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Quick Thoughts on The Sarah Connor Chronicles

I caught the premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Unfortunately, I bought into the positive buzz I’ve heard around the InterTubes and set my expectations high. As a result, I was less than impressed.

Here’s why:

****** SPOILER WARNING ******


  • Cool premise. The idea of sending robots back in time to either prevent or maintain some future history is cool. (Of course, we all know that once there exists the power to do so, you wouldn’t necessarily play out your strategies in such a liner fashion. Think Back to the Future II where there are multiple Marty MacFlys running around. But that’s beside the point.)
  • Consistency with the films (besides T3 – which I still haven’t seen – because this series serves as a franchise reboot that picks up after T2). They kept true to the rule that you can’t bring anything back with you.
  • It looks like they are setting up some story arcs. What is the Terminatrix’s secret model number and capabilities? How will they discover the creator of the new Skynet? It’s nice to see that every week will be more than just one chase scene after another. It would kind of be lame if every week they ended the show with Sarah, John and Terminatrix hitchhiking down the highway to a sad piano soundtrack. Oh wait – that was The Incredible Hulk
  • Decent special effects – plenty of explosions, torn Terminator flesh, bullets flying, and furniture-busting action.
  • I will never get tired of watching Summer Glau kick @$$.


  • Character differences: Different actors notwithstanding, Sarah and John just seemed…different. Sure, Sarah is tough, but she was much more understanding of John’s predicament in the films, wasn’t she? And John seems more like a stereotypical whiny teen than the John Connor of the film.
  • What happened to the T-2000 model? Why send back a Commodore 64 when you have liquid supercomputer?
  • One lone FBI guy chasing the key to killer robots from the future – even after many people see the guy with the robot leg? I guess he’s TSCC’s Mr. McGee.
  • In the films, the Terminator was a killing machine who would never have taken the time to pose as a teacher. That was just lame.
  • Corny dialogue: “Class dismissed?” Aw, c’mon! This may have worked in the early 90’s for Arnie, but this is neither then nor him.


  • Was there a reason that forward time travel was never used in the films?
  • When they jumped forward to 2007, wasn’t all that cool equipment in the bank vault left behind for someone to find, examine and emulate?
  • With all the shooting and explosions, how is the Bad Terminator going to patch himself up every week?
  • Where does Sarah & CO. getting money for food, shelter, weapons, etc. From her waitress job?
  • Was it ever explained in the films how many Terminator models there were and whether the same model can have multiple appearances?


My main disappointments stem from the fact that my expectations were high. TSCC is not great (nor is it Flash Gordon bad) but there are possibilities, especially (I hope) with the story arcs. I’m giving TSCC a chance…but I will be extra vigilant to make sure that I don’t fall into the trap of settling because there’s nothing better. I did that with Heroes and I’m happy to say I’m off that train.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

14 Comments on Quick Thoughts on The Sarah Connor Chronicles

  1. While my little rave review may be premature, I’m willing to forgive a lot of minor issues as long as they stay true to the characters and keep the story moving along. Did we really want a whole season of razorblade psychosis that was T2’s Sarah Connor?

    I’m also willing to put up with the time travel shenanigans, as long as it’s limited to the reboot effort. The more they go to that particular well, the more worried I’ll become.

  2. From some of the comments in the show, and from the preview of tonight’s episode, it looked like both future Skynet and the Resistance sent back a number of sleeper agents to the past, and not necessarily to the timeframe of the show. I always wondered why Skynet kept getting rebuilt in the movies despite changing the timeline, but it would make sense if there were some sneaky terminators ensuring that everything stays on track.

  3. Rats! I wanted to see it and forgot to set my DVR to record it. Oh well, guess I will have to start at episode 2, hopefully it is a good series. Do you know how many episodes they filmed of it before the writer’s strike? My only hesitation is that it’s another show I am going to like and then it will be canceled never to be seen again… I think the writer’s stike only increases those odds.

  4. 8o|

    Barf! When I first saw the previews for this series, I was stoked to think that Summer Glau was back as an evil terminator. Then I learned to my great disappointment that she was the protector…gimme a break! What made T2 work so well was the idea of the machine that killed John’s father coming back to protect and serve as a father-figure to John. The formula of vapid teen boy plus hot chick bodyguard (how many episodes can they withstand before these two get romantically involved?) is TV-lame and weakens the strength of the premise. You may remember that even Sarah came to trust and admire the Terminator for how he affected John. They almost became a sort of “family” that you wished had more time together.

    Plus, Sarah needs to be a little mentally unstable to be a realistic and sympathetic character, considering what she knows. And of course, John looks just like young Superman and acts like he would be more at home on Dawson’s Creek. John should be a rebellious, unpopular punk and potential drifter. T3 nailed the probable outcome of John after T2. This show just seems like the love child of Prison Break and One Tree Hill.

  5. I’m not disappointed with it, though I had to keep reminding myself that 1) this is NOT the movies and 2) in this Terminator world, only the first two movies happened.

    Yeah, John has definitely degraded from the second film, where he was the super-self-confident, Mr. Do-it-all kid.

    I most definitely did not like the ability to travel forward in time. That was one of Reese’s more emphatic points in the first movie: you can’t travel forward in time, only back. And the resistance (theoretically) destroyed the time machine after sending him.

    Having said that, I have no doubt the explosion in the bank vault would have rendered all the cool tech so much slag (and as we learned tonight, the explosion and the gun shot were enough to rip off the other Terminator’s head and catch it up in the time vortex).

    I’ll keep watching a bit, to see if they can get somewhere.

  6. George: I think I read that there were 9 episodes filmed before the writers strike.

  7. I’m reserving judgment for now. Missed the premier but caught tonight’s episode.

    Liked the idea of multiple terminators being sent back on multiple missions. Very much inspired by the various Terminator comic series published by Dark Horse in the early 90’s and they tended to work well.

    Not so sure about this jumping forward in time.


    Didn’t like the whole Terminator head remote-controlling the body all the way out in the junkyard tonight. Maybe not jumping the shark, but coming pretty close to the ramp.

    Gotta see a couple of more episodes to decide one way or the other.

  8. “I will never get tired of watching Summer Glau kick @$$.”

    The ever awesome xkcd has a movie for you!

  9. Heh-heh…I remember that one. 🙂

  10. I’m not so disappointed. It’s been a while since I saw the terminator movies, so perhaps I’m comparing them less than you are. I did really like the Sarah character in the movies and I hope they flesh her out well in the series, giving us reasons to like her, but right now there just isn’t much to her other than the driven-protective-mother figure.

    Why does John need to go to school? It seems to me that’s a major weakness. Couldn’t he be homeschooled? Couldn’t Summer Glau’s T-character tell him everything he needs to know about the actual history of the world as it applies to his future relevance? As well as science, math, etc.

    I’m willing to give this more time.

  11. I just put up my review here but my main point is easy. The show has proven that the Machines win the war.

    If you can travel in time, than it’s inevitable that people *will* travel through time. Naked time travellers should be everywhere. Because they are not, the machines must win, because only they will have the discipline to not screw up their own timeline.


  12. heh-heh…Since when does logic apply to scifi television. Or Fox. 😉

  13. this show blows…it has TERRIBLE acting, especially …ESPECIALLY by Summer Glau…and the lines are so cheap and dumb i can’t believe people like this…well i can, but you know what i mean.

  14. its just a bit of fun to watch in the evening and drool at the women

    chill out man


    ps – j conner would have moved away with his robo hottie and been in the bed room screwing her all the time, so as u can see it isnt true to realality.

    regards baz (from the future, youll have heard of me it 10 yrs time)

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