Review: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season One

Published 7 years ago by

sarahconnorchronicles edited Review: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season OneOver the the last twenty-five years The Terminator franchise has set the standard for science fiction films – smart, action packed and filled with ground breaking special effects. The (first two) films are iconic and idolized by millions around the world. So when it was announced that the franchise would have a television spin-off many fans were unhappy, (myself included,) as it would not star Arnold Schwarzenegger (for obvious political reasons.) We feared that a TV series, sans Schwarzenegger, would cheapen the previous entries that had gone before it.

However, there is no need to fear Ye Terminator faithful: although the series does not equal the greatness of T1 and T2, it does expand on the characters, adding new twists, as well as some key references to the films.

All in all it’s enough to satisfy fans old and new alike.

The first season of The Sarah Connor Chronicles is set after the events of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but in an alternate timeline from Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines (though they do keep the Sarah Connor cancer subplot mentioned in T3). The pilot starts in 1997 when a new Terminator named Cromartie (since when did they give these things names?) gets sent back from the future for another attempt at John Connor, this time when he is a teenager. Of course another protector for John also gets sent back: a female Terminator that appears to be around John’s age, (sixteen or so,) named Cameron (geddit).

With Cromartie relentlessly pursuing them, John, Sarah and Cameron use a device left behind by ‘time-agents’ to jump a decade into the future. (I guess that’s how they manage to discount T3.) Arriving in 2007, the Connor family, along with their new “household appliance,” charge themselves with the mission to destroy Cyberdyne Systems, along with anyone who helped create the super computer, Skynet, before the machine uprising can begin. There’s just one tiny problem – Cromartie follows them through the time portal, and will stop at nothing to terminate John.

While I was skeptical about the quality of the show before I watched The Sarah Connor Chronicles, I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable it was. Lena Headey (300) makes a good replacement for Linda Hamilton, who was sorely missed in T3. Thomas Dekker is a pretty decent John Connor; for the first time we see that he could actually be a military leader, even if he still (on occasion) acts like a whiny teen. The one weak link in the series is Summer Glau as Cameron, the protector Terminator sent from the future. She just doesn’t feel like a Terminator; at times she manages it – but more often than not she appears like a cast member from the OC, acting tough.

The effects for the show are pretty good, and the future scenes due to their (relative) low budget mirror those in Cameron’s 1984 film. The music score is also first rate, bringing in themes and motifs from Cameron’s original features. For fans there is also the return of Kyle Reese (and the introduction of his brother,) which wasn’t as bad as I anticipated; the presence of Dr. Silberman (played this time around by Bruce Davision); with enough action, plot twists and continuity “Easter eggs” to keep Terminator fans (and avid TV watchers) entertained over the course of nine episodes.

I’m aware that the US Region 1 DVD has some pretty good documentaries, but they weren’t available for my review copy. However, there are a few good smatterings of deleted scenes that add to the texture of the show.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles is a decent addition to the Terminator cannon, surpassing T3 in terms of quality and story. The show is a must for fans, and it should keep you ticking until Terminator: Salvation hits next year. Check it out.

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  1. I Agree. I was really surprised by this show and found the cast and story to be very good. I’m also incredibly happy that the show ignores the 3rd film (I think Salvation also ignores T3).

  2. To be honest I don’t like T1, T2, or T3 but I really enjoyed the series I thought the TV show was really good and I also think the new movie looks great as well.

  3. I am a fan of the show.
    I look forward to its second season .

  4. I only watched the first 3 or so episodes, but I am totally opposite about the actors. I found Summer Glau to be the only strong actor, perfectly fitting her character.

  5. I may have to drop season one into my Netflix queue and check it out before season two begins.


  6. You definitely should check it out, Vic. I found it quite enjoyable.

    The only think that I caught that kind of annoyed me was the way Cromartie made it through the time portal.


    I thought that anything that wasn’t flesh couldn’t make it through the portal. That’s why the people and Terminators always ended up popping in nekkid and couldn’t bring future weapons with them. Yeah, the HEAD of Cromartie just HAPPENS to make it through the portal? Yeah, I know, a minor gripe, but a gripe nonetheless!!

    All in all, I enjoy the show and I look forward to how they expand the story in season 2 to meld in with T4.

  7. Thanks for this dvd review Niall….I didn’t know this had come out yet,,,

    Summer Glau (IMO) is the best thing about this show. She has the same deadpan look that Kristannia Loken pulled off in T3,,,.
    (Btw the dvd box cover art is horibble), also why’s Sarah Connors hair black? , that continues to disract me to this day. ;-(
    Overall the actors are ok, the kid that plays John is real good as is Reese’s older brother (the 90210 actor).
    I had alot of problems with the time portal.
    They really cheapend the Time Travel aspect of the franchise. Cromarte’s survival and subsequent body transplant really damaged the integrity of the show for me.
    The CGI of the Endo is really sub par when you look at the films.

    The story did improve, and I think with a better setup in the Pilot 2 parter, the series would have had more integrity and respect for the franchise. The way this film intefers with the events of T3,(IMO) is a real slap in the face to the fans of the Johnathan Mostow film. :-(
    Anyway,,, the show did have a great cliffhanger and I’ll be tuning in for season 2. Overall the show provided a fun ride on a monday night during a writers strike,,, however I don’t think I will end up purchasing the dvds. Its one of those shows that I really don’t need to rewatch.

  8. I wasn’t a fan of Summer Glau’s performance at the beginning of the series – too “River Tam becomes a Terminator” – but I was won over by the end of nine episodes by her subtle, wry performance. Despite her lack of affect, she managed to imbue Cameron with a distinct personality that was endearing and chilling by turns.

    For Andy above – the showrunner didn’t give any interviews during the strike but he later went on record to say that Cromartie’s head was supposed to have skin on it that’s burning away as it comes through time but apparently FOX veto’d the flaming skull – apparently burning skin violates standards & practices.

  9. This show is much better than I ever thought it could be and I really wound up liking it! I really think they can built on season one. Hopefully viewership can exceed 10 mil Eyeballs a week so FOX keeps it on the air!

  10. Cromartie didn’t “make it” through the portal… his skeletal head revived in the rubble onsite, years later, then summoned the rest of the body, also on the site of the wrecked bank.

    No big deal, but the writers didn’t get this wrong.

  11. I don’t know Logan that’s kinda pushing it.
    what did the head use for power? Technically once the head is severed, the Endo would die. The Endo has a nuclear battery in its chest the head is the Processor.
    Also how would the headless Endo see ?

    In T2 Connor knew the Terminator would take heavy damage so he somehow installed alternate power source,and even then it was located in the chasis.

    The whole thing with Cromartie and the portable time displacment unit really ruined the integrity of the tv show, after that it just became mindless fun.

    Reese made it pretty clear that once they blew the Time Displacement device there was no way anyone could come thru. (T1)