop back and stop them..they can't. It's only backwards.....

johnny said...

I do not recall Reese saying you cannot go forward in time. I just looked up the script and the only time he really talks about time-travel is here:

SILBERMAN
I see. And this... computer, thinks it can win by killing the mother of its enemy, killing him, in effect, before he is even conceived? A sort of retroactive abortion?

REESE
Yes.

REESE
...it had no choice. The defensive grid was smashed. We'd taken the mainframes... We'd won. Taking out Connor then would make no difference. Skynet had to wipe out his entire existence. We captured the lab complex. Found the...whatever it was called...the time-displacement equipment. The Terminator had already gone through. They sent me to intercept, then zeroed the whole place.

SILBERMAN
Then how are you supposed to get back?

REESE
Can't. Nobody goes home. Nobody else comes through. It's just him and me.


"Jim's Anonymous", was that the part you were referring to? If so, it sounds to me that due to the time machine being destroyed, no further time travel is possible. Or is there another part of the movie? This has sparked a big discussion over here on my end. Someone here said that skynet only time traveled once by Terminator 1 - sending Arnold back. And the reason why skynet never sent others forward was because Connor had already one and defeated Skynet by smashing the defensive grid. Sending Arnold back was the first time Skynet used the time machine in a last ditch effort to stop Connor.

johnny said...

I meant "...because Connor had already WON (not 'one') and defeated Skynet..."

Pepsi Lover said...

Time Travel! My brain hurts!!

Scott King said...

I just watched tonight's episode and I'm even more confused on some of this mythos junk. For example I thought the Terminators were flat out robots/androids. But they were being referred to as cyborgs in tonight's episode. Also, one terminator killed a man and took his skin to wear. That made no sense to me.

Jim said...

Well they're quite full-on ROBOTS/ANDROIDS due to the living tissue around the robot. So I guess "Cyborg" is why they used it, but I thought in the first movie they said it wasn't a cyborg, either. Shrug.

I watched the new episode last night, Scott, and I don't think the Terminator wore someone else's skin, but had the decapitated head on its shoulders so it could wear the motorcycle helmet. Dumb, yes, but not wearing full-on skin. The next time you saw that Terminator, it was covered head-to-toe in clothes and masks and you could see through the mask visor it was just the normal Terminator metal skeleton (no skin). That's what I took from it, atleast. Anyone else?

The show is on a razor edge for me.. overall I don't like it, but it has some moments. I wonder if every episode the girl terminator will fight another and throw each other into walls. I also wonder if Lena will show more facial expressions than the 2 she's shown so far.

I want to go watch the first Terminator again... its the only rock solid of the saga, in my opinion.... T2 is fun and super entertaining, but it gets a bit too "Silly Hollywood" for my tastes when put next to the first one.

But so far, I'm still watching this new Terminator TV series... even if out of curiousity sake.

Jim said...

Hey, Scott... in regards to "cyborgs"... in Terminator 1, Reese says to Sarah, "Cyborgs don't feel pain. I do."

So thre you have it... they ARE cyborgs!