Review: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Published 7 years ago by , Updated July 18th, 2013 at 9:36 am,

terminator chronicles premi Review: Terminator: The Sarah Connor ChroniclesThe premiere episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles opens in the year 1999 with a big action scene which is glaringly obvious is a dream sequence about 2/3 of the way in. Sarah wakes up from the nightmare and my first thought was: Lame cop out.

The FBI is after Sarah Connor for her escape from the looney bin in Terminator 2 and because they believe she is responsible for the death of Miles Dyson, also from that film. Dyson was the guy who was responsible for Skynet, the computer system that brought nuclear armageddon upon humanity. It seems that his death only delayed the inevitable.

Regarding the timeline of this series: It seems to take place between T2 & T3.

Ok, before I rip into this thing, maybe I should list some positives about the episode so you don’t think I’m being a jerk just for fun. Was there anything good about the show?


Number one good thing: Summer Glau as the “good” Terminatrix. Summer is best known from her stint on the ill-fated Firefly TV series and the Serenity film based on the TV show. She has an otherworldly quality that is perfectly suited for this role. Also, having seen her kick major butt in Serenity makes it easy to buy her as a Terminator here.

Number two good thing: The visual effects. For a TV series I thought they were pretty impressive, in particular the scene at the end of the episode where the evil Terminator is trying to get into the bank vault where the good guys are hiding.

Number three good thing: By the end of the episode, it finally started to get just a bit more interesting in a twist that I did not see coming.

So after all that glowing praise, what was bad about the episode?

Pretty much everything else.

The dialog is unbelievably cheesy. Both the opening and closing monologues by Sarah are way, WAY over the top melodramatic. And I felt genuinely sorry for the actress playing Sarah who had to deliver lines like the following:

In a scene where she decides they’ve stayed put too long and have to leave immediately:

“Half an hour. One bag. Plus the guns – I’ll make pancakes.”

In a later scene where Glau is repairing herself after being shot and is shirtless with John in the same room but around the corner:

You might want to holster those.

Guess what “those” are.

I mean, seriously, if writers want to negotiate for more money they’d better do better than that.

Ok, bad dialog, big deal you say? Well in addition there were more plot holes in this thing than those in a piece of swiss cheese.

If they want to “stay off the grid” why aren’t they living in Mexico or some other more low-tech hiding place than in the U.S.?

Why in God’s name did they pick “Reese” (the name of the soldier sent back in time in the first Terminator movie and John Connor’s father) as their cover name? I mean all the Terminator had to do to pick out John from a class full of high schoolers was run his finger down the attendance sheet for crying out loud.

Why does the Terminator spout off with witty quips? Yes, Ahnuld did that in the first film with his F*** you, a**hole, but it worked in context. Hearing a Terminator as a substitute teacher say “class dismissed” after riddling it with bullets just seemed completely out of place. The former line was dealing with someone and trying to get rid of them where the latter was thrown out like something Spider-man would say after catching the bad guy.

It was completely obvious that a silhouetted person who comes into the room where the bad guy is holding Sarah and mimicking her voice is NOT John even though the person is speaking in HIS voice. Ohhh… the good Terminator is turning the bad Terminator’s own trick against him. (Viewer slaps forehead in amazement.)

Also, in this world a La-Z-Boy chair will stop 9MM bullets. Really. I ran it back and replayed it on my Tivo to be sure that the bullets didn’t in fact go through and bounce off the wall and Sarah was just ducking down low. Nope. The old stuffed chair stopped those bullets cold. I guess they used to build tougher furniture than they do these days.

Oh and one Terminator can electrocute another with a high voltage cable while touching him but not get electrocuted themselves.

They did throw in the “Come with me if you want to live” line, so I guess that counts for something.

Back to the story: Sarah and John are on the run and have been for about five years since the events of T2. There is an FBI agent pursuing them that while initially doubtful about her whole story, begins to get his first whiff of becoming convinced when a room full of high school students witnesses “a guy with robot leg” shooting up a classroom.

At the very end of the episode (and I’m not really clear on how they managed this) the female terminator had stored in a safety deposit box at a bank not only a weapon that could blow the head off a Terminator, but one of those time travel devices that send people through time naked in a big glowy sphere.

They arrive in present day (2007) in the last two minutes of the episode, where Sarah’s brief fiancee from the beginning of the episode and the FBI agent see her on the news after being missing for 8 years.

I may give Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles one more hour of my life tomorrow night to see if it improves at all – but I’m not very hopeful.

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  1. if they use the T-1000 down the road ,
    I hope they get Robert Patrick.

  2. Gary. Robert Patrick is working on the show “the Unit” right now and woundnt be availible. I do hope the cast an actor that looks just like him they could have done the same with Arnolds terminators. Wtf
    Patrick stole the last half of T2 (IMO). :)

  3. “In regards to morphing, that costs MONEY!
    they probably couldnt afford it .
    they dont have access to same type of budget james cameron had”

    Isn’t morphing and the nuclear cloud dream sequence and where the terminator is ripping apart the vault all just CGI? CGI has come a long way since 1990 (where james cameron was using state of the art morphing kickass special effects) and its my understanding that all of this only requires CGI artists to render them. My point was more of a storyline/timeline question rather than a budgetary question. I am trying to figure out what Cameron is, whether she is a new 101 model (makes no sense) or an early version of a TX (makes a little more sense if she could morph or had onboard weapons). I gotta go with Vic on this one, the inconsistencies are very confusing and are starting to turn me off on this show. I will probably give it one more chance since its after prison break (although i watched ‘heroes’ instead of that in the fall so i am totally lost).

  4. I like Summer Glau though I don’t think she can match up to Arnold, but I don’t particularly like Lena Headey or Thomas Dekker. Lena makes a terrible mother, and basically she’s no Linda Hamilton (Though I suspect some of that has to be the bad directing/writing, because I thought she was great in 300. So what the hell happened?). As for Thomas Dekker, he’s a pretty boy melodrama bore. I mean what the hell, what happened to the cool John Conner of T-2 who taught Arnold to say “astalavista baby!”

    Basically, if you’ve watched T-1, T-2, or T-3 recently this TV show blows. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t cut it. Then again, maybe the story will be enough to let me overlook such crap. Maybe the actors will get a chance to perfect their roles too. I doubt it.

  5. First off I would like to say that I think the show has great potential and could become outstanding if given the right writers. I have tried to give this show a chance because, as others here have posted, a show usually takes a couple of weeks to get going. However, after four episodes I have arrived at a crossroads. I will give it one more episode and then make a decision to watch it anymore. My biggest complaint about the show (and I am not trying to pick apart every facet of the show) is that there are just too many inconsistencies in the storyline. Good writers can write something that although unbelievable, can make you think just maybe it could be believable. Let’s face it, the show is written primarily to cater to the fans of Terminator movies. Those fans are the core audience. Buzz about the show will draw other viewers but the biggest draw is from the fans. With that in mind the writers were obligated to at least peruse the material they were writing about. Therein lay the problem in that I really don’t think the current writers of the show ever watched the previous terminator movies. If they did there wouldn’t be so many inconsistencies. Another thing I don’t like is that it sometimes feels as though I am being rushed through an episode and not much thought is going into plot or character development. At other times I get a glimpse of the shows potential and keep hoping for the best. If they really want the show to succeed they will show the current writers the door and hire writers who have watched the movies. Alas, at this point it may be too late and the show may well be beyond damage control.

  6. Jack its hard to believe but two of the shows producers have been attached to Terminator since T1…
    As the show progresses its straying bigtime from the film canon. The “inconsistancies” are very clear for all the true fans of the films.
    One thing I have a difficult time adjusting to is Sarah Connor. The actress that plays her is horribly
    cast. She can’t even go blond for the role?? It just takes me out everytime I think of Linda Hamilton and then I see her. Just dosnt look anything like her.
    Another thing with the (stop Skynet) plot. Wow are we on a storyline treadmill or what. How can they stop Skynet when we all know the next film takes place in the future (a war against Skynet).
    Geee I wonder if in the next film there gonna try to stop Skynet. Dah?

    Unfortunitly Jack these shows were all written and shot months ago.
    At this point giving it a chance is over, I only watch it too see how bad it can get?
    I have a feeling this show won’t see a second season.
    And I fear that the Terminator franchise is pretty much corrupted beyond repair.

  7. I don’t know what show you are watching, but this show is BADASS! My wife and I couldn’t wait to the next episode week to week.