The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Pilot
The Terminator series was never about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 robot. James Cameron’s movies — both combined — were actually a well-told tale of time-travel paradoxes and their consequences, a rarity even in this day and age. In both movies, the catalyst of the most important events is an ex-waitress-turned-combat-girl, Sarah Connor. It comes as no surprise that she would end up being the star of her own television series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
After the events of T2: Judgement Day, Sarah (Lena Headey) and John Connor (her son and future resistance leader, played by Thomas Dekker) find out that the machine revolution is still a possible threat, and that new terminators are continuously being sent to kill John. Fortunately, as usual, androids — or, as in present case, a 15-year-old highschooler teenbot played by Firefly alumna Summer Glau — are also sent to protect him.
Pursued by the police and a sinister terminator, Sarah, John and their new protector travel from 1999 to 2007 using a mysterious time machine build inside a bank in the 60’s, hoping to find out who carried out the construction of Skynet after head-scientist Miles Dison’s demise. Their motivation is somewhat far-fetched, since it would be easier to stop any plans of resurrecting the doomsday machine in their own time and place.
T2 is an oddity in sci-fi movie sequels in that it actually expands and resolves the time-travel paradox from the first movie. It becomes very hard now to think of something that does not disrupt its satisfactory resolution. In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, writer Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds, The Black Dahlia) conveys a clever solution much more interesting than the one in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which, according to him, now takes place in an “alternate timeline.” However, it also introduces a new gimmick that completely contradicts the original movie – time traveling to the future.
James Cameron obviously had no part in this, but the producers worked a lot to make the transition from movie to series as seamless as possible. References are plenty and very well made actually. (“Come with me if you wanna live.”) Lena Headey tries very hard to wear Linda Hamilton’s shoes, and tries even harder to wear some incredible miniskirts. Thomas Dekker also acts like an slightly older version of Edward Furlong, even if whinier about not wanting to become a messiah. The bad terminator also has the same creepy sense of humor of his fellow mates from previous movies.
The pilot episode feels to much like a cheap remake of T2, but that was expected. Sarah’s new visit to the Disons’ home is unexpectedly funny. In a sense, The Sarah Connor Chronicles could turn out to be a very interesting series, but it was born already a failure since it was never necessary in the first place.
The Sarah Connor Chronicles premieres in early 2008.