Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Pilot and 102

It feels like I've been waiting for the premiere of Sarah Connor Chronicles forever (and thanks to the Writer's Strike, I totally have). I was lucky enough to catch the premiere early last year, and was completely hooked. Of course it didn't hurt that Lena Headley was starring, who I've loved since the liveaction version of 'The Jungle Book'. Yes, I really saw that. Yes, I really loved it. And I loved her more when she starred in Imagine Me & You with Piper Perabo. Of course everyone else probably knows her from that silly little movie called 300, in which she wore like... strips of linen and was generally bad ass.

The show also stars ... that girl from Firefly - whose name is 'Summer' something or other, but honestly I was never a fan of that show. I tried, if only for the sake of my love for Buffy & Angel, but... meh.


As pilots go, The Sarah Connor Chronicles is pretty solid as far as pilots go. It's got the entire Terminator lore to fall back, which presents it's own interesting sets of challenges. Like the Star Trek franchise, this new offering opens itself to comparison and nitpicking. Linda Hamilton is a hard act to follow, and when placed at the tricky time after the badassary of Terminator 2, Lena Headley's Sarah could seem a trifle week.

Thankfully, the critics thus far, have been kind. And with good reason - in the drought of the writer's strike, there's a lack of hard hitting drama, and SCC does deliver.

In the pilot, we discover that newly engaged Sarah Connor (now living under the assumed name Sarah Reese - a nice throwback to John's father) is now on the run iwth 16 year old son John. They're being chased by a cyborg, sent to kill them. However, future John has sent back a Cyborg of his own, in the form of angelic beauty Cameron, a new kind of model who seems to want to ape and mimic the humans she's protecting. Sarah is horrified to discover that SKYNET, the company that creates the machines that will one day take over the world, has been built despite the creator's death. In order to stop it, Cameron, Sarah and John travel to the year 2007, in order to find out who starts SkyNET and stop them before it's too late.

Time Travel will always give me a headache, but forcing John and Sarah to travel through time to 2007 kind of feels like a fresh reboot (that seems to jump completely over the 3rd movie). As a result, John gets a kicky new haircut, Sarah gets better hair, and Cameron gets a chance to be the second generation 'Vicki' from Small Wonder.

In episode 2, (which takes place 3 days later and in that time John and Sarah have both managed to grow like.. 2 inches of hair) mother and son struggles to adjust to timelag. John struggles to understand why the caged bird sings (and very stupidly goes to visit his mother's ex-fiance, freaks out, and beats him up). Sarah struggles to keep it together after she discovers from Cameron that she will die of cancer, and that she can't really control Cameron, who goes around killing old friends for Sarah because they're traitors. Cameron struggles to understand that you can't just kill people and makes a new friend, who gives her a makeover, chola style.

The chemistry between all three leads is melding together nicely. Lena seems more and more confident in the iconic role of Sarah Connor, and she seems much stronger here than she initially comes off in the pilot. John continues to be a whiny idiot, but at least there is open acknowledgement that somehow this kid isn't the one that transforms into the leader of the free world. He's got some growing to do. There is also a certain amount of charm in Summer's performance. The scene in which she initially builds an unspoken connection with the chola girlfriend renders itself as almost sweet, and her partnership with the hot-headed Sarah gives her an increasingly complex amount of layers.

Though, seriously?

You Know You've Bonded Too Well With Your Mom When:

- You watch as your mother tosses a chick out the window.

- You go with her to steal money and guns. And rob banks together.

- You send a cyborg back in time to keep her alive because she's the best fighter you knew.

- You visit her ex-fiance and freak out about it.

- You hang out naked with her while the naked Cyborg chick beats people up.

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