Saturday, March 12, 2011

Catch Up TV: Sarah Conner Chronicles

Terminator: The Sarah Connor ChroniclesImage via Wikipedia
My favorite thing about Netflix is that it gives me commercial free access to old TV shows that I missed when they were on the air. The most recent show for me has been The Sarah Conner Chronicles. I wrapped up the series tonight, and in general think it was very well done. Some spoilers appear below about how the series ends.

The added benefits of Summer Glau walking around in her underwear aside, the show was well cast and the acting was quite good. The story line picked up after the second Terminator 2 movie and follows Sarah & John Conner as they try to stop Skynet from ever forming. They are joined by Cameron who is a 888 terminator sent back from the future to guard John. Various other characters play into the series including a number of other terminators in both the 80x and 100x (liquid metal) lines. Plenty can be read about all this at the Terminator Wiki, better than I can do here.

I would not call myself a big fan of the Terminator movies, nor have I kept up with all of the fiction spawned from the story line. I do now the general story though, and after watching this series I was a tad disappointed in how it ends. Don't read any further if you want to keep the surprise.

We end the series at the end of season 2 with John Conner in the future, after the war has started, with no one knowing his name. Now I fully understand that multiple timelines (universes) exist in large part to all of the damn time travel going on, and I understand that he has jumped forward in the future and not had a chance to make a name for himself. That said he has got to be kinda pissed. His whole life up to this point has sucked ass, and he now finds himself in a world where he is unknown and all the hiding and running was for nothing. I am sure it feels good to not be in the sights of every walking tin can, but still sort of a let down from everything else we have ever heard about John.

As Weaver gets ready to make the time jump Sarah backs away leaving her son to go to who knows where with a terminator that only moments earlier she accused of building Skynet. She spends 15+ years protecting her son day and night from cyborgs and then just lets him disappear into nothing with one that she clearly doesn't trust? Talk about destroying continuity. At least have her beg and plead for him to not go. This was my biggest disappointment.

I do really like the John Henry/Weaver/T1001 story line though. It was sort of obvious for a lot of season 2 that Weaver was not completely bad. When they tried to kill Savanna though, it became more obvious that she was being hunted by the true bad guys. You also discover that very few people realize Weaver is not human, maybe just John Henry. That there are terminator models that do not have to blindly follow SkyNet makes good sense for this story overall, because without some help it is hard to imagine that any humans survive. This series makes it plain that John keeps lots of cyborgs around him. Building a computer to match SkyNet, but teaching it how to "be human" is an interesting idea. Having John Henry painting miniatures and playing D&D was just icing on the cake. I would very much like to have the ability to always roll a 20.

One thing I found interesting was that in the episode where Cameron goes bad she prevents John from killing her by telling him that she loves him. Obviously, she cannot because she is just a cyborg. However, when John sees Allyson (the human who's form is used for Cameron) at the end of the series you get the idea that they will hit is off good. Makes me think that it was some memory of Allysons that made Cameron tell John he loved her. Perhaps they become close. Though it would be hard to imagine him turning her over to be assimilated then.

With only 2 seasons this show was certainly cut way short. It is amazing to me that shows like this die and all of the reality garbage stays on the air. I suppose it is people like me who are to blame though. I didn't lend my eyes to the viewer-ship when the show was on the air. Watching 4 years later on Netflix doesn't count for much in that regard. The show is worth watching if you like science fiction, and likely worth a glance even if you don't.


  1. This is a good show. We watched it during it's first run and it was always right on the edge of cancellation.

    It's nice that it lasted as long as it did, they were able to do some interesting things, the best of which you mentioned, the John Henry/Weaver/T1001 was done quite well.

  2. I love netflix for the same reason as well.


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