Now that Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has wrapped up for the strike-shortened season, I think we can safely look back and see what we got in the short 9 episodes.
I was pretty satisfied with the show and would probably give the season 3 stars out of 5 if I rated it like I did a book. Maybe 3.5 even, but that only because there is so little watchable science fiction on TV.
There are spoilers after the break.
Overall, I felt TSCC was surprise. After seeing what I felt was slew of disappointing science fiction shows on mainstream TV – from Bionic Woman to Journeyman to Heroes – I didn’t have high hopes for this one. But luckily this show took a different direction.
The strengths of the show lie in the dark and serious subject matter. The destruction of mankind by a machine intelligence isn’t merely alluded to but actively dealt with and lived with by the characters. This fact, and the way the characters deal with it, is what makes this show work. And surprise – this is a pretty fundamental science fiction construct. I found myself watching the season finale being constantly aware that this show that has gotten decent ratings and is one a mainstream network has so much science fiction in it.
But you can’t talk about the show without talking about the incredibly strong female characters. That the protector is a female terminator is a masterstroke, but it’s Sarah Connor’s character that really pushes the envelope. She’s cold and calculating sometimes. She is willing to kill if necessary, willing to uproot her family and move them at the drop of a hat, and willing to go to all lengths to stop the machines. But she is also human – and as a result has weaknesses that aren’t your traditional TV female weaknesses. She’s not a sappy sentimentalist, but genuinely seems to care about humanity and the individuals within it. She puts a high value on human life and it serves as a stark contrast with the dreaded machines.
My major issue with the show was what I felt was an overall pretty slow pace. Some episodes were paced well, but there were others that seemed to do nothing more than mark time. There was little action in total in the 9 episodes compared to what was in the pilot. I’m not sure if that’s because a lot of the first part of the season was setup, but I was surprised at the limited amount of ass-kicking by robots. And the big, bad robot is barely in the season until the last episode or so. I find this very odd and almost turned him into a Macguffin. I didn’t expect film-style pacing, but the pilot moved quickly whereas the other episodes almost dragged.
But what did you think? If you’ve seen the first season, I’d love to hear what you felt was good and bad about it. The ratings were a mixed bag. The pilot got a huge draw, but the show did much worse in the middle of the season around show 4 and 5. It did pickup at the end somewhat – but I could see this one not making it into a second season.