There are some people who really hate having things spoiled for them and others who devour every bit of spoilerstuff they can find. Personally I’m somewhere in between. I’d like to know what a TV show or movie is about before I see it, but I don’t want serious plot spoilers and when it comes to a “Wow, Yeah That Was Amazing” moment that comes in a movie or a TV show, I definitely do not want to be spoiled. In that vein, if you really want to enjoy The Sarah Connor Chronicles when it airs, don’t read this review or look at the posters or read anything about it, because there is a moment like that in the pilot and likely in the actual episode and it will be ruined for you. Fair warning.
Okay. The Sarah Connor Chronicles looked like a terrible idea on paper. Not only did the title sound like bad chick lit, but Terminator 3 was mediocre and trying to turn a 100 million dollar action premise into a movie seemed like a bad idea. But though The Sarah Connor Chronicles functions as a kind of sequel to T2 Judgment Day, it really harks back more to the ending of Terminator with Sarah driving away into the distance prepared for a life of fighting to protect her son. This is her story, not Ahrnold’s story as the Terminator franchise became.
Sarah Connor, played effectively here is not the loony of T2 either. She’s paranoid, intense and desperate and tightly wound, but she’s not out of her mind, which is also another important distinction. And in that way it’s more of a sequel to Terminator even though it takes place after the events of T2. From a slam bang opening, we go to Sarah Connor in bed and getting proposed to. What she does afterward isn’t surprising but it sets the tone for the rest of the episode.
The Sarah Connor Chronicles may not have a 100 million dollar budget and some of the close up fight scenes look pretty poor, but the pilot does its best and the special effects look good. Firefly’s Summer Glau seems to have a talent for playing somewhat unnatural characters and that talent is fully put to use here. The pilot takes its twists and turns with a suspicious FBI agent in pursuit of Sarah Connor, a new Terminator and another new Terminator, who works surprisingly well.
By the end of the pilot, a way has been found naturally to turn back the clock and a mission is set that will dominate the series. It’s clever and it’s rooted in Sarah Connor’s own battle against fatalism and the need to save her son and save her sanity. The show could definitely use a better fight choreographer and the casting on the Terminator actor was poor as hell and lacking in robotic qualities, but overall it’s a decent cast and a great story and it is likely to remain unseen for as long as the WGA strike goes on.